Everyone who has ever tried growing fruits and veggies in Florida soil already knows how nothing would ever grow in the ground. No wonder - with less than 2 percent of organic matter in Sunshine State's natural soils, every kind of fruit, veggies and even most herbs - can only be starved to death.
Any healthy vegetable garden requires good soil mix which means at least 25 percent of organic matter in the earth - to provide sufficient nutrients for food crops.
So - how to garden in Florida successfully?
Retired horticulturist Allen Cordell from Largo has decades of in-the-dirt experiences about growing foods in Florida. He worked for Pinellas County Extension for 25 years and oversaw the vegetable and herb garden at the Florida Botanical Gardens.
Cordell recommends growing food crops in:
- containers with with good drainage which are best choice especially for the first time Florida gardeners - you can keep moving them around your property until you find the perfect sun exposure and natural protection for your plants
- raised beds - at least 8 inches deep (see detailed description for A Raised Vegetable Garden)
Cordell's recipe for a soil mixture:
- 4 parts of bagged topsoil - choose inexpensive but loose and pliable to the touch
- 1 part perlite - to boost moisture retention, to improve drainage and encourage root growth
- 1/2 part dolomite - to boost calcium