Almost everyone has heard of plants as alternative fuel. There’s corn ethanol and switch grass waiting in the wings. Algae oil may even one day take the world by storm. However did you ever think of a vegetable garden as alternative fuel? Food IS the fuel for our body! What is more important than that? And with food being shipped hundreds to thousands of miles, growing some at home relieves the oil demand for stocking the grocer’s shelves. If you like experiments, you can even grow and press your own oil.
Vegetable gardening is not for everyone. It’s rewards can be sweet, but it can be full of pests and setbacks too. It’s best to start small and manageable. Small plots are easier to keep an eye on, will give you experience and successes will lead to bigger things. While our native soils are mostly poor in nutrients, they are blessed with good drainage. So with a little soil amending, raised beds, or even container gardening, you can quickly find yourself the proud owner of a growing cornucopia.
You can read the earlier blog post on starting transplants, to learn about what you can plant now. Something to think about first is what type of veg garden you want. Many people grow a traditional mixed garden of their favorite foods. There are alternatives though. Edible landscapes are for those who want food integrated into their regular flower and foliage landscape. You can also try growing lots of only one or two vegetables. Do you want to have an Heirloom Tomato Party Garden (1) (2)? Would you like to Plant A Row (or plant a plot) for the hungry? A happy gardener once explained why his garden was always filled with mustard greens. “I don’t really eat many mustards, but they grow so well, that I look like I know what I’m doing!”
If your mouth is watering for those tomatoes, here’s a good run down on getting started by Green World Path.
Here is a quick overview of a few of the worst vegetable pests, from a great veggie garden site for Central Florida.
St. Lucie County Extension, has compiled a one stop shop of publications on edibles.
This page explains many of the fall garden basics.
If you’d like to have local produce, but still aren’t sure about growing it yourself, explore Local Harvest for nearby producers.