Tag Archives: February Florida vegetable garden

February To-Do List

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Will spring be early this year? I sure hope so.

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Until then, I am enjoying delicious greens from the garden. The collards pictured above have survived our light frosts pretty well.

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Turnip harvest have been good, and the mustard greens and kale have kept us supplied with veggies.

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I have been pleased with the ‘White Egg’ turnips this year. Despite being planted too closely, they have still produced many turnips. We ate the thinnings as greens, and now they are bulbing up nicely, no succession planting needed.

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The shed bed has been producing mustard greens, and the garlic is progressing nicely.

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Broccoli has been a bust. Again. Last year I blamed myself, the weather, and the soil and decided to try it again.

This year, I blame it on the variety. I’m going to spend a little extra and get a named variety or hybrid for next time. Do you have a favorite variety that you recommend?

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The pac choi is bolting, and I welcome the cheery yellow flowers. I plan to let my mustard bolt too, I’m hoping for an impressive display from them.

My to-do list:

1. Start tomatoes and flowers on Valentine’s Day. Last year I had spring fever so bad…do you remember the strange place that I sprouted seeds?

2. Make marmalade!! I love it so much on homemade bread, with hot tea to accompany it. That combination makes me feel cultured and British. 🙂

3. Sketch out a garden plan. I hope to have most of my crops and seeds planted by mid-March, and then to just let them do their thing.

4. Get more green bean seeds. I’m going to buy some in bulk to save money. Maybe this year I will save some seeds from them. Saving your own seeds is a great way to save money in the garden. You can also get seeds for free; check out my popular post on How I Get Free Seeds.

5. Plant out sugar snap starts. Last year I figured out too late that the squirrels were digging up my peas. I found a few peas that I had managed to save from last year, soaked them, and planted them in flats. Hopefully it’s not too late.

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Are you ready for spring? I have to admit, I’m not quite as stir crazy as I was last year; maybe it’s because I have so many crops actively growing and maturing.

We are supposedly in for some cold weather this week. If you have raised bed gardens, look for a post soon on how to cover your raised bed.

Are you going to try any new techniques or varieties this year? It’s never too early to plan!

How to Save Your Lettuce, Radish, and Broccoli Seeds Like a Ninja

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Fresh lettuce has so much flavor! I grew some Bibb Buttercrunch lettuce from some free seeds. I really liked the taste and I want to grow it again, so I let it bolt, or go to seed.

The problem with lettuce seeds is that they are small and often stick to remnants of the flower and fluff.

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One way to save the seeds is to wait and let the stalks dry out, then crinkle the seed heads in your hands to release the seeds.

I didn’t want to wait.

I had a crazy idea.

What if I stuck the seed heads in my Ninja (food processor) for a bit??

So I tried it.

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It separated the chaff from the seeds quite well! I gently blew the chaff off the top and ta da! I was a little afraid that I would end up with lettuce seed puree but I didn’t. 🙂

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Look at that-enough lettuce seeds to grow salad for all my neighbors. And their rabbits.

My brain kept thinking.

If this could be done with lettuce seeds, I wondered, what about those tough seedpods from my daikon radishes and broccoli?

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It worked quite well for the daikon radishes. Just a second or two of the food processor and the seed pods had released the seeds.

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Separating broccoli seeds was a snap.

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I’m so excited about free seeds! I have an entire post on how I get free seeds, and saving seeds from your own garden is one of the ways to get them. I also have a post with more money-saving garden tips.

So what do you think of this method of saving lettuce seeds? Or do you think that this method is crazy?  Do you know of anyone else who saves seeds this way? If so, I’d love to hear about it!

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?