With the breezy, cool ‘winters’ and rainy, sultry summers, gardening in South Florida can be such a rewarding hobby. We live in a dreamland where growth is year round. Here are some tips to take into account for your own landscape, focused on creating habitat and sustainability.
When I think of a garden, I think of a place that’s very much alive – little critters crawling, insects flying, birds foraging – a place where the senses are refreshed and there is much to observe. A garden can host ongoing life cycles for plants and wildlife alike if it has the right focus and plant pallet. Using plants that are native to your area will increase the amount of habitat that wildlife depend on. It also allows you to help with the conservation efforts that are largely diminished by urban development and the over use of exotic plants. You’ll conserve water: South Florida natives, after establishment, usually don’t need more water than what is naturally provided. Most of them also thrive in our sandy soil so you can forget about the harsh fertilizers. You’ll be amazed what can flourish when you embrace your locality, especially in a place as ecologically special as South Florida.
When you throw something away, where is ‘away’? When you throw away your food scraps such as fruits and veggies, egg shells, coffee, paper products, they sadly go to the landfill where they take up space (approx. 20-30%) and emit methane. The nutrients in this organic matter are lost which is a missed opportunity. When you start a compost pile in your backyard or garden or a worm bin underneath your sink, you can transform them into ‘free’ soil! (Don’t include meat or dairy products). Finished compost is especially beneficial in veggie gardens, acting as an organic fertilizer. (Don’t include meat or dairy.)
Here’s a great intro for DIY composting from our friends at Fertile Earth Foundation (fertileearth.org) –
Want to learn more? Stop by the garden and check out our Native garden and Compost hub, located next to each other in the southwest corner of the garden.