I’ve been growing fresh vegetables in my backyard for years. Now I struggle to get food to grow.
We learn from experience and observation. Life is about change. If we are wise, we will go with the flow and not waste time with something we cannot change. I am applying this philosophy to my backyard vegetable garden.
Observation and Common Sense
One thing I have observed since I began gardening in Florida is that a lot of vegetables simply won’t grow here. Maybe I am doing something wrong, but I grew veggies fine in New Hampshire. I am not an inexperienced gardener, but vegetable gardening in this climate is obviously beyond my grasp.
It’s been two years. That is plenty of time to grow something well. I’ve built up the dirt with compost and fertilizer, watered like mad, and thwarted raccoon attacks on the plants. I’ve picked worms, loved the lady bugs, and sprayed off mites. My little raised bed garden has given me very little to eat in return.
With the exception of about three eggplants (total) and occasional small bell peppers, there is little food coming from the backyard.
Herbs Seem to Flourish
On the other hand, my observation is that many herbs do grow very nicely here. In fact, my parsley, basil, thyme, mint and fennel have lasted a very long time.
Herbs are hardy. When I first began growing parsley I lived in New Hampshire. The green stems would push up through the first snowfall, which amazed me. Deer used to help themselves to the lush green herb.
In Florida I have had the same parsley plants growing in my garden for over two years! Parsley not only survives the cold, it can take the heat and oppressive humidity.
It is depressing to put work into trying to grow decent tomatoes, squash, zucchini and root vegetables, only to watch them rot, wilt or end up too tiny to bother with.
How long do I keep trying, only to watch the plants produce nothing I can eat? I’m about over it.
Changes All Around
My life is always changing, and recently it went through another change. My youngest son has moved out. He’s nearly done with college and does online classes, so he went back to the northeast to live. Good for him. Wish I could afford to do the same. I did take a trip back to stay for a week, which was so nice.
My youngest son has always been a very picky eater. If I don’t make food he likes, he could literally go all day long without eating. So, I tended to make food he would eat. That type of food was very different from the type of food I eat. Now that he has moved out, I can concentrate on cooking for me only.
This is a very new idea and it will take a while for my brain to wrap around the concept. I’ve been cooking for my children for over 40 years! My way of cooking will be changing. Although I am not crazy about spending a lot of time in the kitchen, I am a very good cook. As an “almost vegetarian” meat is not my main focus. I love to cook soups, stews and one pot meals (using my Dutch oven) which are full of fresh vegetables.
Since I can’t grow all the vegetables I’d like to, I will concentrate on growing the herbs. I learned very late in life how much herbs can brighten the flavor of a meal. Now I can’t make anything without using herbs because it’s not worth eating.
Because my herbs will grow year round, I don’t have to spend time drying or freezing them. Sometimes I even get to collect their seeds. I still need to find a store that sells good fresh, organic vegetables. Publix is a good store, but as I have discovered, their produce is not the best.
I also have access to fresh citrus, which I should begin incorporating into my food as well. Both my lime tree and lemon tree are still growing, but the lime needs re-potting.
So I’m collecting recipes to make for myself and will concentrate more on eating healthy. The weather is much cooler now here in Florida, and I do get outside for walks as much as possible. My neighborhood is a boring place to walk, and there are no hills to get my heart pumping, but I do what I can.
(They Yacht is not mine. Photo taken at a nearby Marina.)