Alternative Community Farmer/WPB.FL

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South Florida new comer gardeners:Its the start of the Fall growing season.Its time to LEARN how to AVOID the most common commited garden mistakes"-Part II

HOWDY!! ! The fall growing season is HERE.. Are you ready???
How is your organic food garden doing???My garden is flourishing and bet it is doing better than yours!!!Just teasing you (lol).
 I started prep last September .The climate change and the economy are adding extra challenges ,and more are quitting to attend two jobs while the main JOB of Keeping our BODY/MIND/SPIRIT in Optimal Health to be able to carry out the bread and butter jobs are being compromised.that's why I am here to help you outsolving garden mysteries and DRAMA!
Lets play dirt and GONE GARDENING!!!!!No one likes to admit doing a mistake. Big Ego is hear..have no fear!!
Tony is here to share with you my dear garden enthusiasts ,S.Florida Garden  COMMON MISTAKE !
Avoid spending more money learning the EXPENSIVE way going it ALONE giving yourself the usual EXCUSE:I am going through the "Learning Curve!"
Well. I know a lot who have done so much damage to their body /mind/spirit working hard gardening the wrong way and ended up quitting prematurely!

Personally, I prefer to learn from my , and your ,mistakes .Believe me , I do garden mistakes too!I admit that I am not the PERFECT GARDENER!
The best way to LEARN with lesser pain and damages is to LISTEN ,Observe and Ask questions,  when in doubt ask the experts as they say!!!Here we go :

 Gardening Mistake No. 1: Starting Out a productive garden without taking a first hand ORIENTATION Theory and Hands On GARDENING CLASS on growing own local food in S.Florida.
Know before you Grow I sum it up in a nut shell. Which veggies/herbs etc are in season , locally  compatible with the Tropical agricultural zone ??It is Good to
Know before you Grow!
Welcome to South Florida garden : Now start learning  the Tropical Language of productive gardening in the TROPICS. Craving to grow UPNORTH cold zone  fruits and vegetables like apples and kale ??? Switch gear , instead, to S.Florida Natives like CALALOO,COLLARDS  vegetables , Papaya fruits and Cuban Oregano herbs!!!!We are not asking you to learn Spanish or Chinese, but rather simply to KNOW which are best to GROW !!To ask questions before you shoot and not the reverse! Check draught tolerant local native plants first!
Here in S.Florida gardening is  different but NOT  difficult! .Simply open up your learning channels and be open minded to learn without much emphasis on the EGO side!!Best is to consult with   a local harvest urban farmer near you, example:

It’s difficult to resist those tempting photos and web sites of self proclaimed "farmers" who preach such jargon of being TRAINED under such and such farmer "celebrities/gurus" swearing by  PERMACULTURE and what have you to trap your wallet! Local farmers should present local certifications of Horticultural education for example: Certified Florida Master Gardeners are graduates from University of Florida Horticultural Extension Programs .They are a good source to consult LOCALLY!
Mistake number 2:. Planting too large a garden is a mistake that can place too heavy a BURDEN  on YOUR BODY/MIND/SPIRIT AND OFFCOURSE wallet! MEGA  gardens lead to frustration and burnout. Instead , start SMALLat the RIGHT :LOCATION .LOCATION . LOCATION. For God's sake do not plant a garden under a tree or in a flooding prone area or worse: Next to your animal farm ,letting loose chicken ,dogs and Horses harvest and trample on your vegies!!!

A better gardening strategy is to start small in the first year and plant only a few of your favorite veggies( I suggest you plant S.Florida natives and draught tolerant like everglades tomato, Florida Calalo Spinach ,papaya, collards ,Cuban oregano etc...). This will allow you more gardening success , less maintenance,and a greater feeling of accomplishment. In succeeding years, as practice builds your gardening skills, you can increase the size of your garden each planting season. Don,t forget to keep adding organic matter and garden amendments as you go like composted manures,blood meal etc..)

