Friday, May 31, 2013

From the Inbox: Raised bed questions and planting times

I got an e-mail a week and a half ago from Emily in Ft. Lauderdale... and I'm finally going to answer it today. (Sorry for the wait, Emily!):

"Hi David. Hope you're doing well ... I wanted to ask you a couple questions about the garden I built:
I had a 7x3" raised garden built in the patio. At the bottom of this email there's a link to where you can see a few pics I took of the garden this morning. Unfortunately, my roommate and I have both been so busy that it's been about 2 months and we have not planted anything yet. So it's been neglected--save for the pineapple top I planted a few days ago. I'm going to move it to a planter when I get more soil. Is it still OK to plant seeds even though the soil has not been watered regularly?

I have organic potting soil topped with cow manure top soil. We have a bag of wood chips to cover it once we plant the seeds. We also have a soaker hose snaked throughout the bed. We can only leave it on for a few minutes or else the bed gets super flooded. We do have a tarp underneath and cut holes in it so it does drain, just not as fast as the water comes in. Do you supposed that would be a problem?

I'm planning to plant zucchini, tomatoes, spinach, romaine lettuce, bell pepper, cucumber, cabbage and cauliflower. I also have another planter to plant herbs.  What do you think? Is it the right time of year to plant? Should I wait?

That's about it. 


Thanks for your help!"


Here are a few pictures Emily sent me of her bed:




Looking at this setup, I'm not sure you need a soaker hose. For a single bed, watering by hand every day or two ought to work well. It also gives you more interaction with your garden, which is a very good thing. Flooding the bed is okay, as long as it drains pretty quickly and doesn't stay soggy.

I can tell you this: that pineapple isn't going to be happy if the bed gets wet for too long. They tend to rot under those conditions. Moving it, like you plan to do, is a good idea.

"I'm planning to plant zucchini, tomatoes, spinach, romaine lettuce, bell pepper, cucumber, cabbage and cauliflower. I also have another planter to plant herbs.  What do you think? Is it the right time of year to plant? Should I wait?"

It's the right time to plant some of those things. Since you're in South Florida, you don't get the killer heat we do further north. Tomatoes should do quite well right now. Zucchini and cukes tend to suffer from diseases when the humidity of summer hits, so you'll want to keep them fertilized and growing fast so they can hopefully beat those things.

Bell peppers are tougher, but they also like the heat and are worth a try. I have much better success growing hot peppers - but they're definitely not as much fun to toss in a salad. Unless you toss them into someone else's salad.

Other things to grow in the heat include bush beans, corn, okra and yard-long beans (if you have a trellis for them to grow on).

You're going to have to wait for cooler weather to pull off spinach, lettuce, cabbage and cauliflower. Think November or so.

Many herbs are tough things that can take some abuse. Rosemary, sage and basil all don't mind the sun. Basil is really easy to grow from seed, too, which will save you buying a plant.

Another thing: I can't tell what your sun exposure looks like. Are you getting lots of blazing sun most of the day - or are you in half-shade most of the time like it appears in the pictures? If it's total, blasting sun, you may have some trouble. If it's too much shade, your tomatoes might not set fruit. In between? Perfect!

Thanks for the pictures - I hope this space gets you rolling. Leave me comments or send me questions whenever you like and I'll try to get to them faster than I did this time.

4 Comments:

At June 15, 2013 at 10:20 AM , Blogger Emily said...

Thank so much for the info! We have an awning over half the garden, couldn't escape that. The sun rises toward the left end of the bed so it does get a lot of sun. The shadow from the awning come into play later in the afternoon. Also, I randomly planted a mamey/sapote seed after I ate the fruit and I have a little sprout! Of course, mamey tree is massive so I may give it to my parents to plant in their back yard. I'll keep you posted!

 
At August 31, 2013 at 12:52 AM , Blogger lipsa herry said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At December 27, 2013 at 9:16 AM , Anonymous Awnings johannesburg said...

I randomly planted a mamey/sapote seed after I ate the fruit and I have a little sprout! Of course,

 
At February 28, 2014 at 10:13 AM , Anonymous Patio blinds said...

I can't tell what your sun exposure looks like.

 

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