Which Organic Garden Vegetables To Grow In Florida
Vegetable gardening offers fresh air, sunshine, exercise, enjoyment, mental therapy, nutritious fresh vegetables, and economic savings, as well as many other benefits. Vegetables can be grown year-round in Florida if attention is paid to the appropriate planting dates. Below is the organic garden vegetables to grow in Florida:
Cover Crops/Green Manure
Green manure is fresh plant material turned into the soil. Planting and plowing in green-manure crops during the off-season is beneficial. The following cover crops are recommended: cowpea, velvet bean, soybean, and sunflower in summer and cereal rye, crimson clover, and Austrian winter pea in winter.
Most Florida soils benefit from the addition of organic matter, such as animal manure, rotted leaves, compost, commercial soil mixes, and cover crops. Thoroughly mix liberal amounts of (un-composted) organics in the soil well in advance of planting, preferably at least a month before seeding. If you do not plan to use inorganic fertilizer, spread 25 – 100 pounds of compost or composted animal manure per 100 square feet. Composted organics may be applied at planting time. However, aged or raw manures should be worked into the soil 90-120 days before havesting. Due to inconsistent levels of nutrients in compost, accompanying applications of inorganic or organic fertilizer may be beneficial.
Create your own “garden gold” by converting yard wastes to compost. Composting is easy to do and yields a manure-like, organic fertilizer/soil conditioner, which highly benefits Florida’s infertile native soils. Compost Tips for the Home Gardener:
- Buy a compost unit or build one from recycled wood pallets, concrete block, sturdy wire, etc. The minimum size should be 3’x3’x3′.
- Make successive, 12-inch-thick layers of plant waste — such as leaves, lawn clippings, shredded branches, and wood chips. Kitchen scraps may also be used.
- Animal (not pet) manure, finished compost, blood meal, or fertilizer can be added to each layer if desired.
- Moisten each layer and keep the pile moist.
- Turn the pile frequently to add oxygen and help the decomposition process.
- Depending on how intensively it is managed, compost should be ready for use in two to twelve months, when plant parts are decomposed.
- Cover the pile to keep rain from leaching nutrients from it.
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.