Gardening Mistake No. 3: Gardening in the SANDY and acidic , nematode infested ,depleted soil of your property!
Without good soil, no vegetable garden can thrive. Any preparation that the soil needs must be done before planting. Once those seeds begin to establish a root system, the soil cannot be disturbed without endangering the tender, young plants. The soil is best when prepared from COMPOSTED organic matter, composted permitted manure,mineral and nutritive rich organic ammendments like bone/bloodmeal etc.. 

Prepare the soil as early in SUMMER for the Fall growing season,using compost and organic matter plus necessary amendments as needed.. Let the soil rest for a little while then plant NITRIFICATION ground cover to boost the soil with nutrients such as Nitrogen. An example of nitrification plants: Sweat potatoes and beans!. Then you can plant your vegetable garden and watch it spring to life in the fall growing season starting October .

Gardening Mistake No. 4: The Use and abuse of Chemical pesticides and Fertilizers. I am not sure who is abusing who.???.Personally I switched to ORGANIC fertilizers such as Composted horse manure!!! I am not going to force you to do the same and your FREE choice will tell you which is best for you! Another reason why I switched to Organic fertilizers and Organic pesticides:
No one label will tell you when you buy your seedlings from a commercial nursery  or garden center about what is in the SOIL and what has been sprayed at the plant??Think about it, how could the plant at the store survive in such a container enduring  S.Florida excessive inclement weather with less maintenance??
The answer is the chemical fertilization of NPK 20-20-20.Your store bought plants are saturated with chemical fertilizers ,pesticides and God knows what of hormones and additives , to let them survive and endure  a long  shelf life at the garden store.You will start experiencing wilting and diseases once they are transformed into your backyard and suffer  diseases which compels you to go back and buy more fertilizers and pesticides to "TREAT" the plant. A vicious cycle of spending more money!!!.I am here to tell you : Grow your own seeds and seedlings and save on the vicious cycle!
 For example, all plants require nitrogen, and high-nitrogen fertilizer will produce vigorous top growth—which is what you want for leafy green vegetable . That same amount of nitrogen, however, will create such vigorous top growth that it can hold back ripening. Last but not least:
Recent studies have linked chemical fertilizers and pesticides to various kinds of cancers!!!Going and growing organic and spraying with organic pesticides like NEEM oil is the alternative!!!

Gardening Mistake No. 5: Xeriscaping and irrigation!
Plants need water to metabolize nutrients and grow, but different types of vegetable plants need different amounts of water. Too little water will cause plants to dry up and wilt. Once seriously wilted, most plants will not recover, even if watered, so do your best to keep your vegetable plants from wilting. Too much water can rot the root system, and only healthy roots can absorb nutrients from the soil and hold the plant upright. Once rot afflicts the root system, the plant is done for.

Most vegetable plants prefer a good, deep watering one to three times each week. If you water too shallowly, the roots will grow near the surface instead of downward to seek water.

If you don’t water your vegetable garden deeply and thoroughly, you might end up with shallow roots that cannot tolerate any drought at all.
My favorite watering system is Rain Water .One more thing you need in S.Florida when Gone Gardening: Learn more about Native plants .They are draught tolerant and require less maintenance. Remember that to plant the Right plant in the Right place. Meaning some plants that are water loving , plant them in areas prone to flooding and more  watering accessability.

Gardening Mistake No. 6:Correct planting techniques-know how .Its not a rocket scientist high tech procedure to know how to launch  a plant/seed/seedling into the soil.But use your common sense to avoid common mistakes of shallow or wrongful planting.KNow before you grow.In Florida the safest planting oerocedure of planting seeds is not direct into the soil but rather into a small container first .Most new comers from UP NORTH fall into the trap of planting directly into soil as if there is REALLY a GOOD SOIL (remember sandy and nematodes infesrted soil is the name of of the game !!).Still if you insist on planting direct into soil, then I suggest you follow the below suggestion:
In general, the larger the seed, the deeper it prefers to be planted. Seed packets offer information on the back about how deeply to plant the seeds. Pay attention to this information, because planting too deeply will cause seeds to fail to sprout or tire out the young seed sprout before it’s able to reach the surface and receive needed sunlight.

