Growing Your Own Fruit and Vegetable Harvest in Northeast
A Where to Start Fruit and Vegetable
Gardening Guide for North Florida, Jacksonville, St. Augustine and Its Surrounding Areas.
Lets just face the facts, fruit and vegetable gardening in
Northern Florida has its share of challenges, it can be overwhelming. Our seasons just seem backwards to
experienced gardeners from cooler climates ...YOU CAN GROW WHAT
IN DECEMBER? THAT'S A COOL SEASON CROP HERE???
Things that you may be used to growing in the heat of summer in a
more northern climate may be better off planted in the fall here, or maybe even split into two seasons and planted
in both spring and fall to avoid our brutal summer heat,
humidity and rains altogether. Tomato plants for example, will stop
producing flower buds during our hottest summer months, so
we grow two tomato crops here in North Florida. Without that
little bit of knowledge of North Florida gardening for tomato plants, you could quickly become disgusted with your results for edible landscaping here in
Add to the somewhat confusing calendar of
planting our seemingly never ending insect populations and you can easily come up with a recipe for
Typical rules just don't apply here, as I learned from a neighbor
myself after 15 years of successful gardening I decided to try my hand at my own fruit and vegetable garden
harvest, after all, my orange trees were doing great. Why not spinach and
broccoli, and blackberry's too? So of
course, being a bit of a book worm, off to the library I went.
Well, after my
very unsuccessful attempt at a vegetable garden I realized that those
books and helpful hints just weren't working for me. I realized that the reason the orange trees were doing great
was that the rest of the country can't grow oranges, so that book on Citrus plants was specifically for climates
similar to mine. The vegetable books I had picked to read were geared more for the rest of the country than our
subtropical Florida climate full of heat, humidity and best of all...bugs!
I had pretty much given up on growing fruit and vegetables myself, when
along came one of our typical Florida typhoon like storms in the middle of
summer. Well it blew my pergola over the 6 ft privacy fence and into a Holly tree between my neighbor's property
and mine. We both happened to be out inspecting the various storm damage at the same time and he gave me permission
to go into his backyard to better get at the tree to get the cloth cover from my pergola down, and I discovered he had a gorgeous
vegetable garden hidden behind that 6 ft wooden fence!
In true gardener fashion he was willing to tell me all about it. He had been raised on a North Florida farm and had spent most of his early life helping out
with the work load, as a
result of all that WORK on Dads farm, he hated gardening, got a degree and spent his life behind a desk. When
he retired his Doctor told him he needed to get some exercise and
suggested... you got it... gardening. So he reluctantly picked up a
hoe and started to dig, and of coarse you know how this is going to end, he found out he didn't hate gardening
after all, the tips and tricks he had learned on the farm as a boy quickly made his vegetable
garden a site to behold! I
learned allot from my neighbor, but the one that stuck with me is just because the book said so
doesn't mean its going to work for me here in St. Augustine!
Growing fruit and vegetables
here in the North Florida landscape can be a challenge, but just as I found
out from my new neighbor friend, with a little help from the locals, or
some books with the word 'Florida' in the title, growing your own fruit
and vegetable harvest from the garden can be a rewarding experience.
This site is for all of you who, like me, were intimidated by growing
your own edible landscape plants here in the Jacksonville, St.
Augustine area or who, like me, tried and failed and had to rethink your gardening ability. You know who you
are...you kept looking at your thumbs to see if for some reason they lost
their green color! Don't worry, you still have green thumbs, they just need a little Florida adjustment to get you
back up and growing.
So whether you're new to edible landscaping, a
northern transplant to Florida whose rules no longer apply, or
an experienced gardener with visions of baskets of goodies fresh from the garden, here is a little help along the way from me to you, our own little chat over the garden
fence when you need some help with your "garden's harvest".
Give it a try, or even a second try, you'll be glad you did!
Charlotte, S and J