Watch My Food Grow ~ A South Florida Raised Vegetable Garden

Florida Backyard Raised Vegetable Garden

Best Herb Garden Ever

June 15th, 2014 by Lila Steinhoff

New Raised Garden Box

My garden keeps growing… pun intended.

I was given a new raised garden box for my birthday in February 2013. Now, my garden is three and a half times as big as when I started four years ago.

New Raised Garden Box



Sons Matt and Adam hatched the new box plan. Adam, his father-in-law and 3-year old grandson Graham built and delivered it.

building box

Building Box

Only Herbs

Since the box was fairly shallow (just eight inches deep), I decided to use it solely for herbs. It was a good idea. The herbs have been thriving in it. The box contains basil, cilantro, marjoram, arugula, parsley, sage, thyme, oregano and tarragon. In another area of the garden, there is rosemary, salad Burnett and fennel… lots of herbs!

herb box

Herb Box

Way Too Many Herbs

An issue with the herb garden that I had not anticipated is that most herbs grow like weeds!

I don’t have enough friends and relatives to use the amount of herbs produced in a 4-foot by 8-foot box. Just to keep the herbs under control, I have had to thin them regularly. I hated to do it, because, most often, the cuttings went into the compost pile.

What to Do? What to Do?

What can you do when you have so many herbs, you don’t know what to do? Give them away, of course!

Gardening partner Bill (Jacqie) Jackson sings in several local restaurants that serve fabulous food. He let the chefs know that there were fresh herbs available regularly from an organic garden, and the over-production problem was solved.

Cut, Wrap, Deliver

Transporting the herbs in good condition is not as difficult as it may seem. Bunches of herbs are cut an hour or so before they are delivered.  They are washed and laid on a thick, absorbent towel to dry.

Cut Herbs

Cut Herbs

Once dried, each bunch of herbs is laid on a dry paper towel. To keep them neatly bunched, the sides and bottom of the paper towel are folded around the herbs… sort of diapering-style… and the bunch is tied loosely with string.

securing cut herbs

Securing Cut Herbs

The herbs are placed in a container… a large bowl or a roomy grocery bag… so they can be transported without having them move around too much. That’s it.

bundled herbs

Bundled Herbs

Best part of all… put your face very close to the bag opening and inhale deeply. I guarantee, the scent of fresh herbs is better than any perfume you have ever smelled.

If this problem presents itself with your garden, get to know your local chefs and share the abundance. They will thank you.

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First Harvest of the Spring Season

April 24th, 2014 by Lila Steinhoff

Spring Garden

In South Florida, there are two growing seasons… the first begins in October and ends in February; the second begins toward the end of February and goes until about mid-June.

raised garden boxes

 Planted Raised Garden Boxes

B-I-G Bunch of Green Beans

The first of the produce has just come in. In the last two days, I picked three gallons!!! of green beans from just ten Blue Lake Green Bean plants. There were also tomatoes, long Italian eggplant and dark Black Beauty (or classic) eggplant.

green beans, tomatoes, eggplant

 Green Beans, Tomatoes, Eggplant

The bowl pictured here holds six quarts, and the basket holds one gallon. I filled the bowl with green beans twice. I picked nine Italian eggplant and one classic eggplant.

Prolific Production

I gave away two gallon bags of green beans yesterday, and cooked half of the remaining ones for supper tonight.

green beans

Green Beans

If they keep producing at this rate,  I will be canning green beans again this year.

I will have to find a few more recipes for eggplant, too, because none of the people I usually give my extra produce to likes eggplant.



And, there are going to be a whole lot more.


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Spring in Missouri

April 18th, 2014 by Lila Steinhoff

Flowers As Far and As High…

I spent a week in southeast Missouri at the beginning of April. The long, hard winter there delayed the spring plants just long enough for me to be there for the show. And it was glorious!

There were flowering Bradford pear trees, tulip trees, redbuds and a tree that looked like a pink waterfall. There were tulips, jonquils, forsythia, hyacinths and tiny blue grape-shaped flowers in the grass. My mother-in-law identified these as grape hyacinths.  Even the dandelions were bright and beautiful.

Enjoy the spring that I saw in the gallery of  pictures below.


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