South Florida isn’t famous for devastatingly cold winters. Even so, temperatures can drop dramatically under the right weather conditions. Preparing your garden for the chill is better than leaving it vulnerable to the elements this season.
When a cold front blows through, your fresh fruits and valuable vegetables need special care. Luckily, maintaining a garden through the winter isn’t difficult; with the right knowledge, your precious greenery will thrive through any condition.
Grow Frost-Friendly Plants
Tropical flowers are sensitive to cold weather. Now is not the time to plant marigolds, rosemary, and other non-hardy vegetation. Instead, focus on frost-friendly plants that can withstand the chill.
For example, berries, Swiss chard, and parsley fare well during a light frost. You may also consider planting outdoor succulents this winter to fill your garden. Lily-of-the-valley and coral bells will also add a beautiful touch of color in an otherwise dreary season.
Harvest Your Veggies Now
While some South Floridians tend to their gardens for aesthetic reasons, others have more practical goals. Growing nutrient-rich vegetables in your own yard gives you access to a plethora of healthy vegan food options. However, not all veggies are freeze-proof; you need to harvest them before the chill sets in.
Bring your tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, and corn inside. Continue growing fragile herbs, like basil, indoors to keep them healthy. Also, clean and store your harvest according to best practices for their specific species; this way, you can extend the life of your fresh herbs and veggies.
Focus on Soil Nutrition
Maintaining a garden through the winter is all about soil nutrition. Sometimes, Florida experiences wet winters that help gardens flourish. However, some colder seasons bring dry weather that depletes the soil of its natural resources.
Add a thick layer of compost that your garden can draw from throughout the winter. Growing cover crops will create a warm barrier to protect more vulnerable plants. Also, surround root vegetables with mulch to trap heat and moisture. Now, your garden is ready for anything Mother Nature has in store.
Preparing for winter might not seem like a priority in South Florida, but it should be. Your garden is alive, and you’ve put a lot of time and effort into cultivating it. Protect your greenery from potential damage so that you can start fresh in spring.
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