January was a wonderful month in my backyard food garden. In south Florida, our gardens are producing most abundantly this time of year. Below are pictures of some of what I have been harvesting. This includes tomatoes. I have two kinds: regular tomatoes for eating fresh or canning, and Roma-type tomatoes that I use for making sauces and ketchup.
In the above picture, you can also see that I am harvesting cauliflower. Other things I am harvesting, but do not show in the picture are kale, collards, carrots and different types of herbs. The large orange fruit in the picture is a Seminole Pumpkin or Seminole Squash. This is the first time I have grown it and it is great. This particular plant is perfectly suited for our climate and is able to resist pests and diseases quite well. It is said to be a type of heirloom that was grown by the Seminole Indians in Florida. The first one I ate turned out to be the most delicious and sweet hard squash I have ever eaten and it would make a wonderful pumpkin or squash pie.
I have also been harvesting daikon, a large radish that is popular in Asian cooking. I have been using it as a replacement for potatoes in recipes. It is much lower in carbohydrates (sugar/starch) than potatoes and holds up to cooking very well. It is very easy to grow.
I also have edible flowers in my garden. Besides the squash blossoms, there are nasturtiums (see picture below). These are spicy and peppery. Wonderful to eat raw by themselves or in a salad.
Lastly, wanted to show you a picture of a new gardening technique I am using this year. Because I live in an area with dry sand for soil that does not hold water, I am not in an area that is prone to flooding and I am growing food during our dry season, I took out my raised beds and replaced them with sunken beds. This has worked much better for me than the raised bed and makes it much easier to water the plants where they need it most. Below is a picture of a trench I planted with bean seeds. I can water the entire row by placing the hose in one end of the trench and letting gravity do the rest. This concentrates the water directly where the plants are and prevents runoff.
Check back again to see what is new in my garden during February!