Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Florida Vegetable Garden Tips: Germinating Heirloom Seeds

Why grow a vegetable garden?  The benefits are endless.  First, you get the satisfaction of raising your own food and saving money.  Second, you gain better health by getting outdoors and taking in sunshine on a daily basis.  Third, it helps your mental well being and makes you happier.

I have a beautiful variety of flowers and trees in my yard.  I can grow just about anything, with the exception of edible plants.  Since, my health is not as it was 10 years ago, I can not get out on a daily basis to weed and do bug control like I used to do in years past.  So, my family has graciously volunteered to help me still have the enjoyment of a garden though the majority of the labor is their own and not so much mine.

We have been working at growing an organic vegetable garden now in our Central Florida backyard for the last three years with no success.  We have either encountered bugs, heat or excessive rain that has killed our plants.  We are not the type to give up trying, so we patiently keep looking for ideas and ways to overcome these obstacles.
We have used the layered method of newspaper and soil and put the seeds right into the ground.  That did okay and the plants grew to about two feet and then died for no apparent reason.
We tried the square foot gardening and the same thing happens.  The plants grow to a certain height and then die.  If they get to grow to any substantial height the next attack is from the bugs.
So, this year we are trying the bag method.  We bought those Walmart reusable bags that are about 2 feet tall and will fill them with the prepared potting soil mixture you see below.  I got the mixture from reading different sites and combining all the suggestions into one mixture.
Here is what we are using this year.
  • horse manure dried and then about 2 cups per bag (remember the last post I did about finding a local farm for stuff you need)
  • compost (did my own)
  • vegetable potting soil (miracle grow or other organic mix)
  • Jiffy seed starting mix
  • Peat pots
  • vermiculite
  • coffee grounds (takes a few weeks to release the nutrients in the soil)
  • egg shells (crush into a powder)
  • heirloom seeds (soak for 3 days as in the picture below)
I'm just beginning and have the seeds germinating in the containers you see below.  They will soak for 3 days in the dark and warm room off my kitchen.  Once, they sprout I will transplant them to their own small peat pot.  I am using all heirloom seeds so they are all GMO or pesticide free.  Follow the directions on the pots for moving the plants outdoors before putting them in the ground. 
To find out how to grow a vegetable garden in Florida or your state visit the local University Website and follow the growing guide for your area and county.  For more information on sprouting seeds check out Hallmark's Home & Family garden expert, Shirley Bovshow.

As soon as they sprout I'll take more pictures and show you the progress as I go along in my planting stages.  I also have potato seeds drying and will plant those in a few more weeks.  If all goes well we will have enough vegetables for our family for the next few years.  We will also share the left overs with our friends!
 I hope you will give it a try and start your own vegetable garden with us.  You'll save lots of money growing your own organic food as well as improve your overall health.


katiecupcakes said...

I wish I had a backyard to have a garden! It's something I miss about living in the suburbs!

Holly said...

I also really miss having a backyard! I seem to have a bad track record with my indoor plants (I'm getting better!) but I'd really like to have a garden, yours is beautiful!

Melissa at bubbyandbean.com said...

Good luck with your garden this year! We live in a more urban setting and don't have a yard, but we do grow vegetables in containers and raised beds. I can't wait for the weather to warm up enough to get started.

Natalia Khon said...

Good for you that you are not giving up! Good luck!

2justByou said...

I've tried to garden, but I'm just not good at it.

La Vie En May said...

I've always wanted to grow a garden, but I think I'm too lazy to keep up with it. Good luck to you though!

Kristin Aquariann said...

Nice! Ogre keeps daydreaming about growing our own garden.

The Art Bug said...

Oh I miss gardening so much!!! Forget a big yard...here in Singapore even a small balcony would have been a blessing:)Good luck with the projects, they taste of home grown can't match anything:)

Shirley Bovshow "EdenMaker" said...

Thanks for the shout out on Pinterest. You have a nice blog with some friendly supporters here.

For food growing tips, watch Home & Family on Hallmark, visit my blog, FoodieGardener.com and EdenMakers.com

Keep on growing!
Shirley Bovshow

Marsha said...

Today I'm putting the seeds in the seed starter soil. I'll be doing a blog post just as soon as they sprout!