I enjoy veggie gardening as much as I enjoy going out on the trails or star-gazing… not only is gardening, planting things, good for the mind and body, but also for the soul.. Gardening gets you out into the fresh air working with the soil and plants getting your hands dirty. You become aware that the space around your house, your yard, the little patch on earth we call “ours” is home to many other forms of life besides ourselves. Problems become small.. issues go away quickly as you work and become one with the soil, with the earth and nature.
My garden this year (below) is handkerchief sized at 6′ x 6′ square.. don’t ask me how I got it square, I wasn’t trying LOL. I spaded the area out, removed the grass, and then added some amendments to it consisting of a couple of shovel fulls of Miracle Grow Gardening Soil and Osmocoat. In the background of the image you can see the Labyrinth. The big bushy plant is Lemon Grass used in my Thai cooking and tea on a hot day.
While the garden area is small it’s already produced several rounds of Simpson Elite lettuce and Georgia Collards. The tomatoes are still coming along with blooms. I have two heirloom varieties planted: Mortgage lifter, and Black krim I also planted a couple of Bonnie Select Hybrid Tomatoes which are not seen in the image as they are outside of the garden square proper (for another blog.) I also tried a new green this year, Burpee Senposai Hybrid. This is an awesome green that goes good in salads with the Simpson (or bib) Elite lettuce. The leaves are more sturdy and have a good flavor to them. You can also stir fry it!
Try adding fresh young Collard leaves to your salad. They add a spicy not quite bitter taste that is wonderful! I’ve planted another row Lettuce and Senposai since this photo for later on. I stagger my crops and rotate them. I have a few other things I’ve started from seed I won’t mention yet as they haven’t poked their heads up yet – I just got them started yesterday. Other things I have growing on the lanai are mint and sweet basil.. also good added to a salad.
SO.. If you are tired of “the same old thing” veggie wise, or tired of bagged veggies, consider growing your own. It’s healthier and you will know its Pedigree from your online seed research and choice to planting and nurturing to your plate, and YOU and your family will have grown it yourselves. It’s not difficult to do and it’s actually fun for everyone. If you want the kids to eat their veggies, get them involved in growing them! I know that works because growing up we kids worked and planted and did “pest patrol” on our own half acre garden. We ate all the things we grew and a few of them raw right there in the field. Overages I learned to Can and freeze or dry and sometimes we’d have so much overage we’d drive it around our Suncoast neighborhood in North Fort Myers and sell it from the back of the truck.
We loved being outside in the fresh air, exploring new things we’d see out among the corn tassels or twisty vines… What’s that caterpillar? that flying insect does it bite or sting? how does it move? We’d look them up in the books and increase our knowledge and it was FUN. So much fun and enjoyment that I continue to garden and grow things, and hunt critters out among the leaves – and I’m 50! Teach your kids to garden and explore the world and to ask questions and most importantly, have FUN! We can do this at any age… now go get some plants or seeds and start your Backyard Universe Adventure! Turn off the TV…
I recommend the following books on gardening:
Carrots Love Tomatoes: Secrets of Companion Planting
Florida Home Grown The Edible Landscape
Herbs and Spices for Florida Gardens
Online Seed Catalogs I love
Totally Tomatoes Vegetable Garden Seed
R.H. Shumway’s has a Beautiful paper catalog! and is online as well
The Cooks Garden