Composition with raw vegetables and wicker basketby Larry Williams, UF/IFAS Extension Agent

Vegetable gardening involves exercise and is a fun and educational outdoor activity for the whole family. So why not make it a New Year’s resolution?

Don’t know the difference between a turnip and a tulip, or are you an accomplished gardener who grows everything from asparagus to zucchini? Either way, there’s something new to learn.

Children can learn that what is sown will be reaped. They also can learn about sharing and teamwork, and that not all benefits from work come in the form of money.

You can learn about science and experience food’s origin in a garden. A child can discover the world of insects and learn that some are beneficial. Hopefully, they’ll learn to take care of the land and gain a skill they can share with their children.

Experienced gardeners can try to grow new things like Chinese cabbage, which tastes delicious raw or cooked. Or experiment, adding herbs such as lemon-balm, dill or chocolate mint, to the garden. Or, add color with annuals like marigolds, nasturtiums or ornamental kale.

Now is the time to begin planning.


What to start planting things? Follow these tips:

  • Choose a sunny location close to a water sources. Planting near the house makes it easier to care for the garden.
  • Have your soil tested. This takes the guesswork out of determining the amount and type of fertilizer necessary, as well as the amount of lime, if needed. Your University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences County Extension office can help.
  • Make a list of plants to grow. Choose vegetables you like, especially those recommended for North Florida, and order early to prevent delays. January is an excellent time to order seeds for your garden.


Begins January 15, 2015 on Thursday evenings for three weeks. Call 850-689-5850 or email to register. Cost is $30 per person or $45 per couple

This entry was posted in Annuals, Education, Extension, Extension Connection, General Gardening, Larry Williams' Articles, Organic farming, Seasonal, Small Farm Series, Vegetables and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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