Digging and……

Popular wisdom in these parts says winter is a good time for a vegetable garden….”They” also told us it’s easy to grow watermelons in spring, but that’s a story for later…much later…. as in maybe never.  😉 It didn’t end well.

In contrast, our vegetable saga is coming along nicely!

Here we are on November 11, putting in our little plants

If you think it looks dark…it is. Maggie is a 9 to 5’er, so we were planting under our security spotlights around 8pm!

Here’s how it looked the next day when the sun came up and we could actually take pictures of our tiny squash, spinach, artichokes, and pepper plugs!

Just a few weeks later,  all have tripled in size!  The crookneck squash have even begun to bloom!  Look!


Needless to say, we are  thrilled with the outcome thus far!

To be continued…..


How the Ranchero got its name

Tucked among the mexican donkey ears, i found the most wonderful late season garden surprise—some very unexpected pale pink dahlias, that I definitely hadn’t planted.  “Volunteers” happen often in my backyard cutting garden, but rarely in my main cactus garden, The Ranchero.

This might be a good time to tell you how The Ranchero was conceived, and subsequently named.

We moved to “small house” in December 2009; to the side of the screened porch was a thoroughly overgrown, empty koi pond with tons of weeds and a two paddled Opuntia. (I wish i’d taken “before” pictures, but alas…)  What an eyesore!  Nevertheless the basic outline had potential and the sun exposure was perfect for a succulent/cactus bed.  After two weeks of cleanup, the first specimens were planted

Fast forward to just before Mother’s Day, 2010. My daughter Maggie, who also lives at small house, had a friend visiting from up north.  Upon seeing our now very full cactus patch, she remarked,  “its soooooo ranchero!!!”   Three days later, they gave me this handpainted staked sign.

The original Vero Ranchero sign

and that is the story of how the Ranchero got its name…maybe you had to be there 🙂 🙂

The sign has since washed away in a flood,  but Maggie and I and the name remain….

Until the next time…..

Oh, what a beautiful morning…

How can you not be happy on a day like this??  The sky is clear, the temp a balmy 77degrees; it’s practically winter, but things are still blooming, like the Japanese Orchid Tree you see above, and the Euphorbias streaming below.

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Here we’re able to plant vegetables in November for harvest in February–something i still have a hard time wrapping my head around. Two short years ago,  I lived in New England, where the only thing “growing in December” was the height of the snowbank at the end of the driveway!.

If you’re a displaced Northerner reading this, do you miss the seasons?   Let me know!

Until next time…..

In the beginning……

If you found me today, you are here at the beginning of the beginning…


Gardening in Florida is a 365 days-a-year event, so each visit to Small House/BIG GARDEN will surprise you with something new.  Expect to see all original content, as I share the pictures, stories, tips and resources of gardening in the Vero Ranchero.

Until the next time……