It's Time to Start Thinking “Garden”
I recently visited my mother who lives in sunny Florida, where they are blessed with the kind of weather that lets you grow flowers, plants and vegetables year around. It's always green Just being there in February makes you smile—to see palm trees and grass as soon as you de-plane. And check out the Spanish moss in the trees in the picture below.
One thing I always like to do when visiting is to make a trip to Harry P. Leu Gardens in Orlando. It is a beautiful property with many formal gardens and wallking paths and the restored original homestead house in all its glory.
Part of the gardens around the house includes a kitchen garden where I always get fresh ideas. This year I found myself enamoured with the Leu Kitchen Garden “Pallet” garden plantings. What a great idea to plant vegetables with fairly straight stems and shallow-ish root systems in between the wooden slats of a pallet. Lettuce greens are thought to be very successful, and I can see spinach, Swiss chard, kale—all happy using this method. I am also considering beets and carrots, planting then with appropriately loosened soil and then using the “seed tapes” that would seem pretty simple to lay out and cover.
You do have to prep the area in which you want the pallet garden to grow. The soil should be tilled and broken up and compost added. One of my biggest problems in my usual garden is the invasion of weed seeds and invasive grasses during the growing season. Those weed seeds are in the soil now, just waiting...It's impossible for me to keep up weed control by pulling or hoeing and I don't want to apply herbicides ever. So, this year, I am going to put down heavy black tarps in the areas I am designating for the pallets. I have at least 2and ½ months before I can plant in my zone. So, the black tarps will heat up during the day and destroy the weed seeds and developing plants. When I plant my intended seeds, the wood between the rows should prevent weeds between the rows. And if I plant the garden correctly, the plants will fill up the open rows, choking out weeds.
Well, that's my goal anyway for this part of the kitchen garden, otherwise to be known as my “pallet of vegetables” garden.