One of the first thing you realize with gardening in Florida is the challenge the weather bring...this is even more intensified for vegetable gardening.
You see...there are really only two (and what some people may call short) seasons for growing vegetables in Orlando.
You have the Fall season (Sept - Dec) and you have the Spring Season (March - May).
You quickly realize that if you miss the beginning of the season by just a few weeks it can mean the difference between having a lot of "luck" and a bumper crop or the proverbial single $100.00 tomato.
So prepare......that is....right now focus on the basics: Light / Water / Soil
1) Pick a good location that is exposed to the Eastern or morning sun....the afternoon sun in Sept (and sometimes even October) is too intense for most tender veggies. 4-6 hours of direct sunlight will be sufficient. Gardening in containers can make this easy....just move them as needed!
2) Make sure you have a way to water consistently....and I mean consistently....not Saturday morning when you wake and are inspired to grow all of your own food organically and then again Thursday after work when you realize that you have been so busy you forgot the vegetable garden in the back yard.
I can't overemphasis watering consistently is key! This is where an automatic irrigation systems comes in handy....you know what they say: don't do anything yourself that a computer can do better.....the irrigation system doesn't forget...doesn't only water 1/2 the garden because their arm is tired....it just does its job...quietly and consistently. So, even here at Apenberry's...where we are here 12 hours a day 6 days a week...we choose to install a drip system to our raised beds (see photo below).
|The beginning stages of our drip irrigation system|
3) Soil....it can make all the difference...so invest wisely. I just read a magazine article on maintaining your soil and they compared it to your gardening "bank account" ....that is...you can't just make withdrawls...you have to deposit something every once in a while. Now is the time...get the best soil you can afford....and then spend a little more...it will pay dividends. See what we are trying here