Tag Archives: South Florida Vegetable Gardens

Garden Amendments: When Manure Is Not Manure

I attended a plant show recently where a local civic group was selling large bags of “manure” for a small donation. I was given several bags that were left over. When I opened the bags I was stunned to find that what I had was a bag of sand. It bothered me to think of how many people got that bag of sand and thought that was manure, put it in their gardens, and got what effect?

It was at that point that I realized that I was severely undervaluing the excellent manure that I offer to my clients, and the ethic that I bring to supplying a product that really is what it should be. Just because it is shit doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter, and if you have gotten a lousy bag of sand instead of manure, you might think manuring a garden doesn’t work. It does, if you get some actual manure. Manure does amazing things to our sandy soils.

The Compost Gardener: I Am The Gardener You Hire To Tell You What To Do

“What does The Compost Gardener do?” I was recently asked on my newest Google internet listing. The closest two choices I had were Gardener, and Landscaper. Both are accurate, and neither are spot on. A friend asked me the same question and I had to consider what I do for people in their gardens that

Education: Planning The Summer Garden

Planning The Summer Garden is key for Florida gardeners as this is our opportunity to go fallow in the garden, grow summer annual crops or to plant green mulch, and cover crops. This class will help you to decide which to do, and how to go about it. We will also cover some of the many perennial leaf crops we can grow here for our summer table greens.

Garden Pests: Pests and Disease In The Permaculture Garden

I recently received a comment from a reader Marco in response to my article Garden Pests: Nematodes . In his comment he wrote: “Great list of things to try but do any of them actually work effectively? I suspect most of it is good in theory or just plain myth and does not work in practice for

Permaculture: Lemons To Lemonade

In April bull dozers came to the canal behind our property and pulled down all of the deep shade that had grown there. The water management district had a project to do back there, and in a few days my west side fence that had been buried in the deep shade of Brazilian pepper trees

In The Garden: Fall & Winter 2012 and 2013

This fall and winter there is a great deal to see and to eat in my South Florida Garden. I have gained a little extra time this year to spend at the homestead garden and I can see how that is paying off. I have been harvesting turmeric and ginger that grew all summer in

In The Garden: More About Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are good for the soil. All summer long their vines and heart shaped leaves keep the soil covered. The mulch below the vines breaks down in cool comfort. The swelling potatoes gently move the soil repairing any compaction issues that existed before them. I find the soil below the potato vines to be black, well aggregated (lumpy) and loaded with worm castings. The weeds that are coming up around my transplants are easy to slip out of the soil where the potatoes were. The new crops are growing as if all of their soil needs are being met, and the soil is holding moisture much longer than the native soil.

Education: Making A Garden Plan Class @ Heathcote Botanical Gardens

I will be presenting a garden planning class 10 AM Saturday August 11, 2012 at Heathcote Botanical Gardens in the office meeting room in the old house. Participants will make an actual plan on paper. We will learn about choosing a garden location, orientation of the garden, crop successions, preparing gardens and soil, companion plants,

Education: My 2012 Summer to Spring 2013 Class Schedule

Here is the schedule for the classes I am teaching at Heathcote Botanical Gardens thru the spring of 2013. If you click on the link below you can see the pdf poster with dates and times. The composting class has already gone by, however, if there are enough who are interested I would be glad

In The Garden: Revisiting Sweet Potatoes

The sweet potato plant has multiple uses in the garden as a root crop, a leaf crop, and a cover crop. All parts can be used to feed livestock as well as people and it is at its best growing in hot dry sandy soil. This is a great permaculture crop for South Florida.

Education: What to Plant in The Summer Garden @ Heathcote Botanical Gardens

I am back in my own garden again with a vengeance after the permaculture workshop at Heathcote Botanical Gardens. Time is flying and I have begun to consider what I am planting this summer, and when. At 1:00 PM on Sunday February 5 at Heathcote Botanical Gardens I will be presenting a class on what

In The Garden: October 2011, Plant Now!

Fall is the beginning of our cold crop planting season in South and Central Florida. Tomatoes, Peppers, Eggplant, Basil and Beans that were started in August may be getting ready to fruit, and may ripen fruit before our first frost. If you are starting those plants now you will have to protect them from the

The No Till No Dig Way: Gardening 101, It’s Easy, Really!

I made a new friend who is not yet gardening and was rather intimidated by it and quite sure it would take him a long time to learn how to grow food. He mentioned to me that he thought he should take a Gardening for Dummies Class, and that what I had to offer was

In The Garden: Summer Crops For South Florida

For many years I let my gardens fallow over the summer all the while feeling quite sure that there were crops that we could grow here in South Florida in the summer time, but I couldn’t figure out what they were, and I didn’t know who to ask. In order to save you the same

In The Garden: When It Is Cold, Sheets & Straw To The Rescue

Even with expecting cold weather, choosing our warmest spots for our most tender vegetables, and growing lots of brassicas, onions, and carrots every where else, we need lots of great strategy for protecting our tender and often favorite vegetables. Local farmers are losing millions of dollars in tomatoes in these low temperatures. There isn’t much they can do for a field of tomato plants in 20 degree weather, but we gardeners having far fewer plants to protect, can afford to put lots of effort into just a few plants.

Harvests: This Summer In The Garden

This summer has been a whirlwind for me. I picked up some part time work at a local organic farm last winter and the job lasted way into the summer. A couple of months before the farm job started I began volunteering at the Community Vegetable Garden at Heathcote Botanical Gardens. Just as the farm

Friends: Heathcote Botanical Garden’s Community Garden

Photos by Nan and Adina Heathcote Botanical Garden recently decided to create a community garden. I was fortunate to be at the first meeting about a year ago, and I was able to get involved with this project at the beginning. This community garden is currently focused on growing for a Sarah’s Kitchen in Port

Friends’ & Clients’ Gardens: Tami’s place

These Pictures were taken by Tami and Melody. This past winter Tami bought fresh vegetables from my garden, and carried a bucket of kitchen garbage to me for my compost every week. Everything changed when she ate the fresh broccoli I put into her bag. Tami said she didn’t know fresh broccoli wouldn’t stink when

Garden Pests: No Problem If You Foster Soil Life, Diversity and Balance

After I wrote the article Garden Pests: Nematodes I received a comment from Naomi. She wrote “Wow, mind boggling how many things can go wrong in a vegetable garden!” Her comment made me realize that I did not bring home the point of my article very well. While there are lots of potential problems […]

Friends’ and Clients’ Gardens: My Neighbors’ Fabulous Garden

My neighbors grow in compost not because it is the organic or no till or healthy thing to do. They grow this way because it fosters the most vigorous plant growth and the most flavorful vegetables, in a place that once seemed much less hospitable for growing food.