Gardening in SW Florida

Gardening in SW Florida

Southwest Florida vegetable gardening
Four year old pepper plant and a bucket of broccoli
Gardening in Southwest Florida can be a real joy and sometimes a challenge. I have not had a great deal of luck with tomatoes and my citrus takes a lot of attention, but some plants thrive. I use plastic buckets as planters for my vegetable garden. It allows me to control the soil and watering much better. In the adjacent photo there is a bucket of broccoli that I planted just over a week ago and it is going crazy. I bought seedlings at a local garden store. I filled the bucket with some mulch at the bottom for drainage and added part Miracle Grow garden soil and a cheap bag of top soil. The plants have simply exploded in growth and taken over the bucket.

Beside the broccoli, in the blue bucket is my old pepper plant. This plant is OLD! It is now in its forth season and still producing delicious green peppers. I had left it for dead several times but when I was about to pull it out and replant, a small pepper or white flower would convince me to give it another week or two. That has now extended over the years and I just want to see how long it will last. There are at least 4 nice size peppers on it now and several flowers. I just added another bucket of pepper plants because this simply can’t continue but maybe the company will help.

I built a frame of 2×4’s and covered it with shade cloth. That helps during the hottest part of summer and if we have a cool night (yes, there are times when we even flirt with a frost), it helps to regulate the cold air from settling on the plants and IF we have a minor frost, it is much harder to get to the plants. It’s just a little bit but it’s enough. If we have a hard frost (the temp dipped to 29 a few years ago for a night), I have to bring the plants onto the lanai.

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