Watch My Food Grow ~ A South Florida Raised Vegetable Garden

Florida Backyard Raised Vegetable Garden

Kara’s Palm City Backyard Vegetable Garden

April 6th, 2009 by Matthew Steinhoff

Kara's Garden

Truth be told, I’m not much of a farmer. Fortunately, I didn’t know any vegetable gardeners better than me in South Florida when I started this project. So, I was secure, if naive, in my pursuit.

A few weeks after starting my backyard vegetable garden, the future cousin-in-law of a friend, Kara, emailed about my garden. She had just gotten the renewed green itch.

Kara’s Garden

Here’s the big difference between the two of us… Kara knows what she is doing. And, on her five-acre homestead in Palm City, she has the space to grow. Kara’s Garden looks amazing. It’s huge and well-landscaped. While mine is a box of dirt, hers has presence.

You really need to check out the late March garden update to get a feel for the size and variety of her backyard vegetable garden.

Kara's Lettuce Bed in late March.

Make sure to check out Kara’s garden. Not only does she have a better vegetable garden, she updates her blog more often, too. If she had live video from her garden, I’d be out of business.

—Farmer Matt

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8 responses so far ↓

  • I assume you noticed the marigolds around the edge of Kara’s garden. I told you they were in gardens everywhere when I was growing up. I know you are skeptical, but even if they don’t keep bugs away, I LOVE marigolds.

  • She has it ALL going on. Marigolds are the BEST border plantings and DIVIDER plantings. They are bright and the bugs HATE them. Also, once you plant marigolds, you never have to get anymore. Pinch off the old marigold flowers and put them in a cup or pot, in a shed, garage, whatever. Whenever you need new marigold seeds, pull out an old dried flower and split the base of the bloom open – it is CHOCK FULL of marigold seeds – and, away you go….. πŸ™‚

    Her garden spot is the bomb! – how pretty! with the rocks, and layout. Matt, you need to let your inner artist (or Malcolm’s or Sarah’s inner artist) come out for the next planting. How’s about a garden shaped like a boat – with wonderful and viney things (morning glories? or pole beans?) growing up the mast and helm, and the watermelon coming out the portholes…….or, it could be a train – with different car colors and shapes for each planting bed. NOW that you KNOW you have a green thumb – liven it up! Sarah can bedazzle it for you!

  • AWWW! You are so sweet- thanks for the spotlight!! Not sure I know what I’m doing yet, but I do know I have dorkified myself in researching all kinds of stuff!

    Marigolds are a girl (or guy, whatever)’s best friend! They run off those pesky root knot nematodes because they’re so stinky. And mjp- you’re totally right, once you have some you’re set for life because every little flower is just a mess of seeds with colorful ‘wings’ hanging out to make the flower. Each flower head has about 50 seeds in it. Carl is actually afraid they’ll take over the yard. BUT- make sure you get FRENCH MARIGOLDS not any other kind. The ones with the big blossoms, the multi colored ones, the ones that look like daisies- they don’t work! I also have scallions growing in between the marigolds. They’re stinky too, and they run off all kinds of nasty bugs.
    Matt- I gotta tell you, I would totally have a live web cam, but Carl is a true country boy and sometimes, ahem, avoids wasting water if you know what I mean. I’d sure hate to scare off any faint of heart, so you’re safe with your live shots! πŸ™‚

    • It is funny you mentioned Carl’s need to be free… My four-year-old runs around naked in the backyard all the time. I’m sure one of these days a three-letter agency is going to send the swat team to my house to inquire about my broadcasting of child pornography. Until then, however, I’ll keep the camera broadcasting.

      Raccoon Protection Juice

      One more story… My former boss had a raccoon problem in his backyard. The raccoons kept ending up in his pool. He got a tip from a neighbor that if you relieved yourself around (but not *in*) the edges of your pool deck, the raccoons wouldn’t get near the pool. He was doubtful but gave it a try. Sure enough, after a week or so of ‘securing the perimeter’ he no longer found raccoons in the pool or their droppings on the deck.

      His two young daughters (three and five) wanted to help, too. So, now they keep a cup in their bathroom to collect raccoon protection juice. They happily carry their cups outside and water the deck.

      Better Than Marigolds?

      Except that I eventually want to eat the stuff in my garden, I wonder if something similar would work to keep out nematodes and other pests?

      —Farmer Matt

  • Farmer Matt,
    tsk…tsk….my friend.

    After looking at Kara’s garden site I think the only honorable thing for you to do is pull up your plants by the roots and apologize to the rich dark dirt.

    Or to put it another way, let me tip my hat to Truman Capote…”That’s not writing, that’s typing.”

    I do enjoy your LIVE camera Matt, let’s hope Kara doesn’t string one up in her garden.

    And while I’m ranting on you, Kara does seem to be more prolific in adding to her blog….hint hint.

    • Well, SLM, Kara has a larger garden. That larger garden provides her with more topics on which to write. If I had a garden her size, I’d have stuff to say, too.

      Oh, that’s a lie. She’s just better at this than I am. I’m sorry.

      The broccoli harvest is in. I took some pictures this afternoon. Standby for an update this week. Also, check your mailbox for a crate of broccoli.

      —Farmer Matt

  • Raccoon Protection Juice? Great, now I’ll never get him to use the facilities indoors! πŸ™‚

  • I love vegetable gardens and am currently attempting to have one at home. Liked the colorful mix of vegetables and the smell of freshness and the smell of newly dug earth.