This is one of my favorite times of year in Florida. The weather now is beautiful and everything is growing with the vigor of springtime. It is the perfect time to think about putting in new food plants and getting your yard growing the most local food possible. What is your yard going to feed you this year?
I went out this morning to see what our yard is doing and got us some pictures of what a 50′ x 100′ Florida yard (with house!) can do.
Very young peaches
Each morning I am serenaded out of bed with the visiting song birds. In the key lime outside my window I saw a cardinal pair, a mocking bird, and a red headed woodpecker all together. Were they enjoying the flowering citrus? The bees are now busy collecting from the key lime, grapefruit, lemon, and our neighbors orange. The wind blows through the trees and carries the light scent of citrus blooms into my windows, nothing better!
Honeybees pollinating Grapefruit flowers
Bumble bee working a grapefruit bloom
Key Lime flowers with a honeybee’s attention
We also have mulberries budding out and it looks like there will be lots of berries later in March.
Loquat is one of my favorite food trees; it grows like a weed, often from seed and is a prolific producer of orange/yellow plums in late March. Now we have the young fruit growing on the tree. If you want an easy tree that feeds you this is a great choice.
Young Loquat fruit
In the garden the winter vegetables are coming to the end. I’m harvesting cabbage and making up lots of sauerkraut and kimchi. The lettuce is bolting and the Bok choy is flowering, we’ve decided to collect seeds from both so are letting them go. It is time to put in the warmer season annuals so you can eat from home all year.
Bok choy flowers with a wild green bee pollinating.
One of our bolting lettuces.
If you garden already you are probably running out of space but if you are just starting one local resource to get you going growing your own food is the St. Petersburg Permaculture Guild.
This group has an active email list, meets twice monthly for a book study of Gaia’s Garden (a very helpful book for growing food in your yard), they also are growing a demonstration permaculture garden at Faith House in St. Petersburg and meet every Wednesday at 10 am to work on that. If you have questions about gardening effectively in Florida this is a great group to meet.
Another great resource is the Rare Fruit Council
The Rare Fruit Council meets the first or second Sunday of the month and contains some of the most knowledgeable people I’ve found about growing fruit in our unique place.
Once you get going on this I’m sure you will begin to look longingly at your neighbor’s yards to expand, and seeing what you are doing they just might invite you to!