South Florida new comer gardeners:Its the start of the Fall growing season.Its time to LEARN how to AVOID the most common garden mistakes”-Part II
- October 21, 2014
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HOWDY!! ! The fall growing season is HERE.. Are you ready???
How is your organic food garden doing???My garden is flourishing and bet it is doing better than yours!!!Just teasing you (lol).
I started prep last September .The climate change and the economy are adding extra challenges ,and more are quitting to attend two jobs while the main JOB of Keeping our BODY/MIND/SPIRIT in Optimal Health to be able to carry out the bread and butter jobs are being compromised.that’s why I am here to help you out solving garden mysteries and DRAMA!
Lets play dirt and GONE GARDENING!!!!!No one likes to admit doing a mistake. Big Ego is hear..have no fear!!
Tony is here to share with you my dear garden enthusiasts ,S.Florida Garden COMMON MISTAKE !
Avoid spending more money learning the EXPENSIVE way going it ALONE giving yourself the usual EXCUSE:I am going through the “Learning Curve!”
Well. I know a lot who have done so much damage to their body /mind/spirit working hard gardening the wrong way and ended up quitting prematurely!
Personally, I prefer to learn from my , and your ,mistakes .Believe me , I do garden mistakes too!I admit that I am not the PERFECT GARDENER!
The best way to LEARN with lesser pain and damages is to LISTEN ,Observe and Ask questions, when in doubt ask the experts as they say!!!
Here we go :
Gardening Mistake No. 1: Starting Out a productive garden without taking a first hand ORIENTATION Theory and Hands On GARDENING CLASS on growing own local food in S.Florida.
Know before you Grow I sum it up in a nut shell. Which veggies/herbs etc are in season , locally compatible with the Tropical agricultural zone ??It is Good to
Know before you Grow!
Welcome to South Florida garden : Now start learning the Tropical Language of productive gardening in the TROPICS.
Craving to grow UPNORTH cold zone fruits and vegetables like apples and kale ??? Switch gear , instead, to S.Florida Natives like CALALOO,COLLARDS vegetables , Papaya fruits and Cuban Oregano herbs!!!!We are not asking you to learn Spanish or Chinese, but rather simply to KNOW which are best to GROW !!To ask questions before you shoot and not the reverse! Check draught tolerant local native plants first!
Here in S.Florida gardening is different but NOT difficult! Simply open up your learning channels and be open minded to learn without much emphasis on the EGO side!!Best is to consult with a local harvest urban farmer near you.
It’s difficult to resist those tempting photos and web sites of self proclaimed “farmers” who preach such jargon of being TRAINED under such and such farmer “celebrities/gurus” swearing by PERMACULTURE and what have you to trap your wallet! Local farmers should present local certifications of Horticultural education for example: Certified Florida Master Gardeners are graduates from University of Florida Horticultural Extension Programs .They are a good source to consult LOCALLY!
Mistake number 2:. Planting too large a garden is a mistake that can place too heavy a BURDEN on YOUR BODY/MIND/SPIRIT AND OFFCOURSE wallet!
MEGA gardens lead to frustration and burnout. Instead , start SMALLat the RIGHT :LOCATION .LOCATION . LOCATION. For God’s sake do not plant a garden under a tree or in a flooding prone area or worse: Next to your animal farm ,letting loose chicken ,dogs and Horses harvest and trample on your vegies!!!
A better gardening strategy is to start small in the first year and plant only a few of your favorite veggies( I suggest you plant S.Florida natives and draught tolerant like everglades tomato, Florida Calalo Spinach ,papaya, collards ,Cuban oregano etc…). This will allow you more gardening success , less maintenance,and a greater feeling of accomplishment. In succeeding years, as practice builds your gardening skills, you can increase the size of your garden each planting season. Don,t forget to keep adding organic matter and garden amendments as you go like composted manures,blood meal etc..)
Gardening Mistake No. 3: Gardening in the SANDY and acidic , nematode infested ,depleted soil of your property!
