Saturday, August 8, 2015

5 things I learned the hard way about Central Florida Gardening


Sprouting been sprouts, fresh picked veggies and eggs

When I moved to central florida 11 years ago I started a garden.  I had already gardened successfully in Colorado for a number of years and I just "knew" florida would be even better.  Well after basically everything went wrong the first year I gave a new location in the yard a try!  That flopped too!  Then I started to notice not many people had gardens...hhhhmmm.  So I gave up!  

The problem is that I was born to garden.  It's just part of who I am and  I was kinda at a loss.  
My Daughter with the mornings harvest

But then I visited a neighbor and they had started a garden that was doing great!  And I was determined to give it another go.  I started reading and visiting more successful gardens, asking the right questions and getting some answers and now 11 years later I can say, it is a lot more difficult here but it is getting easier every year.  So here are some things you probably already know but I had to Learn the hard way.

  • Central florida has 4 growing seasons.  You can plant something every month!  But if you want to garden in the summer like the rest of the country pretty much, you will be very limited because of the heat and humidity.
  • Compost, manure, organic soil additives are essential.  Sandy soil dries out quick and does not hold nutrients so you must amend.  I use mushroom compost by the truck full literally!
  • Raised beds and container gardens are really smart because your soil additives stay put instead of running off with each rainfall.
  • Mulch!  This is vital for me.  Mulch keeps out the weeds and keeps in the moisture.  The earthworms seem to love being under it too!  And earthworms are free workers, you want them!
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  • When you want accurate information go to the Florida Extension Office website.  When to plant, how to plant, what to plant, how to compost, so much information!
Plan to learn as you go.  The spot you choose to garden will have it's own quirks and you will need to see what works for you! Now go plant something!

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