Our Garden Vegetables


Our garden vegetables generally go into savory dinner recipes, and are generally annual plants. In our zone 9a/9b central Florida climate, we're able to grow many vegetables year-round.

^ Bean

We grow Chinese Red Noodle Yardlong Beans which are actually in the cowpea family adapted to subtropical/tropical climates. They are not as vigorous as other cowpea varieties so we plant more for the same yield. They are delicious, though, and free from most problems, and convenient for harvest. September 1 is the latest planting time since they don't grow in cool/cold weather.

^ Corn

^ Cowpea

^ Eggplant

^ Ground Cherry

^ Muskmelon

^ Onion

^ Pepper

Capsicum chinense: As of 2017 we've tried the Aji Dulce variety but we will be trying hot and large/sweet varieties soon. This species thrives as large perennial in our 9a/9b central Florida climate, in stark contrast to Capsicum annuum.

Capsicum annuum: Sweet Marconi & Pimiento devastated by leaf spot when a dozen planted together in fresh Z1SE hugelbed in fall 2017 with limited sunlight. They did better separated in tree guilds. Nardello did better in Z1NE hugelbed. Pablano does better in tree guilds too.

^ Squash/Gourd

Our spaghetti squash plants make two to three small fruit on about a quart of compost. The usual variation with garden location applies. We expect fruit 3 months after planting. September 1 is the latest planting time here. We pick them while white to cut up the whole squash and wait until they are yellow to scoop out the spaghetti, and to save seeds.

If conditions are not just right zucchini plants won't produce a single fruit here. Conditions are marginal if the leaves fail to reach 8 to 10 in. across before they start flowering. If the leaves reach beyond 12 in., conditions are right. We get 8 hours direct sun at most, usually 6, so water, compost, and bug control have to be just right. We get fruit 3 months after transplanting. September 1 is the latest planting time here. Zucchini needs probably a gallon of compost to make a couple of fruit, and 5 gallons of water per week, with heavy mulch. Pickleworm can destroy every fruit in late spring. We have to inspect them every couple of days for eggs and pick them off. We eat the closed male flowers and leaf stems. If conditions are right, fruit is available for several months.

^ Tomato

So far we've had best results with Black Krim and Hidalgo Cherry. For a gallon of compost we expect to get 3 Black Krim fruit per plant. For both varieties we get fruit 3 months after planting, and September 1 is the latest planting time.
Black Krim is by farm the best-tasting savory tomato we've had. But they spit at the top and get wormy or rotten, so we pick them early, after turning pink on the bottom but before the splits at top reach 1/2", and ripen them in the kitchen window sun.
^ Watermelon

^ Arugula

^ Basil

^ Celery

Utah celery grows well here in winter. Seeds start easy but take 4 months to be ready for planting. We space them 10 inches apart in fertile soil and with plenty of water, and misting to keep them cool in full sun. We suspect partial shade is very beneficial, and vital in summer. We pick the side suckers from each plant.

^ Cilantro

^ Collard

^ Dill

^ Lettuce

We found Anuenue lettuce to be least bitter, even when going to seed. It can be grown year-round here, slower to grow and requiring maximum sun in winter, and requiring shade in summer. We sow direct in bare soil with lots of compost mixed in, and water it daily, adding pleny of urea water. It's very important to thin the plants to six inch spacing minimum. For continuous harvest we plant a new bed every month.

^ Oregano

^ Parsley

^ Swiss Chard

^ Spinach

^ Grape Leaves

^ Spiderwort

^ Wood Sorrel


Copyright (c) 2005, 2006, 2007 Robert Drury
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