How to Start Your Own Garden in South Florida With Michael Madfis of Fort Lauderdale Vegetables | Clean Plate Charlie | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida

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How to Start Your Own Garden in South Florida With Michael Madfis of Fort Lauderdale Vegetables

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"If you already have a small garden and you've done some composting, you can pull out any old plants and maybe throw that into your compost for your next three months while you're also preparing those seedlings," says Madfis. "If you don't have compost, in Palm Beach there is SWA (Solid Waste Authority) and they have a solid waste material -- they even make it for free for people who live in Palm Beach. You can use that fortify your soil and get 20% or so of what you're going to need to fill it. It is very rich and it's a good way [to improve your soil], especially if you are working in the ground, you can have nematodes and this will just push those out because it's so rich."

As to the seeds, here's what Madfis recommends to begin germinating now, here in zone 10:

  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Collards
  • Eggplant
  • Peppers
  • Lima Beans
  • Mustard
  • Onions
  • Potatoes
  • Radish
  • Summer Squash
  • Tomatoes

What would a home garden be without tomatoes?

Begin the seeds indoors or on a patio. They don't need sun at this initial stage though they need to be wet down twice a day. Start them now and they should be ready to go into your newly -- and organically -- enriched soil by about September 15.

If prepping seedlings seems too hard -- or if yours fail (it happens) -- you can get trays from Fort Lauderdale Vegetables. It's about $30 for 72 seedlings and you can get a full tray of just one kind or order a mixed tray.

Of course, there's also the option of leaving the dirty business of growing veggies to the pros and buying locally.

Whether you need seedlings, full grown veggies, or just advice and guidance, you can contact Michael Madfis of Fort Lauderdale Vegetables by calling 954-854-8788, or emailing [email protected]. You can also follow Fort Lauderdale Vegetables on Facebook or Twitter. Visit

See also:

- Andrews Farm: New Urban Farm to Provide Cheap Organic Produce in Downtown Fort Lauderdale

- Fort Lauderdale Vegetables Expanding to 110 Tower in Downtown Fort Lauderdale

- Fort Lauderdale Vegetables' Michael Madfis: We Need a Food Policy Council

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Rebecca McBane is the arts and culture/food editor for New Times Broward-Palm Beach. She began her journalism career at the Sun Sentinel's community newspaper offshoot, Forum Publishing Group, where she worked as the editorial assistant and wrote monthly features as well as the weekly library and literature column, "Shelf Life." After a brief stint bumming around London's East End (for no conceivable reason, according to her poor mother), she returned to real life and South Florida to start at New Times as the editorial assistant in 2009. A native Floridian, Rebecca avoids the sun and beach at all costs and can most often be found in a well-air-conditioned space with the glow of a laptop on her face.
Contact: Rebecca McBane

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