Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Wide-row beds and other adventures in fall gardening

Wide-row vegetable beds

My wide-row method of planting is similar to Square-Foot gardening where seeds or plants are spaced so crops have room to grow, but little or no room for weeds. The trenches between the rows allow for good drainage and can be sized so that a larger crop has room to spread.

 Getting ready for fall planting. I size the beds and the trenches to suit the crops. In the upper left I have a small swale with a wire cage for a fall crop of cucumbers. In the background some Malabar Spinach and a trellis for some yard-long or asparagus beans. 

After the wide-row mounds have been created, then I pack the trenches with pine needles right up the the level of the planting surface. The two wide rows with bare soil have not yet been planted.
For more information and history on these methods, see
Wide row planting and trench composting in the vegetable garden
6 reasons to use pine needle mulch in edible gardens

Okra swales

I love that the blue curls, a native annual,
plants itself all over our yard.
This plant is on my Blueberry Hill.

Update on Blueberry Hill

Last fall I wrote about moving my blueberry bushes to Blueberry Hill. Well, I'm happy to report that the blueberries have done well and there was a good harvest even though they'd just been moved.  Other plants and animals have also moved onto this habitat/thicket.

Today, I spotted an Io Moth caterpillar munching on the blueberry leaves. In looking at the information on this moth, no one mentions blueberries as a larval food. As I've said many times, a real butterfly gardener cheers when her plants are being eaten by a caterpillar. For more information on this moth see this Featured Critter Profile from IFAS

Oooh! An Io Moth Caterpillar was working on my blueberries. It's a beautiful Caterpillar, but don't touch. Those stinging hairs can irritate your skin.

 Tropical sage: the most successful native wildflower in our yard!

I wrote about how tropical sage (Salvia coccinea) changed how I garden in Evolution of a Gardener.
Tropical sage often plants itself amongst my crops. Most of the time I let it grow to help attract pollinators. This summer it grew quite tall (almost 5') in the okra bed. The okra was so tall that we needed a stepladder to harvest it. Now it would be 20' tall, but it's swooping over so we can reach it from the ground. 
I've been hosting the gorgeous tropical sage all over my yard for years. When it planted itself in my original herb garden, I moved the herbs and build that garden into a butterfly and hummingbird haven since it's right outside the window where we eat our meals. But this is the first time I've seen a pink one in my yard. How cool!
Order your copy today!

Fall/winter edible gardening is the best season in Florida

Get started on the right foot, with everything you need to know in our book, "Organic Methods for Vegetable Gardening in Florida"

We cover all of Florida right down to Miami and have sorted the crops by plant family (not the alphabet) so when you rotate the crops between the beds, you'll have a better idea about what crops belong to which families.

I hope you're enjoying fall in your gardens and in our parks.

Green Gardening Matters,
Ginny Stibolt

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