T Nation

Who Grows a Fruit/Veg Garden?

Not vegetables but… my moon flower bush, (no I don’t know the proper name, they are native here) is certainly happy about the rain we have gotten.

And my yard smells like this bullshit. What was I thinking?


I’ve never grown anything but would like to start learning how to be a little more self sufficient. I’ve thought about this for a while but never taken action.

What’re some good things to try for the first time? Maybe it’s too late for things now, but I could plan for next year.

EDIT: I asked this same question in March of last year…1). time flies, holy cow, 2). I need to start doing things rather than talking about doing them, and 3). there goes that whole not really “being my best self” during the pandemic.

Here’s my answer!

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Ha, dude, I was just about to post here anyway. But yeah, I still say picking up something from the store and nurturing it from there is easier than starting from seed. Or basil, like Skyz said, in a windowsill bowl is pretty simple and easy to manage.

As a general update, I snapped some pics of the garden this morning. Doing so much better than same time last year, which feels really good.

I was still off with my timing a bit and didn’t get corn started this year, but everything else in here just really took off. Lettuce, kale, basil, thyme, carrots, bell peppers, celery, so many tomatoes, cucumbers taking over because I didn’t section them off well enough or setup a decent trellis.

The several bare squares are what I left open for kiddo’s girlfriend because she was still into planting. I told here to do whatever she felt like with them, turns out ‘whatever’ turned into nothing, so I eventually tossed in a couple pickling cucumbers to see how they do.

Same garden, posted upthread on July 9 2020, for comparison. Either I actually learned a little something or the winter cover crop was magic. Or both?!

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I just started planning for the fall and am focusing on container gardening (don’t want to mess up my small lawn).
I sowed some Okra seeds yesterday which supposedly grow very well in florida heat.
Also planning some red amaranth for leaves & grain.
Later I will be planting bush beans, everglades cherry tomatoes, lemongrass, purslane, kale & lettuce.
After seeing how much pumpkin can take over a yard, I have decided against that one for this year.

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They’ve grown like, I’m gonna say, 5 feet longer, which in square area becomes 60 sg.ft. in the past week and are taking over the neighbors garage.

Turns out planting hundreds of pumpkin vines (I found that out the other day) is completely insane, And the Spookly pumpkin books are cute but entirely unrealistic.

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This is like 1/4 of the available space in my backyard. Maybe If I get brave next year I will try and control them, but since I am a beginner I would rather not turn my backyard into a total jungle.

Me and the wife & kiddo were like “Oh, that will be cute. The neighborhood kids can come by and pick a pumpkin” , Kiddo figured he would make like a little Charlie Brown kool-aide stand type thing.

Now I’m thinking I’m gonna need my buddy’s skidsteer and might have to re-do the front yard next spring.

They’re the botanical version of a St. Bernard.


@Chris_Colucci Are you using the soil-less formula in your boxes? They look great btw.

I can’t remember if l mentioned it here, but those vertical greenhouses (saw on pinterest) really caught my eye. Anyone have personal knowledge of them?

PS @cyclonengineer - you should be able to go to either a county extension or university site and get a planting chart showing optimal times for various veggies throughout the year, for your specific zipcode.

Thanks, I found one from University of Florida that works well. Planting according to that. Have to wait until September here to start fall crops and even into November for kale.

I know the lemongrass, amaranth, and purslane can be planted now though as they are native to the tropics/sub-tropics.

Thanks. No soil-less stuff though. It’s only about a foot-high and filled with a mix of top soil, compost, and pre-made raised bed mix; top-dressed it at the start of this year with just some more pre-made raised bed mix and top soil.

Kale is good and you could try chard as well as spinach … I grew a bunch of chard and it is great in stir fries … pretty easy versatile green and should grow great in containers… Get deep enough containers and you could grow some beets if you’re into it

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Wife got me this as an early bday present

And I have okra coming up. Will thin once they get a bit bigger

May not have to thin as they grow up, rather than out.

Check every day and harvest, once they start making.
Otherwise they get tough as a boot.

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Ah, so this is what bolted lettuce looks like. Booo. I really thought it was just, like, growing tall for the sun or something. For four people in the house, having a salad or two every single day turned out to be a tall order. Um, no pun intended.

Pretty sure it was a ton of 90+ degree days just sending things crazy. Tomatoes, bell peppers, and cukes are trucking right along though.


Yea I have 2 and a half people (3yr old) and have about 8 heads scattered around the garden … luckily it’s a great companion crop for like everything and had low space needs

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So here’s today’s harvest:

Like the pumpkins, the beans were volunteers. The tomato plant is fighting for dear life. Not to be mistaken for Deer life.

They started, oddly enough, trying to find cheap ammo for a sling shot. Turns out Pinto beans are cheap, convenient, and will germinate all over the place. Pretty much everywhere we shot.

And the pumpkins:

This one is about 12 inches across right now. Just snuck up and grew like crazy on us.

And a bunch more that are like hand full or apple sized right now.

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Looks like great jack o lantern material come fall.
Do you know what type of pumpkins they are?

My pumpkins vine are just starting to germinate, getting a ton of rain here in Florida lately (multiple storms per day).

I also have some Chaya, Serrano peppers and red amaranth growing now.

I don’t, other than to say “The ones from the grocery store” .

Or more accurately,

That one right there, between my kid and behind the baby.

We just left them there and that’s what popped up! :rofl:

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Oh, it just occurred to me, you can probably keep them growing long term being closer to the equator and with no killing freeze. And you’re using an indigenous strain.

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Yeah, everything online says that’s possible except they may go slightly dormant in the heat of summer.