Without good soil, no vegetable garden can thrive. Any preparation that the soil needs must be done before planting. Once those seeds begin to establish a root system, the soil cannot be disturbed without endangering the tender, young plants. The soil is best when prepared from COMPOSTED organic matter, composted permitted manure,mineral and nutritive rich organic ammendments like bone/bloodmeal etc..
Prepare the soil as early in SUMMER for the Fall growing season,using compost and organic matter plus necessary amendments as needed.. Let the soil rest for a little while then plant NITRIFICATION ground cover to boost the soil with nutrients such as Nitrogen. An example of nitrification plants: Sweat potatoes and beans!. Then you can plant your vegetable garden and watch it spring to life in the fall growing season starting October.
Gardening Mistake No. 4: The Use and abuse of Chemical pesticides and Fertilizers. I am not sure who is abusing who.???.Personally I switched to ORGANIC fertilizers such as Composted horse manure!!! I am not going to force you to do the same and your FREE choice will tell you which is best for you! Another reason why I switched to Organic fertilizers and Organic pesticides:
No one label will tell you when you buy your seedlings from a commercial nursery or garden center about what is in the SOIL and what has been sprayed at the plant??Think about it, how could the plant at the store survive in such a container enduring S.Florida excessive inclement weather with less maintenance??
The answer is the chemical fertilization of NPK 20-20-20.Your store bought plants are saturated with chemical fertilizers ,pesticides and God knows what of hormones and additives , to let them survive and endure a long shelf life at the garden store.You will start experiencing wilting and diseases once they are transformed into your backyard and suffer diseases which compels you to go back and buy more fertilizers and pesticides to “TREAT” the plant. A vicious cycle of spending more money!!!.I am here to tell you : Grow your own seeds and seedlings and save on the vicious cycle!
For example, all plants require nitrogen, and high-nitrogen fertilizer will produce vigorous top growth—which is what you want for leafy green vegetable . That same amount of nitrogen, however, will create such vigorous top growth that it can hold back ripening. Last but not least:
Recent studies have linked chemical fertilizers and pesticides to various kinds of cancers!!!Going and growing organic and spraying with organic pesticides like NEEM oil is the alternative!!!
Gardening Mistake No. 5: Xeriscaping and irrigation!
Plants need water to metabolize nutrients and grow, but different types of vegetable plants need different amounts of water. Too little water will cause plants to dry up and wilt. Once seriously wilted, most plants will not recover, even if watered, so do your best to keep your vegetable plants from wilting. Too much water can rot the root system, and only healthy roots can absorb nutrients from the soil and hold the plant upright. Once rot afflicts the root system, the plant is done for.
Most vegetable plants prefer a good, deep watering one to three times each week. If you water too shallowly, the roots will grow near the surface instead of downward to seek water.
If you don’t water your vegetable garden deeply and thoroughly, you might end up with shallow roots that cannot tolerate any drought at all.
My favorite watering system is Rain Water .One more thing you need in S.Florida when Gone Gardening: Learn more about Native plants .They are draught tolerant and require less maintenance. Remember that to plant the Right plant in the Right place. Meaning some plants that are water loving , plant them in areas prone to flooding and more watering accessability.
Gardening Mistake No. 6:Correct planting techniques-know how
Its not a rocket scientist high tech procedure to know how to launch a plant/seed/seedling into the soil.But use your common sense to avoid common mistakes of shallow or wrongful planting.KNow before you grow.In Florida the safest planting oerocedure of planting seeds is not direct into the soil but rather into a small container first .Most new comers from UP NORTH fall into the trap of planting directly into soil as if there is REALLY a GOOD SOIL (remember sandy and nematodes infesrted soil is the name of of the game !!).Still if you insist on planting direct into soil, then I suggest you follow the below suggestion:
In general, the larger the seed, the deeper it prefers to be planted. Seed packets offer information on the back about how deeply to plant the seeds. Pay attention to this information, because planting too deeply will cause seeds to fail to sprout or tire out the young seed sprout before it’s able to reach the surface and receive needed sunlight.
