Thursday, September 19, 2013

Sometimes, I Just Can't Help Myself


Two days ago, I had no idea I would be adding yet another type of plant to my garden.  So, how did I end up with two pots of sugarcane?  Well it goes a little something like this:  empty k-cup coffee grounds into the compost bin; wonder if I can put coffee grounds directly into the soil in my potted blueberries; go on Google; read article about garden supplements; remember that I have a bag of Azomite in the garage that I wanted to try; wonder what plants can use the Azomite; go back on Google-list includes most all my vegetables, ornamentals and sugarcane.  Wait...I can grow my own SUGARCANE?  I quickly remind myself that South Florida is filled with fields of sugarcane and kick myself for not thinking of it sooner.  Of course, I had to find the sugarcane to plant (and find a place to plant it).  That led me back to Google and online stores that sell sugarcane for anywhere from $25 for a potted plant to $60 for a box of cuttings.  Wow, pricey.  

I put the idea aside for possible planting next spring.  About ten minutes later, my phone buzzed an alarm reminding me of the weekly farmers' market.  I tend to forget things, therefore, I have something like thirty alarms set up on my phone reminding me to put out the garbage, bring kids to school, pick up kids from school (I only forgot a few times and they were little so I'm hoping they don't remember).  

So off I went yesterday morning to the farmers' market that is held every Wednesday at the fairgrounds.  I had one thing in mind to buy-sugarcane.  There are a few exotic/tropical plant vendors there and they did not disappoint.  I found one vender with four plants for $5 a pot.  What a bargain!  I would have taken all four but another woman was discussing buying a couple so I only bought two.  He gave me two for $8.  The VERY elderly man running the stand said one was black and very juicy and one was a softer, chewing kind.  The "black" one looks distinctly more red to me, but a quick search said the red ones are good for juice, too.

I'm still trying to decide where to plant these two.  I have a southwest corner of my yard that is a mess of fallen trees, weeds and self seeded papaya plants.  I've been planning to clean/clear it so I can put my avocados in and I think the space along the fence might work.  This won't be an easy project as it involves cutting down a few trees that were snapped off, halfway, in a storm this spring.  

Here is what it looks like now.

As you can see, it's kind of the dump spot of the back yard.  It is an area roughly 20 feet square and is up against a green belt area that we own, but are not allowed to clear.  Before the storm, there was a big oak tree on the far side of the fence and it kept this area in all shade.  When it came down, it took part of the fence, and the tops of all the trees to the left, with it.  You can see a tree hanging from the vines near the jeep.  The guy the neighbors hired to fix the fence just cut the tree off the fence and left it laying in our yard.  Its under the weeds invisible.  In his defense, we told him we wanted the wood for the fireplace.  I'm pretty sure he left the broken fence boards there, too.  This summer, the kudzu and wild grape vines took over everything.  The lawn guy stopped mowing it and I, haphazardly, planted an avocado in a bare patch of grass that's no longer bare.  I have so much work to do, and I'm not really sure I am capable of doing it all.  I hate to admit that this might be a job for a hired crew.  At least the tree removal part.  Somewhere under all the mess, is my winter wood pile (and a suspected carpenter ant home) that I'll need to get access to before it gets cold (stop laughing all you northerners, it happens here).  I was hoping to wait till winter to get back there to work, but it really can't wait much longer.  It's calling to me.

A farmer's work is never done.  Not even for a backyard farmer!

In case you are interested, here are a few links with info and articles about growing sugarcane in your yard:

As always, thanks for reading,


  1. Now that sounds like a project! At least you have the potted sugar cane (how cool is that?) sitting there egging you one to get that corner cleared. I didn't even know you could grow sugar cane there. I just always assumed it came from Hawaii. You know, the old "Pure cane sugar from Hawaii" advertisement.

    1. I thought so, too. Florida is, evidently, the nation's largest producer of sugarcane. It likes hot weather, mild winters and humidity. Check, check and check! I am in central Florida and get a few hard freezes most years, so I'll have to protect it on cold nights.

      In other news, I was out helping my butternut squash vines find their trellis and found a few teeny, tiny fruits. I am so excited! I am the only one who eats them here but I would be over the moon if I could bring some for Thanksgiving at my sister-in-law's house this year.