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.