Hey! Long time no see. Remember me? (think lunchtime at the library) Hope you and your family are doing well.
You've been bush hogging that property long enough. You're wise to want to put in a garden. If you still have chickens start saving the poo. It's a great garden fertilizer.
Check out feed stores and see what they have to offer in the way of started plants. You can check with your local extension office or stop in the one in Palmetto, at lunch time, or on your way home from work. You can get good ideas from them as to what you can start now or in the coming months.
They'll be able to give you good instructions as to how to incorporate the chicken poo into the garden. You can't use it directly on plants, it's too hot and will burn them.
If you still have chickens, or plan on getting more, you're going to want to either fence in the chickens or the garden. It would be better to fence the garden, as that would help keep out other critters as well. Chickens will tear up a garden real quick.
Tom MacCubbin is an extension agent with the Florida Cooperative Extension Service. He wrote a book titled "The Edible Landscape". I don't recall if it was that book or another one by him that has a month by month planting guide. Check at your local library for his books. If they don't have them they will either order them or get them on an inter library loan for you.
Here's a link to gardening in central Florida to help get you started. The vegetable gardening links are toward the bottom of the page. Be sure to click on the cold weather crops link. It shows a chart of some veggies you can plant from now till March.
Right now plant green beans and English peas from seed, and use collard, broccolli, and cauliflower starts. You can also plant Irish potatoes, beets and turnips.
Come May plant peanuts or another green manure crop in most of the garden. Blackeyed peas, yardlong beans and sweet potatoes are about the only things to grow thru the heat.
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