Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Florida Permaculture Garden and Drought

Florida is thought of as a wet, tropical rainforest by many.  But lately, just the opposite is true.  Over the past twenty years our lakes, streams, rivers, springs and groundwater have been disappearing, due to the ongoing drought we've experienced.

Harsh drought impacts Florida Permaculture Garden
Yes, I know the precipitation charts say we receive at least 50 inches (130 centimeters) rain per year.

However that quantity is highly misleading.
Even the Zinnias Suffer in the Heat and Dryness
Most of the year we receive little of no rain.  Only during the tropical storms or cyclones do those precipitation numbers add up, and then most of the water runs off the baked dry, hard ground into ditches, never bothering to soak in.

Even with layers and layers of organic material our Florida permaculture garden lately has suffered.
Florida Permaculture Garden's Cow peas Are Crying For Rain!
The normally resilient zinnias, beans and other drought tolerant plants are wilty.

The sight of a once beautiful, vibrant garden suddenly brown and crisp can be disheartening.

And though tempted to turn on the sprinklers, we do not want to waste precious water.

But underneath the sad looking leaves are still plenty of veggies!
Florida Permaculture Garden Burgundy Okra
Yesterday I picked a wonderful basket of okra (quimbombo), eggplant and banana peppers for dinner, and made delicious iced lemongrass/cranberry hibiscus tea to refresh all.

Turns out that all that mulch we've added to our sandy soil has kept the veggies producing, even though they look terrible!

So despite the drought we are still eating healthy fresh food.  In fact our veggies look better than those at the corner market.

Our feast included; stuffed peppers, tomatoes parmesan, okra and eggplant stir fry with peppers, Basmati rice and a wonderful chocolate cake made from chick peas (why are you laughing?).
Permaculture Lemongrass, Roselle and Cranberry Hibiscus - A Refreshing Tea!
Large, ripened banana peppers were deseeded and filled with shredded Mexican type soft cheeses and placed in a glass casserole dish alongside tomatoes cut in half and covered in parmesan, heated in the oven at 350 F (175C) for twenty minutes.
Florida Permaculture Garden Stuffed Peppers
Okra and eggplant were sautéed in sesame oil and flavored with Spicy Globe Basil.
Florida Permaculture Garden Okra, Eggplant and Peppers Sauteed
The chocolate cake (gluten free mind you) was made from a large can of garbanzo beans, well drained, four eggs, two cups of melted semi-sweet chocolate chips, one half cup rough cane sugar, a teaspoon of baking powder, two teaspoons  vanilla extract and shredded coconut.
Florida Permaculture Garden's Garbanzo Bean Chocolate Cake
To make the cake, blend the beans and eggs in your food processor, melt chocolate chips and add, along with other ingredients to bean/egg mixture.

Bake at 350F/175C for fifty minutes.  Cool on wire rack and invert.  Top with shredded coconut.

High in protein, low in cards, this is one healthy desert.  No one will ever know this cake is made without flour.

We feasted last night.

Even with the harsh drought the permaculture garden still provides a bountiful harvest.

No comments: