In South Florida you can grow Strawberries year-round, but when the weather cools off in the fall, it is a well time to start the new growing-seasons kitchen-garden; hence, when you see the birds flock together, it is a sure sign of a change in the weather.
If you are starting off your plants from seeds, it is a good habit to fertilize the seed-bed 2-3 weeks ahead. However, if you are starting from seedlings, you can mix in a small amount of fertilizers into the soil under the plant when you are planting it; consequently, you are making sure of it is precisely where it is needed: to make a fertile ground when the new roots are starting to grow. This will make a grand difference, especially for hungry plants like the Tomatoes.
If you are a new gardener, it is naturally to experiment some to get some experience; however, it is a good idea to have a practical goal in mind: for instance the herbs and vegetables you are using in the most in the kitchen. Here are some more hints that can be useful:
Herbs are expensive to buy, but takes only a small space to grow; in addition, they are surprisingly easy to grow (with “food” and water.) Although most of us do not have enough space to grow the year-round needs of carrots, we can perhaps make some with Garlic or Onions? Although, they need a 2-year cycle to make a product from seeds: to bypass that, you can instead start with a clove, or a small “onion-startling”. Nevertheless, with Scallions or Chives you have an almost instant gratification; where at the latter you constantly have to clip a “harvest” to force the plant to grow further: and to become a bigger size.
Moreover, if you like to use Parsley in your food, (good for cleaning your intestines,) do Not cut the top of your plant: only use the older leaves; then it will bloom in the second year, thereby making the whole area to a Parsley-area. Besides, it is an excellent ground-cover in a shady moist area.
On the other hand, if you have a sunny spot with a good drainage, you can make the top of a Pineapple (1-2 inches) to thrive; although with some extra watering during droughts. Just plant the fruit-part under the soil, water: and watch the leaves slowly starting to grow. Planted in a row: by the time they can make a low impenetrable (for dogs) fence around your kitchen-garden; although, the flower/fruit will not show up until in the second growing-season.
Anything within the Cabbage-family is an excellent health-choice, although its family-members making a “head” will take some extra resources to grow; for that reason, Kale or Brussels-sprout seeds might be an easier choice to make. Although, try to grow Book Choy, or Chinese cabbage, between November to January, (70-90 days to develop,) that has all the benefits from the “Leafy Green Vegetables” if you are trying to live healthy.
Furthermore, the same principal about “making a head” also applies to the many sorts of lettuce: Leaf-lettuce can be of use throughout its growing-period, while “head”-making lettuce from seeds, between September and January, takes a longer time to give a produce.
In addition, Baby-Spinach is easy to grow between October and January and only takes about 45-60 days to mature. But especially, do not forget the many Bell-Peppers: from sweet to hot! They are thankful to grow between August and Mars; (80-100 days to mature from seeds) thus, with enough water and fertilizers to sustain a healthy growth-development.
This, taken together with some beans and rice, (except for the Pineapple,) all we need now is Celery to make a hearty soup; they grow between October and January, and take about 115-125 days to fully mature. Although Celery-stalks take a longer time to develop, they bring out the flavors from all the other ingredients; like a true “Salt of the earth”: or a Bon Appetite in your own garden!
If you cannot find the start-ling’s or seeds you need at your local plant-supplier, it is easy to order online; try Park’s Seeds that has been around since 1868 to supply quality seeds; in addition to Burpee’s Seeds and Plants, or the specialized John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds: if you need an inspiration or just good information to get your ideas going.
Thus, if you only have a small patio within your growing-possibilities: you can still put a Potato in a bucket to see what happens. Make a hole with a scissor at the bottom of the bucket for drainage; fill it up with soil and plant a Potato on the side: one Potato-size deep; water; and then watch what is slowly going on: you created life!
Lastly, if you have a plant-growing question or any other plant-problem: e-mail your question to RitaGlantz@yahoo.com, or read my earlier articles about fertilizer-deficiencies and plant-maintenance. In addition, you can subscribe above to ensure upcoming articles about plant-news and information.