One of the great pleasures of living in South Florida is growing food for dinner all winter long! Our growing season is opposite the rest of the country, spring and summer are too hot for all but the hardiest veggies but fall and winter are perfect growing weather for all sorts of wonderful produce.
Last year I learned about a gardening method called Square Foot Gardening that seemed like a great fit for my gardening needs so I tore down my old “micro farm” and installed a 16′ x 4′ Square Foot Garden. You can read all about the process of creating a SFG here, and watch a video about it here.
The SFG method worked out really well for me, so this year I was very eager to get my farming season started as soon as the heat died down enough to work outside.
After we strung the twine to make a grid, we all got busy transplanting the seedlings and planting the seeds. So far the garden has cabbage, cauliflower, kohlrabi, kale, spinach, 4 types of carrots, 2 types of radishes, beets, brussels sprouts, 2 types of bok choi, 2 types of chard, parsnips, turnips, banana peppers, green onions, bibb lettuce and cucumber. For me, the great advantage of this type of garden bed is that I grow more veggies in a smaller space than when I used to do it the traditional way. I also find that the weeds die down on their own when the veggie plants get bigger and crowd them out. I still have to weed a lot in the beginning, but it gets easier as the plants get bigger.
In a separate bed I have 4 types of tomatoes, sugar snap peas and sweet bell peppers. I also keep a small bed right next to the back door that I plant with all different types of herbs and loose leaf lettuce. Eventually, I would like to convert more yard space into garden space so that I can plant sweet potatoes, white potatoes and a Florida friendly pumpkin called Seminole Pumpkin. One idea that I may try this year is a potato barrel because it takes less space than traditional potato beds.
I should be able to begin harvesting radishes in about 1 more week and then I will re-plant those garden squares with more radishes to harvest in about 4 more weeks. As the other veggies are harvested, I will replant those squares right away and get two harvests out of my growing season.
Although it does take some time and effort to grow your own veggies, the rewards of delicious, super fresh produce are well worth the trouble!
This post is participating in Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter Thursday, Keep It Real Thursdays, Freaky Friday, Fresh Bites Friday, Monday Mania, Natural Living Mondays, Fat Tuesday, Hearth and Soul, Traditional Tuesdays, Real Food Wednesday, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Works For Me Wednesday, Whole Foods Wednesday