Organic, local, cheap.... which type of food is best? How about all three?
The picture above is a sweet pepper blossom from my garden. It was grown organically, from seed, about 20 feet from my back door. Organic, local, and cheap. It's even better though. Not only does it provide everything I want in my food, it also gives me exercise, and time outdoors with my kids.
My kids love our garden. We play in it and around it. They help take care of the "baby" plants, and learn about them in the process. My DD has been particularly fond of it. She has her own planting box that she takes care of that is filled with non toxic flowers, but the edibles are her favorite. She received the tomatoes in the above picture as a treat for good behavior - a treat she requested.
In the future we would like to grow most, if not all of our produce ourselves, but this year our garden is rather small, housing only our favorite vegetables and herbs, as well as a few bug repellent plants.
Organic gardening has been a learning process. I can't just pour some chemicals on the plants to make them grow faster/bigger, and I also can't kill off the bugs and weeds with chemicals either. Growing in Florida has been a blessing and a curse. We have a much longer warm season than most areas so I can wait for plants to mature and fudge a bit on the planting dates. Our heat also kills off some plant varieties though (hardy here means an ability to survive the heat rather than the cold), encourages weed growth, and gives us more prolific bugs than most other places. Most gardening books are geared toward more temperate areas than ours, so finding information can be difficult as well.
Here is a few things I have learned from gardening in Florida thus far;
- Very tender seedlings should not be planted in the ground before April, because freeze is still a possibility however remote.
- Try to get seedlings established before June, or the heat will kill them. If seedlings are not established by June they can still survive with careful tending and protection from the heat.
- Herbs that like full sun else where may need afternoon shade here.
- Strong barrier methods are the best protection from weeds, but in Florida weeds still manage to find a way through barriers. Weeding is a must in organic gardens.
There is more. There is much more to know about organic gardening in Florida. I, however, am a novice, and I am learning as I go. I do plan to keep notes on the progress of the garden though, and I will be posting those notes regularly.