Sunday, May 27, 2012

Garden Invasion

Our garden areas have been barren for quite a long time. The property is mostly browning lawn, sand and unattended ornamental plants. Oh and don't let me forget... ants, lots of ants!
Slowly we are clearing areas, adding in soil and planting. This is a work in progress.

Let me say John Kohler, I admire you so much! Thank you for sharing your videos!

This experiment has posed a lot of challenges already. There is something new to investigate and research almost daily. Not just for the when, where, and how of planting but also how to keep them alive. Watering do's and don't and the invasion of the bugs.

Our first encounter with disaster was waking up to a caterpillar infestation in our tomato plants...every gardener's nightmare I'm sure! To try to rid these guys as quickly as possible but as safe as possible we started with the Neem oil. We sprayed and waited and saw our tomatoes being devoured too fast to wait around for that. We quickly moved to other methods. First a bug light to try to draw the moths(the insect that is laying the larvae) away and Begonias to attract the moths. They supposedly enjoy that type of flower as well. 

We also gave them a couple rounds of bt spore spray. The local nursery told us that bt is a long time, organic gardeners friend. We have managed to get that under control now for the most part.
I was happy to see a frog and a gecko are living in the Begonias now.

Last night a big storm came up and when we awoke this morning we discovered a very large web strewn from the back oak tree to tops of the tomato cages. One teeny tiny white spider managed to catch at least 30 moths. As much as I hate spiders, I was thrilled to know that even more life is taking shape in the back yard. I am OK with letting him stay there if he is the protector of my food!

I will post a few photos below of what's happening in our tiny back yard. The ecosystem is really in charge. I hope to learn how to attract more beneficial bugs and keep our plants thriving!

Tomato Fruitworm

If you look closely, you can see the caterpillar head chewing through the leaf.

Stag Beetle

I understand these to be beneficial bugs. I have seen quite a few of these guys floating in my pool each morning. We rush to scoop them out and save their dear lives. Please let me know if this is a huge mistake!

Tomato stem primordia

I believe we caused this from over watering.



This patterns appears to be from "skeletonizers". This is the information I gathered from my gardening books. Please let me know if you feel this may be something else.


Very tiny in the center of photo. Again, please email me if you have a different opinion.
We are making speculations on daily research and watching the environment. By no means
are we claiming to be experts! :) We sprayed with Neem oil for these guys.

All photographs and blog info © Tammy Sherman, 2012. May not be reproduced without permission. Any questions or comments please email

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Seaside Planter Ideas

We have lived near the beach in Sarasota for almost four years now, so it's very natural to collect cottage, shabby, seaside type items when out hunting for goodies. The gardening bug has bitten me and I cannot find enough items to stuff with dirt. If my husband leaves his shoes in the lanai very much longer,he might just discover basil growing out of them.
Today, I untucked some junk I've had for a while. A couple of buckets, two wall hanging pockets, some shells and a striped ceramic planter.
Now comes the question..."What shall I put in them?"
I need some drainage holes and maybe some coconut liners or peat moss for the wall hangers.
I would prefer to only plant edibles, so I will be researching  and to see if there are any herbs or rare veggies that will fit in with this limited criteria.
Most likely scenerio, I will break the rules and see what happens.
 As for the shells, perhaps I will make some garden markers out of them.
If anyone has any ideas on what I could plant or seashell projects for gardening,
feel free to comment or email me at Thanks friends!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Illustrations for your crafting needs available at

I have worked as an illustrator/designer for many years now. My portfolio includes fabric lines, greeting cards, giftwares, paper products, and many other things. Recently, I started redesigning some art collections for re-release at Some kits will be illustrations only, while others will have paper kits and have add-ons available. I hope you like my designs! There will be many  more sets to come, as I have thousands of images in my archives.
If you need any information on my sets, please email me at
for a copy of the angel policy, which includes the terms of use.

Jesus Loves Me - Illustrations

Gardening/Homesteading Resources

I don't know about you, but I just love reading. Sometimes I spend more time planning, designing, and dreaming from resource books and the internet than actually doing the projects. I would like to share a listing of my small garden library reference books, magazines, movies and people that inspire me to do what I do. On top of the pile is an adorable, little journal that was given to me by my friend, Jennifer Hayslip of Eye Candy Creations.

The Backyard Homestead, edited by Carleen Madigan
All New Square Foot Gardening, written by Mel Bartholomew
The Ultimate Guide to Homesteading, by Nicole Faires
Reader's Digest The Complete Illustrated Book of Herbs
all of these books can be found on

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
This company also puts out a wonderful magazine, called "The Heirloom Gardener".
Seed Savers Exchange

Inspirational People
Vandana Shiva is a philosopher, environmental activist, physicis in quantum theory and eco-feminist, Video message
Will Allen
John Kohler
John has hundreds of videos to inspire all your home garden needs!

Fork Over Knives
A Beautiful Truth
What's On Your Plate?
Food Matters
Food Inc.
King Corn

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Jack Daniels whiskey barrel (HERB GARDEN)

In addition to our garden beds, we are also doing a lot of container gardening around the property. My husband bought me a Jack Daniels whisky barrel for Mother's Day, because nothing says love like a whisky barrel. I have to admit I was a little sad that it was cut in half and empty.
He drilled 3/4 inch holes in the bottom of it for proper drainage. We placed a couple of coffee filters over the holes to stop the soil from falling through the bottom and filled with a nice mixture of high quality organic potting soil, compost and some sphagnum/peat moss. The mixture is nice, black and loamy. We then added the herbs: variegated oregano, lavender, rosemary, basil and lemon thyme. I have no idea if they will work well together, the project is an experiment. I also placed a beautiful glazed pot, that I had purchased from Anthropologie, on it's side for decoration.

Empty barrel. If you purchase one and wait to use it, keep
misting the inside to keep it from drying out.

Hope these plants work well together. If not, I will pluck
out and put somewhere else. Can't wait to see if it fills in. 
In front of barrel is my cayenne pepper plant.

Closeup of Variegated Oregano, Lemon Thyme and Lavender.

Saturday, May 19, 2012


My sweet teen keeps me hopping to change her hair quite often. 

New garden additions

New additions have been added to the garden. Today, Greg raked and leveled a new spot for another raised bed. Filled it with a nice mixture of compost and good organic soil. I then got to do the fun and easy part of the job...plant! I added in the flowering kale, sweet cherry tomatoes, sweet banana peppers, cayenne peppers and sangria peppers.
I am truly thankful for my hard working and accommodating husband. I am just starting treatment for my Lupus and Fibromyalgia. I am currently in a "flare". The disease has attacked my soft tissues, so my muscles and joints are very sore and angry right now. I am hopeful that I will be able to wield a rake and shovel one day very soon!
I am happy that I was able to hang in there with him for about two hours today before I lost all my energy and the burning sensation started screaming in my joints. Nausea, headache and fatigue has kept me in bed all day.
We also had some destroyers come into our garden, suddenly in the night. I will save that disappointing discovery and our attempts to destroy them for another post.

Ornamental Kale

New heirloom seed starts looking for light
and waiting for a home. It's very late for beans and peas
but I wanted to experiment anyways to see what would grow.

Cayenne Peppers

Sangria Ornamental Peppers

Getting along with Geckos

For the past three years, my husband and I have been living in Sarasota, Florida. Our little home in the tropics has been a new adventure. We are located on the 10a planting zone guide so we are nice and humid pretty much year round. Just a tiny walk and I'm standing and looking at the intercoastal for the gulf. Needless to say, having the possibility of growing year round also means lots of pests. Our lanai has had spiders off an on and I am completely afraid of them. Another pest in the lanai was the geckos. I kept picking them up and putting them outside. This year I have not done that. I am getting along with the geckos and they are taking care of my spider problem and also eating other pests. Yay! You may or may not find them cute but I'm learning to love them and appreciate what they do.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Attempting to grow food in Tiny spaces!

Gardening in the smallest of space in Sarasota, Florida can be difficult. We have .25 acre but most is home, pool, brick paver decking, wood deck, shed and fencing. So we are trying our hand and making the most of any useable space to grow food. Our goal is to create as much food as possible and take advantage of our growing season, which includes just one month of possible frost. So far this year we rescued 14 tomato plants from the local grocery. They were going to throw them out. We mananged to save 12 plants and they are growing hardy and making lots of blooms and tomatoes. I started around 24 starts of a variety of heirloom tomato seeds. The starts include: banana legs, cherokee purple, amish paste, white wonder and other larger red varieties. We are currently growing sweet and purple basil, catnip (to repel mosquitoes - not working yet! lol), thornless blackberries, a variety of peppers, aloe, and rosemary. We have little starts of beans, peas, cucumber, summer squash and zucchini. We will see how all these go. The goal is to reduce the amout of non-edibles and plant as much food as possible. I've been told it's very difficult to grow food here but I will document success and failure just the same. Wish me luck!

Blackberry starts will be trellised on the side fence.

Cavendish Banana tree has been planted in a container to protect and move as needed.


Purple Basil

Love my new whisky barrel! What shall I plant? Possibly onion or garlic?

Had to have a few Begonia flowers.


Garden stones.

New garden hose stop. Love this little guy

Moonstruck Marigolds. Such huge flowers and so rich in color.

Rosemary. Can't wait to bunch it and baste the grilled corn.

Saved tomatoes!

More Saved tomatoes!

View over the palms by the pool at sunset.