Carving Out a Florida Food Forest From the Palmettos: Possible?

I recently received a quite interesting question in my inbox relating to pine scrub food and Florida food forest planning: David, I recently found your books, bought and read the (ones) for Florida, and have handed them off to my home school children to get them started! We were blessed and got a great deal on some 15 acres – 3 is wetland – in St. Augustine surrounds. The uplands was cut and left to regrow about 30 years ago. I’m struggling with palmettos everywhere. I have a small tractor and have been bush hogging some – and now READ MORE

North Florida Coffee

I’ve written on growing coffee in North Florida before, and on my survival plant profile for coffee, Kakunka relates his own experience in the same area: I’m not the guy you met at Kanapaha, but I do live in the area, I’ve been growing coffee and tea here for a number of years. . . I try not to bring anything in the house, unless absolutely necessary . . . Extended periods of cold or super hard freezes. I cover up around freezing and a bit below. Occasionally, I’ll get some scorching from the cold. Of course, living next READ MORE

How to Grow Garlic in Florida

Laura has the hookup on how to grow garlic in Florida:   “I grow garlic successfully in the Florida Panhandle (zone 9a), and have heard of others growing it with good results in Central and even South Florida. Two major things to bear in mind for Florida garlic growing: 1. Variety selection is important. Creoles, softnecks, artichokes, and Turbans are more tolerant of our warm winters than most hardnecks or rocamboles. I usually grow Turbans (Shilla this year) in part because they harvest the earliest. I can have them fully cured before the humid, rainy summer weather starts. 2. READ MORE

Good Plants for South Florida

James on Instagram asks about good plants for South Florida:   “Hey Mr Good, I’ve been watching a lot of your YouTube videos and I really enjoy watching them and learn a lot. I live in south Florida and I was wondering if you had and spare tips or type of plants I should get and experiment with. I want to go to collage for horticulture and before I finish high school I would like to have a good amount of experience and you seem to be a very smart man. So let me know if you have any READ MORE

Florida Edible Wild Mushrooms

Seven years ago now I was on a serious mushroom-hunting kick and I posted my video on Florida edible wild mushrooms: August and September are good times to go hunting for mushrooms. And don’t forget to bring along some good mushroom hunting guides. I spent a lot of time reading and researching before I ate my first wild mushroom. Get to know the really easy ones first, then branch out from there. I still stay away from most gilled mushrooms. Except for this one, that is: It’s hard to misidentify a bright blue mushroom!

Low-Maintenance Landscape Plants for South Florida: Look for Edibles First!

I’ve been doing some research on plants as I work at my new landscaping job. The University of Florida is a good source for information on plants that work in warm climates. This publication on low-maintenance landscape plants for South Florida is better than I expected it would be, as it also contains a few fruit trees and a smattering of other edible species. If you’re going to be putting in landscaping, why not make your landscaping pay you back for your hard work? The front landscaping at my old place looked like normal landscaping, but most of it READ MORE

Growing Pigeon Peas in North Florida

Deborah recently commented on my pigeon pea survival profile page about her success in growing pigeon peas in North Florida: “I planted pigeon peas here in N. Florida (Gainesville) a few years ago. We had a mild winter that year, and both of them thrived and came back strong in the spring. They bloomed in late winter, early spring and gave me a great harvest. The next year, we were predicted to have a harsh winter, so I cut them back to about 2 feet and covered them with large pots stuffed full of leaves. Both survived and came READ MORE

Growing Coffee in Florida USDA Zone 9!

Growing coffee in Florida has always been considered a stretch. I managed it against a south-facing wall a little south of Gainesville, though only a single plant. I just got a comment from Alison Golwick sharing her success near Tampa, on this post from two years ago: “I am growing arabica coffee plants in Brandon Florida, a community just east of Tampa, Florida. It is zone 9b, I live on a ridge with a slight slope so planted the coffee plants along a south facing slope with an oak canopy. They get a little morning sun and some part READ MORE

Growing Seasons in Florida

What are the growing seasons in Florida? A transplanted Yankee writes: “We have purchased a house in central Florida,  and I was hoping you could give me a quick overview on the seasons in Florida.  I have read your books Totally Crazy Easy Florida Gardening and Create Your Own Florida Food Forest and am planning on starting a food forest.  But being from the north the seasons are confusing to me.” Good question. If you’re not used to Florida, it is confusing. You have to ignore what the seed packets say and learn to roll with the climate, otherwise you’re READ MORE

Growing Bananas or Plantains in Florida

Bananas and plantains are easy to grow in South Florida, moderately easy to grow in central Florida, and slower and harder to grow in North Florida due to freezing temperatures in winter. In the tropics, you can basically live on bananas and plantains. Ripe, they are sweet and delicious. Bananas are good off the stalk and ripe plantains are good fried, baked or roasted in a fire. If you pick bananas or plantains green, they can be peeled and boiled, added to stews, boiled and mashed into a porridge with sugar and spices or sliced and fried in oil. READ MORE