On the other hand, planting seeds at a too-shallow depth can cause the seed to dry out quickly and fail to sprout—or cause the young plant to dry out or fall over because of poor root growth. Some vegetable seeds, such as lettuce, actually need to be close enough to the soil surface that sunlight can touch them and trigger sprouting.
Gardening Mistake No 7: Planting Too Closely—and Not Thinning
If you plant your seeds or transplants too closely, you’ll create too much competition for the nutrients in sunlight, soil and water. Seed packet instructions include advice on plant spacing, but it’s tempting to ignore it because seeds seem so tiny when you’re planting a patch of bare soil. It’s difficult to imagine how much space the plants that sprout from those seeds will need once they start to grow.
Not every seed planted will germinate and not every sprout will survive, so it’s OK to plant seeds closer than the spacing needed by mature vegetable plants. It’s important to thin the patch or row when plants are a few inches tall, removing enough of the seedlings to make room for the remaining plants to grow. Many vegetable plant thinnings are edible — young carrots and greens are tender and delicious—so enjoy your thinnings in an early-spring salad. Vegetable plant thinnings also can be left on the soil around remaining plants to serve as light mulch.
Gardening Mistake No. 8: Letting Weeds Grow Unchecked.
The best time to pull a weeds is when they are tiny and the root system is small. Pulling weeds at that stage of growth won’t disrupt the roots of your vegetable plants.Another smart way to avoid weeds altogether is MULCH.
The longer you let a weed grow, the stronger a root system it will develop and the more nutrients it will steal from your vegetable plants. Keep weed growth to a minimum by mulching soil around your vegetable plants or disturbing the surface of the soil by regularly hoeing between your plants.
Gardening Mistake No. 9: Over mulching or is it Under mulching!!???
Mulch is a good thing, but too much of a good thing usually isn’t good.Sounds like a puzzle of the chicken and egg which one came first?? Using MULCH with organic matter—like straw, dry leaves or grass clippings—helps keep weeds from sprouting, retains moisture in the soil, keeps the root zone cool and provides nutrients for the plants as the mulch decays. One counter indication for over mulching is that both plants and mulch will be competing for NITROGEN. So learn how to mulch with BALANCE adding more organic nitrogen rich matter the more you add mulch..
A light mulch is fine after planting, but don’t mulch too deeply or seed sprouts might not be able to push through into the sunlight. To retain soil moisture and discourage weeds, gently add more mulch as the plants grow. After mulching, draw the mulch back 1 inch or so from the stems of the young plants so it doesn’t create too much heat as it decomposes or trap dampness against the stem and cause rot.
Take special care when using green mulches like fresh grass clippings, as these materials produce heat while decomposing, which can harm the plant and even kill it. Green mulches are very rich in nitrogen, which they release as they decompose. This nitrogen boost will fuel top growth in vegetable plants, which you might not desire.
Common gardening mistake number 10: Garden Ergonomics- body garden work positions abuse!
Learn how to use your body in a safe way while at the garden. Put on proper garden gear. Hydrate and most important:
Learn garden ERGONOMICS.
This is the MOST COMMITTED MISTAKE NO ONE WANTS TO HEAR!…
Most gardeners and farmers abuse their body lifting, pulling, pushing, shoveling etc…the wrong way.What is the RIGHT way? Come to attend my ongoing classes and ask me .I will let you know.I am a certified Florida MassageTherapist as well, and I specialize in”massaging my plants only”
A lot of gardening questions become common sense to a gardener after a few seasons of experience. There’s a lot to learn along the way. Thats why I got ONGOING GARDENING CLASSES!! When and where and how much??/Please click on the web site down below for a quick answer!Tell/bring a friend. Support a local farmer near you. Go GROW GREEN!
Happy gardening , with the compliments of ..
Your local Urban Farmer