My five favorite vegetables to grow in Central Florida.
1. Yard long beans (asparagus beans, Chinese long beans). These grow so well here and look terrific in the garden with their extremely long pods. Cook like regular green beans or stir fry.
2. Pickling cucumbers. I love these for slicing and eating. We make them into cucumber salad with a little sugar and rice vinegar, toss slices into our drinking water, or make cold cucumber soup with onion and garlic. Mine are growing on a simple and free pallet trellis.
3. Heirloom tomatoes in Pots! This is my biggest gardening advice here in central Florida, grow your tomato plants in pots, not in your garden. There are some things to know however. The pots need to be big, they need to have enough calcium added(egg shells) to prevent blossom end rot and they need to be watered regularly at the same time each day or few days without getting their leaves wet. (unless you are watering with compost tea) There is so much I could say on this but I will end with something about germination. Heirloom tomato seeds need light and should not be planted too deep or they will not germinate. Just a little dusting of soil over top.
4. Pineapples. These are just cool. I mean you buy a pineapple, eat it and then plant the top and wait. Now they do like to be fertilized. Mine are in a sunny spot in the front yard. They are planted very close together to deter any critters from getting in the patch. So far I have never lost one to a critter but I expect to sometime. I pick them when they just start turning yellow and let them ripen on the counter. When they are all yellow its time to eat them up! A side note is that pineapple is good for our pet rabbits to reduce hair balls, so we give them a little too!
5. Greens. Really all kinds. Collards, Mustard, Swiss Chard, Turnips, Kale.
These grow great and you can add just a little to so many different meals. I chop it up like an herb and add greens to soups, tomato sauces, salads, eggs, you do not just have to serve it by itself. Add those vitamin packed leaves to almost anything you cook. You can make stuffed Collared or Kale leaves in place of cabbage. Or instead of Kale Chips, try Collard Chips!
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