Growing a vegetable garden in Florida presents a few challenges that are unique to the area. Sandy soil, heat, and wind are a few of the things that the Florida climate throws at tender vegetable plants. But you can still grow your own vegetables using raised garden beds.
Raised garden beds for vegetables allows for a lot of control over the elements that threaten to defeat the plants. The beds will also allow for more comfortable gardening and more produce being grown in a small space.
Read on to discover how you can grow a productive vegetable garden in Florida by using a raised bed.
Some people don’t see the point of having a garden in a box (as they are sometimes called) but it has many advantages.
It’s a good DIY project that can be built inexpensively using leftover or recycled lumber. Raised garden boxes are simple DIY projects that can be customized to fit your outdoor space. The raised garden boxes can be built to your exact specifications, and they will produce more food than a traditional in-ground garden.
The soil and plants are much easier to care for when they are inside of a contained area. Plus, plants grown in raised garden beds are less likely to be infested with pests or suffer from disease issues.
Tending to the vegetable plants is easier in a raised garden bed. Less stooping, bending, and kneeling, all of which are challenging for young and old alike. If you grow vegetable plants in an elevated wood planter, you can do all your garden chores while sitting down. The plants will be at eye level while you are seated, and your joints won’t be aching from the stress of standing or bending.
If you don’t want to build the raised beds from scratch, you can purchase raised bed garden kits made from wood or galvanized steel.
Raised garden beds allow you to amend the soil easier so you can change the barren sandy soil of Florida into rich, fertile, loamy soil that can support plant life. The amendments added to the soil inside the raised beds are contained so they won’t be washed away by heavy rainfall. The more fertile the soil, the more food you can grow.
Custom Garden Beds
Raised bed gardens can be customized to fit your needs and your landscape. Small outdoor spaces can still be productive with vertical garden planters and tiered raised beds that have 3-5 tiers.
Planting boxes with legs that raise the garden to your height prevent back strain and allows you to garden without bending over. Some of these raised bed kits create a garden that is self-watering to make growing your own vegetables easier than ever.
Whether you need a long growing bed or a short one, one that’s round, square, oblong, narrow, or tall, there’s a kit that will enable you to create a custom garden that is perfect for you.
A patio planting box kit will look nice on your patio and provide you with space to grow fresh vegetables and colorful flowers. Patio planting boxes come in a wide range of sizes, shapes, heights, and colors so they can be used as decorative outdoor items that are functional. Grow vegetables, herbs, and flowers right on your patio. There are even mobile patio planting box kits that make moving the garden as needed a simple task.
All raised garden bed kits come with easy-to-follow instructions that make assembly quick and easy.
Another concern Florida gardeners have is the threat of heavy rainfall and potential hurricanes No one wants to invest time and money in planting a garden if the elements are going to destroy it. A mobile garden can prevent damage from inclement weather and provide you with a harvest of fresh vegetables.
Raised bed gardens on wheels can be moved to a safe location when bad weather is in the forecast. Mobile elevated planters made from wood or galvanized steel can be safely moved without disturbing the plants. The bottom wheels make moving the raised bed as easy as pushing a shopping cart.
Mobile raised beds are also ideal for areas that are not in full sun. Most all food-producing plants will need 6-8 hours of direct sunlight to be productive. Not all landscapes have one location that receives that many hours of direct sunlight each day. Being able to move the raised bed around in the landscape for maximum sun exposure will help a garden thrive. This is a perfect solution for shady yards or covered patios.
Florida air is humid and salty so the building materials for a raised garden bed must be selected carefully. An inexpensive raised garden bed idea is to use recycled concrete blocks or brick to create DIY planter boxes. The concrete or brick material will hold up to the elements, but the garden will not be mobile.
Galvanized steel will stand up to the Florida elements and can be used in a DIY garden project or you can purchase pre-made galvanized planters.
If you prefer wood to create raised garden boxes (or purchase them ready-made) use cedar or cypress wood. Both types of wood are hard and will for a few years in the Florida climate.
Whichever type of building material you use or purchase, make sure there are plenty of drainage holes in the bottom of the planter. The excess water from heavy rainfall must drain out of the planter boxes quickly so the vegetable plants won’t drown.
Building materials or kits can be purchased from any place that sells raised garden bed supplies.
Create Fertile Soil
If the raised garden bed for vegetables will be bottomless and placed directly on the ground, cover the sandy soil with cardboard before adding good soil. The cardboard will prevent weed growth and smother out any pests that may be living in the sandy soil. Several layers of newspaper can also be used instead of cardboard but be sure to use the black and white print paper only.
Create a fertile growing medium that will enable your plants to thrive with a mixture of potting soil, compost, well-aged animal manure, gypsum, perlite, peat, and/or vermiculite. Not all of these soil amendments need to be used but minimally potting soil plus one other amendment should be used.
Potting soil is a mixture of several ingredients and will provide a basic growing medium for all types of plants. Many potting soils (also called garden soil) contain compost, plant food, and perlite to enrich the soil. Compost is decomposed organic matter that feeds the soil and perlite is small white pieces of volcanic glass. It resembles bits of styrofoam and improves soil aeration, drainage, and prevents compaction.
Create a growing medium that is 60% potting soil, 35% compost or animal manure for nutrition, and 5% perlite, gypsum, or vermiculite for drainage and aeration. Fill the raised planting beds with the mixture, moisten thoroughly, then plant seeds or seedlings.
Grow More Food
Raised planter boxes will allow you to grow more food than an in-ground garden. Because the soil content is created by you inside of the planters it’s very fertile and can feed more plants in a smaller space. Plants can be grown closer together and still receive plenty of nutrition and moisture to keep them thriving.
Succession planting is also easier in a raised bed vegetable garden. The Florida climate allows for fresh vegetables to be grown year-round in a raised bed. As soon as one crop is harvested, amend the soil by adding compost, then re-plant another crop.
Growing your own vegetables will help you reduce food costs and eat healthier using raised garden beds.