Winter Gardening Results in Florida

The day was January 2, 2014. I stopped by a friends house after work to visit, and pick up some goodies he had for me. The temperature was 84 degrees. (if it makes you feel any better, as I write this, less than 24 hours later, it is about 48 degrees!)

My friend, Jim, putters around in his backyard growing food all year long. We trade tips, secrets, and personal observations to try to help each other achieve a better yield from our efforts. You can see from the photos below that he does a pretty good job at growing things….. on a 1/4 acre, in town.

Here is what I saw:

backyard garden
My friend’s backyard garden

 

backyard garden
Tomatoes….
…….in January

 

backyard garden
Basil

 

backyard garden
Pineapple plants

 

backyard garden
Bananas….in a backyard

 

backyard garden
Sugarcane…..
Press it for the juice, refine it, ferment it, distill it, and you have rum.

 

backyard garden
A Peach Tree
Yes, in Florida.
And yes, those are young peaches on it.

 

backyard garden
A Neem Tree
Neem is a wonder plant, full of all sorts of useful products.

 

backyard garden
Sugarcane and papaya

 

CAM02124
Ripe Papayas

 

backyard garden
Rosemary bush

 

 

 

As you can see, Jim doe just fine growing edibles in a backyard, in town. And while not everything he had was currently producing food, he is currently producing more tomatoes, peppers, basil, and Malabar spinach than he and his wife can consume. Luckily, I’m on his list of “extra” consumers, and I was given some of his excess.

Other things he has growing in his yard include moringa, dragon fruit, and one of my favorites, sweet potatoes.  He also have several rain barrels to help conserve water, as well as a compost bin and worm beds.

Not too shabby for a self-proclaimed city boy…

So if a city boy and a back-woods hillbilly can grow food in town, then surely you can do the same, even if you don’t live in Florida. Learn what grows well in your area, and also is something you like to eat, and figure out a way to grow it.

Then expand on that. If you only save $100 a year on your food bill, what price can you put on the self-confidence you are instilling in yourself, or the quality of food you are consuming from your own efforts?

 

Just saying…

 

Many thanks go out to my friend Jim for sharing his knowledge and time with me. Also even more thanks go out to his wife for allowing her husband to step outside of “normal” and use their city yard to grow food.

 

As they say, “Behind every good man is a better woman…”

 

Myself included.

 

Peace,
db

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11 comments:

  1. More than three inches of snow on the ground here in Morgantown, WV. Meanwhile in Florida, Darrell and Co. are putting out gardens.

    1. I’d trade you in a heartbeat, you know….with no frost here, we have nothing to kill the bugs off. And in order to go hunting, you need to put on some sort of bug repellent. Its just not right!

      But fresh fruit and vegetables from your yard in January is a nice consolation prize…

      Can’t wait for my coconut palms to start producing!

      :)

      I miss you, Brother!
      db

  2. That’s a very nice garden and I did not know that peaches would do that well here. I may have to plant a few trees.

    1. They are a particular variety that requires a low amount of chill hours. You can get them, as well as low chill apple trees that will do OK here, at Weatherbee Nursery in Ft. Pierce.

  3. Yes, January gardening in Fl is wonderful. I’m on the west coast and currently am harvesting Celebrity & Roma tomatoes with Everglades blooming (thank you)and Tasti Lee just getting going, yard long beans, snow peas, 2 kinds of lettuce, sweet & hot peppers, malabar spinach, 5 kinds of Asian greens, collards, rosemary, thyme, beet greens, flat leaf parsley, green onions, moringa, katuk, cranberry hibiscus and have zucchini, cucumbers & Jet Setter tomatoes ready to transplant. Our peach tree died after 2 years of small but really good peaches. We also have one each lemon, orange, lime, starfruit, grapefruit & calamondin trees producing their first crop of about 3 each. Our loquat tree grown 3 years from an 8″ transplant is covered with tiny fruit. We grow all this on a regular suburban plot with everything but the fruit trees, moringa, cranberry hibiscus & rosemary in containers (pots & Earth Boxes). Since almost everything is grown in the back both inside and outside the pool cage nobody but our next door neighbor is any the wiser. We also have four 55 gallon and one 250 gallon water barrels – they came really close to being out until last week and last night as it’s been really really dry.

    1. Wow! I should be taking lessons from YOU!

      I really want to get some katuk established, I love the taste! cranberry hibiscus as well. Being able to make a salad from trees I have growing is something that REALLY intrigues me…

      My loquats bloomed for the first time two weeks ago, and I’m excited about it!

      Thanks for the update!

      db

  4. We have two peach trees, one early and one late, DELISIOSO, buckets and buckets spread out between 3 months. Apples you need Anna and Dorset to pollinate. Got both. One is soft and one is crisp. Blueberries are a must,Rabbiteyes. Have db’s everglades in the greenhouse in a plant hanger w/berries on. Cool! Thank You…Find a “Surinam Cherry” tree for Florida cherry jam! Just started two Red Papayas in the greenhouse from fruit seeds that my mom gave me. WARNING…Don’t eat to much PAPAYA OR YOU will find out you took to much X-lax…And a favorite of mine…Wait for it……………………………………….Peppers and Eggplant grow all summer long in Florida…Link: type this in…Blue Kale road homemade sriracha I Can’t get enough…………….

    1. Blueberrries are also on my list of “To-Grow”, along with lots of other things….

      Summer is quite a challenge here…I find the sweet potatoes, Thai Yard Long Green Beans, and Everglades tomatoes all do very well in my yard…I LOVE plants that not only thrive on neglect, but also laugh in the face of the Florida Summer Sun.

      Thanks for the pointers!
      (Now to look at that Sriracha sauce recipe…we LOVE spice!)
      db

  5. pertaining to weather temperatures; we had 24-26 degrees over night when the weather hit us. I saw on your friends garden pictures he had a “Neem” tree. I would like to have more information about the the tree.

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