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Many people grow their own vegetables or fruit trees, but I think it would be good for everyone to grow at least one thing they can eat.
A vegetable and herb that can be easily grown in a container or landscape, even if there is no traditional crop. I would like to encourage everyone, both adults and children, to grow at least one plant that they can eat, and it is worth considering Swiss chard.
Chard, also known as chard, leafy beet or spinach, is easy to grow from seed. Chard has no fleshy roots like beets, and its large, bright leaves appear on fleshy petioles, which can vary in color depending on the variety.
Chard is usually found throughout Florida in gardens as a winter vegetable and summer main vegetable as it tolerates heat very well. Chard can be sown directly in the garden or grown as a transplant.
Plants should be grown at a distance of 6 to 12 inches and the leaves can be harvested 45 to 60 days after sowing the seeds. This vegetable can be grown anywhere, in a container, in a crop or in the landscape as an ornamental plant.
Some of the popular varieties are Bright Lights, which creates brightly colored foliage that can throw up the landscape, as well as Lucullus, Fordhook Giant, and Rhubarb, all of which create red leaves.
If Swiss chard doesn’t sound attractive, many herbs can be grown as well. Some of the plants I saw for sale at home are mint (including my favorite, chocolate mint), fennel, dill, oregano, thyme, and marjoram.
Vegetables can be grown in a variety of ways, such as in the ground, in troughs, in containers (including hanging baskets), and hydroponically. Regardless of which method you choose, you need enough light and water for good growth and fruit growing.
For fruit-bearing vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, etc.), be sure to choose a place where the sun is full and exposed to direct sunlight for at least six hours a day.
Vegetables grown for their foliage (eg chard, spinach, lettuce, kale, etc.) can be grown in full sun or partial shade. Bright Lights Swiss chard brings the most colorful foliage when grown in sunny places.
Plenty of water will also be needed for optimal plant growth. If you are going to grow Swiss chard in the ground, choose a good location near the house and water source to increase your chances of a successful harvest.
There is a saying, “The best fertilizer is a shade for the gardener,” so a place close to the house can increase the number of visits to plants.
For those interested in growing vegetables in a container, here are some things to keep in mind:
Choose a container that has good drainage and a potted mixture that empties quickly. Make sure there is a tray under the tank to help with watering. It is best to allow the potted mixture to dry slightly between waterings, rather than keeping it too wet. If you let the medium dry out too much (as I usually do), the tray will be there to hold the water and let the potted mixture absorb it and then finally the plant.
When growing vegetables in the ground, proper soil preparation is important. Our sandy soil will support the food web of healthy soil that is needed to produce healthy plants if there are desirable plants (other than weeds) that provide root secretions to the soil food web.
Existing plants, both in the soil and in containers, can be inoculated with groundwater as groundwater. When planting new vegetables, be sure to fill the planting hole with a few worm infusions. If you need more information on how to give life to the soil and grow nutritious foods, email me at email@example.com.
Although chard does not form a symbiotic relationship with mycorrhiza, most plants do, so the use of a liquid vaccine containing both beneficial bacteria and mycorrhiza would still be beneficial. In order to protect the soil microbes, soil disturbance (eg cultivation, etc.) should be kept to a minimum after the establishment of the soil food web.
When planting is complete, apply mulch (e.g., brown leaves, mini pine nuggets, etc.) to cover and protect the soil.
Hopefully growing edible plants will grab you so you want to grow more vegetables.
Remember: When gardening vegetables in Florida, it is important to plant different plants at the right time of year. That’s why vegetable gardening is so different here than the other 47 continental states. The good news is that the easiest way to do this right is to get a copy of the Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide. Find it at edis.ifas.ufl.edu.
On the sixth and seventh pages, there is a table listing each crop and the month in which it should be planted in northern, central, and southern Florida.
If you have never grown an edible plant before, or have had it for a while, why not start growing chard or herbs now. If you don’t have all the supplies, such as a pot, potted mix, seeds, or transplant, go to the garden center this weekend. There is nothing better than collecting the food and preparing it right away. You can enjoy delicious flavors and maximum nutrients.
Sally Scalera is an urban horticultural agent and master gardener coordinator at the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florida. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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This article was originally published on Florida Today: Growing edible plants can be fun and delicious