4-15-20

Gardening Made Simple
Let’s get outdoors

A hardy selection of vegetable plants are available for transplant at Nobles Greenhouse in Live Oak. -Photo by Jeffry Boatright

By Jeffry Boatright

With its pleasant temperatures and fresh vegetation, springtime usually escorts in an assortment of activities that we enjoy. While many things might be suspended or postponed this unusual year, gardening continues to thrive with seemingly more people embracing the idea of growing their own vegetables.


Too often we limit our thoughts of vegetable gardening to a dedicated half-acre plot that might be situated on a working farm. Traditional thought of gardening might even suggest that a garden should include every vegetable imaginable to suit our needs for the entire year. That is no longer the school of thought in our ever-changing society.

 


According to Lafayette County Agricultural Extension Agent Chris Vann, gardening is already the number one hobby in the United States, and people are now incorporating more vegetables into their gardening. Vann also recognizes the physical and mental benefits of gardening. “It gets you outdoors and it really is a healthy activity,” Vann emphasized.


While everyone might not have the tools and equipment or perhaps adequate space to grow what we consider a traditional garden, there are endless alternatives for even the most inexperienced to successfully produce vegetables for consumption.

 

Today’s vegetable gardeners have many options in planting, such as this EarthBox Gardening System on wheels from Nobles Greenhouse in Live Oak. -Photo by Jeffry Boatright

 


Chris Carter of Nobles Greenhouse in Live Oak noted several possibilities that are suitable for vegetable growers who might have minimal space or even mobility limitations. According to Carter, vegetable plants can be transplanted directly into the ground, but other options include flowerpots and larger planters.

 


Speaking with enthusiasm, Carter pointed out one of his personal-favorite options for growing vegetables, the EarthBox. These lightweight containers are made with polypropylene and are durable enough to provide several years of plant growth. Perhaps the most unique feature of the EarthBox is its self-watering system. It is a sub-irrigated planter, and because of the bottom water reservoir, less frequent watering is required.

 


Another advantage of using the EarthBox Gardening System is its mobility. Carter noted that conditions might call for moving plants to other locations, and with the attached wheels, the gardening system can be moved with ease. With little effort, growers can transport the EarthBox indoors, outdoors, or wherever growing conditions are better suited at the time.

 


Carter added that the EarthBox Gardening System is easy to set up and maintain. With a little potting mix, plants and water, even the least experienced growers can have vegetables within weeks.

 


Both Carter and Vann concur that gardening provides a sense of accomplishment. While it is a tradition for many, it can be an ideal venture for anyone, regardless of space, resources or experience.

 

Many growers still prefer traditional in-ground gardening. -Photo by Jeffry Boatright

 


Vann acknowledged the challenges of gardening in Florida, pointing out the persistent heat and pesky insects. However, he stressed the sense of accomplishment that can be found in gardening. “More people are planting gardens now and fresh picked vegetables simply taste better. They are more nutritious and you know what you’ve got,” Vann Stated.

 


According to Carter, we’re still in the window of time for setting out tomatoes, pepper plants, eggplants and squash. “We’re in a great place for vegetable gardening because we can almost have something growing year-around,” Carter also noted.

 


With a little planning, a second round of summer vegetables can be planted in late August or early September for extended availability of fresh summer vegetables, Carter added. Of course, lettuce, carrots, cabbage, kale and even cauliflower are possibilities for winter gardening.

 


In addition to traditional in-ground gardens and growing vegetables in planters and flowerpots, homeowners might also choose to incorporate vegetable plants into their landscape. While planting seed is certainly an option, growers can also purchase young plants that will yield harvest in a matter of weeks.

 


Nobles Greenhouse, which is located at 9248 129th Road, currently has a great selection of vegetable plants to choose from and they always have garden seed available. Flowerpots and the EarthBox Gardening Systems may also be purchased at Nobles Greenhouse.

 


Growing a garden has never been easier and the fruits of your labor have never been more worthwhile. Of course, it is up to the individual how healthy he or she chooses to prepare those healthy vegetables. For many of us, fried squash and eggplant remain a staple, along with tomato gravy on our rice.