My Florida Garden in February

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I love being able to go outside on a winter afternoon to harvest vegetables. Often we are able to eat vegetables that were growing in the ground an half hour before dinner. You can’t get much fresher than that! We have been enjoying delicious root vegetables like turnips and daikon radishes, as well as nutritious leafy greens.

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I love the purple and white on these turnips.

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The daikon radishes above are pretty easy to grow. Most seem to just  use the roots, but the greens are edible too. They seem like turnip greens to me, only a bit milder. I love crops that are edible above and below the ground!

Much of my Florida backyard garden is waiting for some consistent warmth. I have two gardens: the “shed bed”, which is shady for a good part of the day; and a larger, sunnier garden in the corner of the backyard.

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“Shed bed” with its fall/winter crops of kale, daikon radish, onions, broccoli, garlic, collards, and other greens such as Swiss chard and lettuce. We can eat greens a few times a week now by just harvesting the outer leaves. Kale is so tasty cooked with just a little olive oil, garlic, and kosher salt. Yum! Just the thing to round out a hearty winter meal.

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See how the leaf mulch keeps the weeds under control in the picture above? I seldom have to weed over here.

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This corner garden is just hanging on with its onions, few turnips and rutabagas, cauliflower, and broccoli. Soon it will be full of tomatoes, green beans, and eggplants.

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This broccoli is “buttoning”, or forming little broccoli florets rather than large heads. I think the snow and ice that we experienced here in the Florida Panhandle stressed it out a bit. My daughter doesn’t mind though, she eats them raw.

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Isn’t that just the cutest little cauliflower you’ve ever seen? I had some last year that turned out to be very yummy so I have high hopes for this year. Hopefully they will reach full size by the middle of April.

The corner bed was the big expansion last year. I remember indicating an area roughly 23’x25′ to my husband, then watching him till under this huge corner of the backyard and thinking,”What have I done?!”

I filled it though, and last summer we enjoyed homemade spaghetti sauce, tender eggplant, fresh green beans, and crisp bell peppers. For most of the summer I hardly bought vegetables. It was worth it!

This year, I plan to double the size of that garden.

Ambitious, yes, I know. Either that, or slightly crazy. What do you think?

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