While farmers in the north are readying themselves for big Summer harvests, it occurs to us that Summer means something very different to Florida farmers. We are told that it’s just too hot to grow many things here during the Summer months. Being the die-hards that we are, we intend to give it a go. Since this is our first summer, we realize things may not pan out the way we hope. Flexibility is key. Here is the initial plan:
The transition from winter crops to summer ones has begun in earnest. Realizing we will have shade only for one half-row, and partial shade for a couple more half-rows, we are mapping out what we want to grow in those areas. We will attempt to keep two stacks of kale, two of chard, and several of spinach under shade. The herbs will be maintained in partial shade.
Having had half a year to root themselves in, the very mature winter plants are difficult, if not impossible to remove from their containers without breakage (of planters and our backs alike). Our plan is to cut the nutrient/water supply to stacks of mature winter crops in full sun sections. Once dried,we will be able to disassemble the stacks more easily. When that is done, we will refill the planters with medium, and put in our summer seedlings.
We have already seeded Jubilee, Cherry, Roma, and Black Krim tomatoes. They are breaking ground and looking good. In fact, the Romas are fruiting already. We have quite a few California Wonder Bell Peppers beginning to flower, and more on the way. Lots of other peppers (Banana, Cayenne, Jalapeno, Serrano, and Habanero) will be going in as we pull what’s left of winter veggies.
We don’t know what will happen with the green beans as the heat sets in, but will continue to seed new rounds as long as they produce. We intend to experiment with squash, and possibly cucumbers. The idea is to plant sparsely, and let them spread out along the tops of the stacks. Whether this is a good idea remains to be seen.
We have purple tomatillo plants to put in. They are already beginning to produce in our seed area, and await a more permanent home on the farm proper. It should be a great summer for salsa and Pico de Gallo! If only it weren’t too warm to grow cilantro 😦
The Strawberries are still pulling strong…we are waiting for the other shoe to drop. The heat is going to get them; we just don’t know exactly when.
The size of the growing area at BerryStacks Farm will shrink for the summer, allowing us the time we need to prepare for arrival of the new strawberry plugs in mid September.
Our field produce man has assured us he can supply our farm store with plenty of delicious, fresh watermelons for the summer, and of course we will still carry our line of sauces and old fashioned soda pops.
While we are excited about learning what our hydroponic system will do during the hot months ahead, we look forward to the fall, when we can once again plant the beautiful lettuces and other green leafy vegetables we have grown to love.