Why not get a little passive income from your garden this summer?
The hottest season is here, and many people set down their shovels and rakes to let the land relax until the fall. I don’t blame them, it’s hot, but there are several golden plants that you – yes, you! – can grow this summer that often take little input and can roll with Orlando’s climatic punches.
Plant #1 – Roselle
Roselle is a plant that was first grown to be eaten in Africa. It grows into a bush that produces flowers with modified calyx’s (like a strawberry) that make for an exotic looking fruit with an out-of-this-world sour taste. Also referred to as the Florida Cranberry, it can be used to make jam and adds flavor to boring salads. Roselle can be grown by direct seeding. However, starting the seeds in a pot and then planting them after the seed sprouts works as well. Roselle will become a large shrubby plant, so it’s better to plant it in an open area in the yard.
Plant #2 – Ginger
Ginger is a bright, slightly spicy herb used in all kinds of dishes from around the world. It can be brewed into tea, chopped and added to sauces, or blended into curries. It has a soothing effect on the stomach as well. It is a year-round herb that sprouts up during the warmer seasons and dies back during the cold ones (so not a great choice for our snowbirds out there). When the plant dies back in the cold, it is a good time to harvest the rhizome, which is the knobby underground part of the plant that is used for culinary purposes. Ginger will grow in partial shade, making it a winner for those with pre-historic oaks shading their lawn.
Plant #3 – Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a southern staple for good reason. They can be roasted, boiled, or mashed just like Irish potatoes (even though the two are not related). When harvested, they can be stored in warm temperatures and grow sweeter with time. Typically, people buy sweet potatoes as “slips” – small sprouts ranging from 3 to 8 inches. The slips are planted in the summer and take about four months to grow to maturity. Be sure to make a lot of room for the sweet potatoes to grow because sweet potato slips will vine across the ground and take over most of the soil given to them, choking out any other plants. Sweet potatoes love a steady flow of water throughout the summer, which can come from the summer rains, but you can water them during dry times. This crop is easy to grow and needs very little help during the season, making it a great selection for an easy summer garden.
Now you are three plants smarter than when you started reading this blog, and ready to create an awesome summer garden with a big harvest! The best part is that you barely have to do any work in the unbearable heat. For more summer gardening ideas, check out our gardening calendar for July: