As the weather makes its shift to cooler temperatures, it’s time to make a winter garden planting plan. Living in the paradise of Northwest Florida that we do, we are able to grow virtually year-round. Some of the plants that our neighbors to the north are able to grow thoughout their summer months such as broccoli, kale, bok choy, collards, mustard greens, carrots and lettuces can thrive in our somewhat mild winters.
When making your plan to start planting, you first must consider your soil. That is where all plants get all their nutrients. The soil in our region is somewhat sand-based and not ideal for growing. I have had great success with a raised garden bed system. This allows you to control the nutrient content in your soil. The combination of components I have had the greatest success with are top soil, mushroom compost and horse manure. This is a great combination of organic matter for plants to thrive. Some root vegetables such as carrots are kinda picky about the soil they where they are grown. They prefer unobstructed root growth. This being said it might require sifting of your soil to allow the roots to grow freely to a normal size and shape.
When planting kale, broccoli, bok choy, and other leafy vegetables, proper spacing can be crucial to a successful harvest. If plants are too close together as they grow they will not be able to receive the proper amounts of sunlight or water and root space. If you are planting from seed, the proper distance is listed on the package. If planting with plants bought at a store, six to eight inches is usually a good distance.
If you are planting from seeds, it is best to get them in the ground before the 2nd week of October. This will allow your plants to get firmly established before we start having really chilly nights.
With these few tips, regular maintenance (weeding) and the will to learn as you go, you will have a successful experience growing you own vegetables. Home gardening can give you the security of knowing where your food comes from while lessening your carbon foot print.
If you’d like to have a garden this winter, I’d be glad to get one started for you.
About the Author
Ric Kindle owner of “Grow your Garden”. Ric provide consulting and garden installation. If you would like a garden planted or consultation please contact Ric at 850-982-4466.