How to Grow Your Own Organic Vegetables in Florida
Florida’s subtropical climate is perfect for growing a wide assortment of vegetables. When you decide to grow your own tasty, healthful food crops, you might also consider growing them without pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers. Insects such as aphids, scale, caterpillars and others can be a problem, especially in warm, humid regions such as Florida, but it’s possible to control those bothersome insects with organic alternatives.
Growing Organic Vegetables in Florida
Build your garden near your house and a faucet or convenient source of water. Measure the area you wish to use, and make raised beds that are about 3 feet wide by 6 to 8 feet long.
Start composting your kitchen scraps, lawn trimmings, fallen leaves and other plant materials as early as possible. If you begin a compost pile in the fall, it should be ready for you to use for spring planting. You can make a compost pile on the ground, inside a ring of chicken wire or in a special container designed for compost.
Spread a 3- to 4-inch layer of compost on top of your raised garden bed area. You can purchase bags of ready-made compost at your garden supply store if you prefer not to make your own. Then dig the compost into the soil, going down at least six inches. Finally, set a sprinkler on the area for one hour.
Plant young vegetable plants one day after you turn the soil and water it. Some plants, including most root crops like carrots, do not transplant well, so plant seeds of these vegetables directly into the ground.
Monitor your plants for signs of small chewing insects such as aphids, and if you begin to see holes in your plants’ leaves, examine the plant to determine what type of insect is attacking it. For aphids, spray with insecticidal soap, available for purchase at garden supply stores. For scale insects, mix one tablespoon of canola oil with the insecticidal soap and spray with the mixture. For caterpillars and other chewing worms, dust your plants with Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), a naturally occurring soil bacterium available at garden centers.
Fertilize your vegetable garden about one month after you plant, and then once a month until late summer. One way to give your plants continuous nutrition is to spread a 2-inch layer of compost on top of the soil around your plants as mulch; this serves to keep the soil moist and also to nourish plants. Fish emulsion is a good organic fertilizer—purchase it at your garden center, then mix and apply it according to label instructions.
Organic Gardening with Aquaponics
When it comes to gardening, nothing beats Aquaponics.
It is an innovative system in farming in which it uses the natural cycle of life of both plants and fishes for the benefit of each other. If you’re wondering what is aquaponics and how does it work for your garden, then read on. You don’t have to rely on synthetic fertilizers loaded with chemicals just to grow your plants and crops healthily. This more natural way of gardening is not only practical, but also will help in preventing our environment from being contaminated by the harmful toxins given off by the fertilizers.
Traditional gardening may require a lot of maintenance-from filling it with fertilizers, to application of pesticides, to frequent cleaning out of weeds, and supplying of fresh new water. As you can see, it can be a bit exhausting and expensive, not to mention the effects of pesticides to the fruits of the crops. The idea behind aquaponics solves this problem, and not only you will benefit from having good crops, but also you will gain profit from growing freshwater fish at the same time, without the need to constantly change the water from the fish tank.
What is aquaponics? Aquaponics is a type of gardening system that combines agricultural and aquatic life. It uses water pump system, that supplies the water for both the fish in a fish tank and the plants in the grow beds. The waste materials coming from the fish is a great source of nutrients for the plants for it to grow healthily and be able to survive.
As the water from fish tank is pumped to the grow beds, the soil absorbs it and then it returns back to the fish tank by water pumps but this time, the water is cleaner and have more minerals since it is filtered by sands, pebbles or stones. Only a portion of the water has been evaporated so you don’t need to constantly replace the water that has lost. You can add a little, but it’s nothing compared to adding tons of water to the tanks like traditional fish-raising.
There are lots of benefits that you can get from aquaponics. If you learn deeper what is aquaponics and the way it works, you’ll realize you are spending less with this system rather than the traditional way of farming. It’s easier to maintain so it’s more economical.
For taking care of the fish, you only need to feed them with the organic foods, not the ones that are commercially prepared like the feeds being sold in the pet shops and agricultural supplies. It needs to be organically grown by you to be sure that there will be no residue for toxins and harmful chemicals. The work will be hard at first since you need to constantly check for the pH of water as well as the ammonia levels. But once they are already established (usually on the first month), you don’t have to constantly check for the pH and the levels of ammonia any longer.
Have you ever thought about setting up organic growing? Perhaps you think that having your own organic gardening is unfeasible and have not given it a serious thought. Well, it is time to have a rethink. What you may not be aware of is that many successful gardeners out there started out with as little knowledge as you. Having knowledge of gardening is very important if you are to succeed with this profitable venture. With the foregoing, examining some useful tips in this piece will be of great help.
Before you start your own organic growing, you should make plan for organic gardening supply and organic gardening fertilizer. Most of the materials you will use are mostly organic and you will need them to be able to grow organic vegetables and other plants. But when it comes to chemical fertilizers, care must be taken because of danger to plants, humans and the environment. Well, let us now examine those tips that will to make a success of organic gardening.
Tips to successful organic growing
Organic Soil: Organic gardening cannot succeed without a good soil, which is the heart of any garden. A healthy soil means a healthy organic garden. In order to keep the soil healthy, you need to provide it with as many organic matters as you can. A good soil with organic matters is very important because it will allow water, air and the roots to penetrate well. It has the ability to hold moisture and also drain excess water. So, the moment a good organic soil is achieved, all other else about an organic gardening will fall into place.
Organic Fertilizers: The major reason for setting up organic gardening is to use and utilize all-natural products and processes to produce a lush and bountiful harvest. Organic fertilizers are useful because it mimic nature and often slowly release nutrients into the soil. This is done through a steady process of breaking down the fertilizers into smaller particles that can be absorbed by the plants through their roots easily. This may not give immediate growth, but it will help to produce a more sturdy and healthy plant. It is a known fact that plants that grew rapidly as a result of the use of chemical fertilizers often have soft and succulent stems that are prone to pests and plant diseases. Thus, organic fertilizer is the best option.
Use Compost and Mulch: Some people called this “organic concoctions.” It is good to consider mixing them together and can be inexpensively done. Use them to effectively improve the overall condition of your garden. Mulch is a good soil conditioner that you should apply to your garden soil because it will effectively reduce weeds from taking over your garden. Compost is also a good a soil conditioner. It is not a fertilizer just like Mulch is not. Compost helps to add nutrients to the soil and also helps to retain moisture. The best part is that, these two can be made using materials that you do not need again.
In addition to the above, it is important to select lot of new and improved varieties for your garden growing. Visit garden centers or plant nurseries to get the best varieties of vegetable for your garden. With these tips mind, you will have it easy setting up your organic gardening.