What are the common mistakes of gardening in South Florida and what are the Common Sense Solutions?

Common S.Florida Productive Gardening Mistakes:

0. Starting a garden without taking a gardening class or without consulting a local educated/experienced farmer near you

1. Convenience: Rushing to the convenient garden center to BUY/Choosing READY TO GO unhealthy plants saturated with 20-20-20 .Not starting plants from seeds at own backyard.

2. Ignorance: Planting it alone, using wrong plants for the wrong season /wrong Agri Zone environment /planting in Sandy Depleted soil/ planting in Wrong location.

3. Negligence :Failing Monitor / maintain the productive garden , mainly by continuously NOT adding ORGANIC MATTER and essential minerals and nutrients. FEEDING plants rather than the SOIL!

4. Abandonment:Failing to properly maintain:water/prune/weed/mulch/harvest .

5. Spoiled Soil: Over saturating sandy soil with chemical/organic fertilizers to FORCE production -Avoiding:Soil amendment- Soil testing-Soil beneficial organisms/worms.

6. Overcrowding or planting incorrectly / abruptly seeding into infested soil direct ,rather than in a sterile growth medium small container!

7. Starting a PRODUCTIVE garden in a Big Space rather than small!

Common Sense Solutions to the S.Florida Gardening Challenges:

1.Know before You Grow:Before you take a trip to the Garden Center to shop for seeds/plants/garden accessories . Take a look at your garden and ask yourself: What is best to grow in the Sandy S.Florida Soil?What does the garden need?Rather than what do I NEED from the garden?

Most new comers gardeners/farmers bring their UP NORTH garden books with them , but that is not easy to use when the garden environment/ ground is TROPICAL SOUTH FLORIDA!

Gardening on Paper is not same as gardening on the Grounds. The First Common Solution:Start with a Tropical Garden Class! Know before you Grow!

Reset your BIOLOGICAL Gardening GPS to Tropical Environment, rather than the Up North – ARCTIC one !


a. Take an Organic Tropical Gardening classes
b. Read Tropical gardening books.
c. Visit the Tropical Garden Internet www.tropical-urban-farmer.com.

2. Start with Heirloom local seeds rather than ready made plants from the garden center:

So, let us start with seeds labeling first. when Choosing among unlabelled/labelled seeds ,which one we pick?We are confused as MOST seeds packaging companies does not label seeds whether LOCAL-Imported-Cold climate source-Warm climate source!Recently some companies started labelling NON- GMO – Organic- hybrid – or Heirloom. But what about the NON-Labelled seeds? are they GMO or nor are they heirloom or not??We dont know..Therefore we need a Comprehensive Labeling not just for ur food but also to our seeds to comply with the Agri-Zones that are classified according to TEMPERATURES..Do you know the Agri -Zone you are planting in S.Florida??/.Rangimg between 11-10 depending on your location!

We are totally confused in the absence of proper seed labeling, to start with !Add to this confusion a lack of local farming education/labeling directions at the seed packages for explaining planting according to the Temperatures and Agri-Zones environment.

On choosing local heirloom seeds!

Personally, I prefer local heirloom seeds .I must know the source where the seeds come from first.Tropical seeds belong to tropical climates period!

Do we have any Tropical Seed Bank or source that labels what kind /source of seeds?

I do not know of any LOCAL authority that certifies local HEIRLOOM seeds in S.Florida, in case one is found , we don’t see much of the certified Heirloom LOCAL seeds in the market !Why?You tell me!Solution?

Do like I do: Harvest your seeds and exchange/ barter with a local farmer near you.

The rest of us get their seeds from garden centers, which order them from Cold regions/Agri-Zones like for example: Maine, California, Alaska or you name it. Most are out of state seed sources!

What are Heirloom seeds?

Do we have Tropical Heirloom seeds in the market? What are the sources of our Organic soil? Do we have Local sources of organic soil and what do they have as ingredients? Cow compost or horse compost or SLUDGE?

The Word HEIR comes from Latin: “Heres”. In French: “Hier”, which means Yesterday like in “Heritage”.

What is: An heirloom seed, plant, heirloom variety, heirloom heritage fruit /heirloom vegetable?

“It is a cultivar that was commonly grown during earlier periods in human history, but which is not used in modern large-scale agriculture. Many heirloom vegetables have kept their traits through open pollination, while fruit varieties such as apples/tomatoes, have been propagated over the time especially recently with the ADVANCE of GMO Genetic Science, and through grafts and cuttings. The trend of growing heirloom plants in gardens has been growing in popularity in North America and Europe over the last decade.”

