Originally posted by TCLynx on AGC, June 7, 2010
Location, Central Florida, USA
This time of year is so hard for us. I have trouble spending lots of time indoors but it is so hot out here now that simply stepping out the door causes a drenching sweat to break out.
Learning to garden in this climate is difficult. We are definitely not in the temperate climate that most garden books teach about gardening in. We are also not really in a tropical climate since we do get freezes in winter so long term or perennial tropical crops are not easy without a greenhouse for winter and it actually gets hotter here in summer than in some tropical places. So, to garden here one must learn a new gardening calender and some different methods.
I can’t claim to be an expert, I’m just trying lots of new things and hoping I learn enough of them that work more than once so I can figure out what really does work and what was just a happy accident. Some years I have great success and the next season similar methods might not do as well. I try to keep things rotating around the yard since we don’t have winter here to kill pests or diseases. I let the chickens and ducks help with the dirt gardens and weeding the garden beds I’m done with for a while.
The aquaponics is also a continuing learning experience. I’ve actually noticed that as the water has gotten really warm now, I’ve had to reduce the feed for the catfish a little and shift the feedings to only twice a day with an early morning feed and the other feed at dusk and totally skip the afternoon feeding. They just were not interested in eating during the heat of the day. My biggest challenge is finding useful plants to grow during the hottest part of the year. We of course got basil and okra growing and there are still lots of tomato plants in but as the heat/humidity gets extreme we are pulling out plants that get attached too much by pests. I have lots of banana, papaya and bamboo in the system to use up nutrients but those are not prolific plants as far as providing food. So if anyone has more ideas of food plants for the extreme heat of summer, please let me know. I have several other perennial plants going well in the AP system that do fine over summer (oregano, rosemary, artichoke, pineapple, aloe, barbados cherry and stevia.)
About the only really fast highly edible plant I have going at the moment is purslane. (I would normally also have sweet potatoes going but a bad weevil infestation last year has caused me to ban all sweet potato growing for a year on property.) There are a few other tropical plants that I’ve had recommended but we found that we didn’t much like malibar spinach or new zeland spinach. I do have jicama growing but it is not a fast crop and being a bean, it fixes nitrogen more than using it up.
So still in search of more greedy, heat loving, and fast growing food crops to add to my summer AP plantings.
Want Ideas quick as the tomatoes are giving up under the onslaught of stink bugs.