Back on September 30th, I wrote about planting our garden in SWFL…
72 days later and we are eating some of the freshest food you can eat – from garden to table – and it just doesn’t get any better than that. After weeding, watering, squishing caterpillars in between my fingers, and fretting over fungus on the cucumbers, we have begun the joyous and reverent process of harvesting and eating the precious food from our gardens.
This year we expanded our garden space with some additional raised-beds in sunny spots around the yard. And they have produced beautiful tomatoes, salad greens, peppers, and herbs. We’ve been grateful for a cooler than normal November to spark the growth of our cool-loving plants and are glad to have not have the freezes we had last year in early December!
We also tried out new water systems this year. We purchased two bucket drip irrigation kits from ECHO and are loving the simplicity and water-saving design of these gravity-feed bucket systems. In our salad garden bed we also experimented with moisture-holding gel crystals placed under the top layer of soil and then put upside down plastic jugs in the center of the garden to feed the water to the roots of the plants. Both these watering techniques have proved successful and are amazingly simple and easy to use.
There is a deep satisfaction in going out to the garden and picking beans, cucumbers, kale, or lettuce and bringing them in the kitchen to eat within the hour. The smells and tastes of fresh food is unequaled. Store-bought food just doesn’t have the same crispness, flavor, and joy of knowing you’ve achieved some level of self-sufficiency. Plus, getting anything to grow well in southwest Florida sand is a major accomplishment!
It’s only the beginning of our harvest, and we can’t wait to pick those first tomatoes from the vines in a few days…