Whereas, it has been the norm in the developing countries to use heirloom seeds ,as agriculture, more or less, runs in the family !Comparatively speaking; The new world, is now being transformed away from small scale family farming into Mega Business Corporate Mass Production farming, using in most cases GMO seeds!

Why we lack small family/urban farmers in South Florida?

Land Access is given priority to developers , rather than farmers.To learn more, research the Palm Beach County Agricultural Reserve as we speak more farmlands are being allocated for development rather than farming , by piece meal amendments. Add to this:Lack of private/public /local and federal financial incentives /support to small family /urban farmers.Personally , I struggle to farm on community gardens that are originally private backyards .I farmed on more than 10 community gardens , most are either history or on their way to be so… Land Opportunities Wanted to grow food.Anyone answering the call?

GMO and GEO..which is the witch (happy halloween! 🙂

Do you know that ,conventionally speaking,we are eating 80% produce of GMO seeds origin ,without even knowing about where our foods came from due to the lack of GMO labeling ?This Month is the GMO labelling month..Let us bring more AWARENESS to Where our FOOD comes from rather than Where People Come From?

What are GMO seeds?

A world wide well known GMO seed producer, is MONSANTO. Many educated farmers are now making a differentiation between GMO and GEO.

What is GEO? Genetically ENGINEERED ORGANISM vs GMO: Genetically Modified Organism.So what is the difference? Big difference!

The reason seeds are misidentified, is that a hastily created label was introduced for genetically engineered ones—those that are genetically altered like corn, soy and cucumbers seeds that grow into plants unaffected by pesticides, herbicides and other adverse conditions such as drought. Those are called:GEO.But are they same as GMO? Here is what the PUBLIC has been duped to think:

GMO seeds, are genetically modified with genes from fish, herbicide-resistant proteins and other chemicals, rather than DNA from another plant.

GMO, in fact, refers to a seed or plant that has different DNA than its parent. Changes can be made by accidental cross-pollination, hybrid breeding or traditional breeding done for centuries by farmers everywhere.

Labeling seeds will solve the problem and we will be able to find out which are which .Stearing clear from GMO seeds and using heirloom seeds instead makes a good decision.Where do we get the local heirloom seeds?The question remains unanswered because ???They are available mostly through local farmers /exchange.Where are those local small farmers ?You tell me..They are being pushed away as less land becomes available for farming and more for development!Less farm land means less farmers means less local heirloom seeds means less local food !

Heirloom seeds are locally harvested and stored to be used from one generation into another without any kind of modifications/engineering/ modification..Got to know a local farmer near you , to get your local Heirloom seeds.I have plenty of pinto beans and like pigeon peas and local spinach ” CA LA LOU”. . I am willing to exchange such seeds if you are ?What kind of seeds are best to grow for the fall growing season?So many!But let us start small.For example?

Start with Tropical “NITRIFICATION” seeds like the above mentioned legumes:Pinto beans and pigeon peas. Why?

Because , they are the best to enrich the soil with nitrogen.They are rich in PROTEIN and perfect for vegiterians and vegans to consume.They are stars among of the “Tropical NITRIFICATION” family plants, in addition to cover crops like sweet potato, for example.

What does Nitrification plants do?They draw nitrogen from the atmosphere and store it into the soil.Therefore fertilizing the soil Naturally at no extra cost!Farmers usually grow nitrification plants cover crops prior to the growing season to enrich the soil and eventually shred and mix such into the soil in advance of the growing season.This is a COMMON mistake that most farmers in S.Florida do now and instead they start the growing season without bypassing the Nitrification crop.

So in conclusion, we may say that there are so many misconceptions and misunderstanding of the seeds and soil of South Florida.Some blame their brown thumb some blame the weather.Solution: Education is the answer to common gardening mistakes in S.Florida. Sign up for an organic gardening class coming up to garden near you!

WE will be talking about the local SOIL next issue.Stay tuned and don,t forget to sign up for our next Soil class November 15th.More details at the enclosed flyer or at our web:tropical-urban-farmer.com…Do you know what we call the best local soil in S. FLORIDA??? It is called:MUCK!

Know before you grow ALONE!

Consult with Farmer Tone!


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