Tag Archives: raised bed garden

How to Cover a Raised Bed Garden from Winter’s Frost

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BRRR! The weather in North Florida has been hormonal!!!

Looks like we have a few more chilly nights left before spring comes to North Florida. If you have young or tender plants that you want to protect from the light frosts predicted for this area, check out this nifty idea.

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All you need is an old fitted sheet and a few sticks taller than your plants. Poke the sticks into the ground at a level higher than your tallest plants and stretch the sheet over the bed.

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The sticks keep the sheet off your plants, and the fitted sheet helps to hold the edges down. This is great idea from the owners of the Florida raised beds seen on this site.

Easy to install, easy to remove.

If you can place the sheets in the afternoon, it will give the sun a chance to warm the trapped air, giving the plants a bit more frost protection.

Who’s ready for spring?

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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!!!

 

Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest-Edible Garden!

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Although I did leave my garden for 6 days, I was able to visit another edible garden growing in the beautiful Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest. It was beautiful. The deliberate planning and the creative ideas made for an inspiring visit.

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There were a series of unique planters that caught my eye.

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They were made of straw by their artist in residence, Mei Ling Hom. They were arranged in a RhizoLink. This line of planters was arranged to represent the dits and dashes of Morse code. For more images, click here and here.

Maybe I’ll try to make my own someday. 🙂

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Here is their greenhouse, with the RhizoLink along the path. Don’t the planters add a nice bit of structural interest?

I love their greenhouse. If I had one that big, I wouldn’t need a regular house.

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I could just put a little cot in the center aisle for sleeping at night.

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The raised beds are at varying heights to accommodate children, the elderly, and those in wheelchairs. Raised beds also provide more control over the growing medium. Some of the beds were made of wood, others of rock. The plants looked quite healthy and I loved looking at all the varieties.

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I’m sure this Faerie Garden is a favorite of the children and young at heart. I think it is a wonderful way to get children interested in growing.

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This compost bin is similar to my compost bins, but is made of logs rather than pallets. The thermometer helps them monitor the temperature.

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I thought that this was a neat way to provide shade, privacy, and color to a front entrance. You could plant a flowering vine(or pole beans!) to climb the string, and some sweet potato vines to spill over the sides. So much inspiration here.

DSCN4654This little garden sign seems to sum up the purpose and goals of Bernheim’s Edible Garden.

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If you ever visit Kentucky, a stop at the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest will be well worth your time. You can also visit their garden timeline. I hope that you were inspired!

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Florida Raised Bed Gardening (Part 2)

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If you are going to plant spring vegetables in Florida, the time to do so is now. Did you read about starting a raised bed in my earlier post? If not, go ahead and read Part 1 and then come back. 🙂

Look at this beautiful compost that they had for their raised bed! They employed the easy method of making compost. Over about 10 years, they kept adding kitchen scraps and yard waste to a pile and let the worms do the work. 🙂

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After the raised bed is assembled and filled with compost, it is time to plan and plant.

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I just took a trowel and sketched out the spacing before we planted to be sure that everything would fit and that the spacing would work.

This couple wanted vegetables, herbs, and flowers. We planned out the placement of the vegetables, putting the tall tomatoes in the back (north) of the bed. Peppers and basil went in front of the tomatoes. Yellow squash and bush beans were in front.

Some take string and carefully measure out their square feet and plant according to this guide, but we treated the square as a whole unit, not as individual squares.

 

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In the picture above, the couple is planting their bush bean seeds in rows. They have such great compost to plant in and I am sure their plants will just love their home.

Cilantro, basil, and yellow squash were also planted from seeds. They planted tomatoes and pepper plants as young transplants rather than seeds.

With all the warm weather and spring showers that we have been getting, the seeds should be coming up soon.

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A few marigold plants were placed in the raised bed. These will attract pollinators and look pretty.

It is really amazing how much can be crammed into a small but carefully maintained space. In a month, this Florida raised bed will be full of young plants. Little fertilizer will be needed because of the great compost. What a great use of space!

If you want to learn more about making your own compost, you should read my post about how to make compost.

Hopefully soon I will posting about little sproutlings in this garden!

How is your garden doing? Have you planted yet or are you expecting snow in your area?

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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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.