Planning An Edible Garden In A Harsh Area

I live in sunny south Florida where it is beautiful almost all year long. However, I also live on a sand ridge where not much grows other than scrub oaks, palms and pines. Growing anything is challenging, but even with the harsh conditions that I am facing; it is still viable to grow an edible garden. Here’s the plan.

Using native fruit trees, some that can deal with the sand and others that require some form of soil to be brought in, I am planning a total of 15 trees ranging from apples to oranges, and even some more exotics like pomegranates and mangos. There is even a cherry tree on the list. I have comprised a list of trees that do not require a cold snap or good freeze to produce and therefore should be able to be harvested most of the year.

There are also a few bushes planned to produce blackberries, blueberries and a few other types of vegetation. Again soil will need to be put in the areas where these bushes are to be planted to provide the needed nutrients for the plants to flourish.

All other vegetation will be in raised gardens throughout the yard. This helps prevent wildlife such as turtles and rabbits from eating all the crops. It will also help keep my own pets, such as my dogs, from destroying what I’ve worked so hard to complete. Of course more top soil will be needed for the garden beds, but there is one final step to complete the garden.

After tons of research, I have found a type of grass that is low maintenance and can grow in the sand. With the costs of bringing in top soil for the trees, bushes and raised beds, sticking with grass that can grow in the sand will not only reduce costs, but also provide a more sustaining garden. Even though there is only a small amount of grass area needing coverage, the less upkeep needed the better.

Even with the harsh conditions someone has to face living in south Florida in the middle of sand, I will be able to enjoy an edible garden over the next couple years. Now imagine what the rest of the world could accomplish if we decided to stop growing lawns and started growing for tomorrow.

Author: Liz Karschner writes for SEPCO – Solar Electric Power Company’s blog and is active in the renewable energy and green movement in the US and Worldwide.

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