Tag Archives: Florida Raised Bed Garden

Florida Raised Bed Gardening Update

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Florida Raised Bed Gardening Update

Gardening is addictive. Last spring, this retired couple started out with a single raised bed. They harvested squash, tomatoes, peppers, and green beans.

The bed was planted for the fall with collards, kale, carrots, turnips, and radishes.

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The North Florida raised bed now has a neighbor.

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See? Once you get started gardening, it’s hard to stop with just one bed.

The gardener used my cheap DIY plant label idea, and planted another garden.

The raised bed idea is great for planting carrots, who need soft soil in order to grow straight roots.

We have gotten some frosts recently here in North Florida, but they have a neat way to cover their beds for the night. I’ll have to show you some pictures of that soon.

I hope your gardens are growing well. You can start planning for the spring and getting your seeds together. I have a post on how to get free seeds and  how to make your own compost. Gardening can be as expensive or as inexpensive as you want.

Winter is a time for yummy greens (especially in my favorite kale recipe!) and fresh hot biscuits. I have a super easy way to make biscuits that I will share with you later this week.

Fresh, hot, homemade biscuits with some easy peach jam? Yes, please!!!

 

Florida Raised Bed Garden and the Deadly Accessories

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Remember the monster tomato plant? Well, it’s still growing.

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This ‘Mortgage Lifter’ is super tall. Production is low, but there is at least one tomato on it.

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That’s not all I found on it.

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That is a tobacco hornworm. It can absolutely decimate a tomato plant. At first I thought it was a tomato hornworm, but my research assistant, Mr. Wikipedia, informed me that the tobacco hornworm has 7 stripes, whereas the tomato hornworm has 8 stripes.

Go ahead, count the stripes. 🙂

Those white pearly studs are its deadly accessories, the pupae of a parasitic wasp that will kill the caterpillar. Mr. Wikipedia went on to tell me some pretty gruesome facts about the wasp’s life cycle in the caterpillar. Apparently a virus is injected with the wasp eggs and 2 molts actually occur inside of the caterpillar before the wasp larvae spin the cocoons on the outside…it actually makes you feel a little sorry for the destructive garden pest.

So if you see a tobacco hornworm flaunting some bling, let it be- Nature’s Pest Control is on the job.

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Let’s end on a happy note, shall we?

Many cherry tomatoes are being harvested and enjoyed. The green bean plants have produced much for them but are ready to be converted into wonderful homemade compost!

It’s almost time to start the fall garden!

Here in North Florida, we can plant many spring crops again, as well as start many of our fall crops. If you are in Florida, be sure to consult the Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide provided by the University of Florida.

Have you been thinking about what you want to plant in August and September?

 

Florida Raised Bed Gardening: Harvest!

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If you have followed the progress of this raised bed, you may have been wondering about the growth.

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The above pictures were taken 2 weeks ago.

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Florida raised bed garden

Look at it now! The first green beans were harvested this last week and the gardeners were so excited!

 

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They planted ‘Kentucky Wonder’ bush beans and some yellow wax beans. They were able to eat green beans for lunch that they grew in their backyard.

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yellow squash plant

They have signs of little yellow squash growing too. They should be able to harvest squash in just a few days.

If you have been thinking about gardening, you can start small with a raised bed. The husband in this gardening duo had never planted a seed before, but he is now able to harvest vegetables from his backyard.

Please don’t think of gardening as expensive, complicated, or difficult. Start small, and enjoy the process. Gardeners are always learning, so don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know.

You can read about how they started their garden in this post, and follow their progress.

Florida Raised Bed Gardening (Part 1)

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Thinking about starting a garden this year? Gardening in Florida is such a worthwhile endeavor. You can get fresh air, gentle exercise, and fresh vegetables!

I have been helping a retired couple set up a raised bed in their backyard. A raised bed is a great way to start gardening.

Many like the raised bed system of gardening because they have more control over the soil. In Florida, that is important because our natural ground is so sandy.

Also, many who have raised beds use the square foot method of gardening, as developed by Mel Bartholomew (see his blog here).

The first step is to select a site. You need between 4-6 hours of sun, really 6 hours or more is best. If some afternoon shade is available, your plants will appreciate the break from our blistering Florida sun.

They selected a site in their backyard that seemed to get the most sun.

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The next step is to assemble the raised bed. Be sure to use quality wood, but be careful of using wood that has been treated with chemicals-remember, your food will be growing in this box!

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This one was made by cutting a 4×4 into 4 equal lengths for the corners, then screwing 4x1x6 boards to the corner posts.

This  raised bed framework was built years ago and was used as a compost bin until they decided to use it for a garden.

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Next, lay a layer of  cardboard or thick newspaper to smother the grass. Poke a few holes for drainage, then add a thick layer of leaves. The leaves will also help to smother weeds and will provide more organic material as they decompose.

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Finally, add a thick layer of compost, at least 6 inches. This couple had been making compost using kitchen and yard scraps and had plenty of this rich material to use. For my tutorial on how to make compost, read this post.

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Florida Raised Bed Garden

Water the garden thoroughly to settle the soil and to be sure that it is level. Water will settle in any low spots.

The next post about raised bed gardening will cover how to plan and plant your Florida raised bed garden. This couple really wants tomatoes and herbs; see what they plant in Florida Raised Bed Gardening Part 2.