On the other hand, planting seeds at a too-shallow depth can cause the seed to dry out quickly and fail to sprout—or cause the young plant to dry out or fall over because of poor root growth. Some vegetable seeds, such as lettuce, actually need to be close enough to the soil surface that sunlight can touch them and trigger sprouting.

Gardening Mistake No 7: Planting Too Closely—and Not Thinning
If you plant your seeds or transplants too closely, you’ll create too much competition for the nutrients in sunlight, soil and water. Seed packet instructions include advice on plant spacing, but it’s tempting to ignore it because seeds seem so tiny when you’re planting a patch of bare soil. It’s difficult to imagine how much space the plants that sprout from those seeds will need once they start to grow.

Not every seed planted will germinate and not every sprout will survive, so it’s OK to plant seeds closer than the spacing needed by mature vegetable plants. It’s important to thin the patch or row when plants are a few inches tall, removing enough of the seedlings to make room for the remaining plants to grow. Many vegetable plant thinnings are edible — young carrots and greens are tender and delicious—so enjoy your thinnings in an early-spring salad. Vegetable plant thinnings also can be left on the soil around remaining plants to serve as light mulch.

Gardening Mistake No. 8: Letting Weeds Grow Unchecked.
The best time to pull a weeds is when they are tiny and the root system is small. Pulling weeds at that stage of growth won’t disrupt the roots of your vegetable plants.Another smart way to avoid weeds altogether is MULCH.

The longer you let a weed grow, the stronger a root system it will develop and the more nutrients it will steal from your vegetable plants. Keep weed growth to a minimum by mulching soil around your vegetable plants or disturbing the surface of the soil by regularly hoeing between your plants.

Gardening Mistake No. 9: Over mulching or is it  Under mulching!!???
Mulch is a good thing, but too much of a good thing usually isn’t good.Sounds like a puzzle of the chicken and egg which one came first?? Using MULCH with organic matter—like straw, dry leaves or grass clippings—helps keep weeds from sprouting, retains moisture in the soil, keeps the root zone cool and provides nutrients for the plants as the mulch decays. One counter indication for over mulching is that both plants and mulch will be competing for NITROGEN. So learn how to mulch with BALANCE adding more organic nitrogen rich matter the more you add mulch..

A light mulch is fine after planting, but don’t mulch too deeply or seed sprouts might not be able to push through into the sunlight. To retain soil moisture and discourage weeds, gently add more mulch as the plants grow. After mulching, draw the mulch back 1 inch or so from the stems of the young plants so it doesn’t create too much heat as it decomposes or trap dampness against the stem and cause rot.

Take special care when using green mulches like fresh grass clippings, as these materials produce heat while decomposing, which can harm the plant and even kill it. Green mulches are very rich in nitrogen, which they release as they decompose. This nitrogen boost will fuel top growth in vegetable plants, which you might not desire.

Common gardening mistake number 10: Garden Ergonomics- body garden work positions abuse!
Learn how to use your body in a safe way while at the garden. Put on proper garden gear. Hydrate and most important:
Learn garden ERGONOMICS.

Most gardeners and farmers abuse their body lifting, pulling, pushing, shoveling etc...the wrong way.What is the RIGHT way? Come to attend my ongoing classes and ask me .I will let you know.I am a certified Florida MassageTherapist as well,  and I specialize in"massaging my plants only"

A lot of gardening questions become common sense to a gardener after a few seasons of experience. There’s a lot to learn along the way. Thats why I got ONGOING GARDENING CLASSES!! When and where and how much??/Please click on the web site down below for a quick answer!Tell/bring a friend. Support a local farmer near you. Go GROW GREEN!

Happy gardening , with the compliments of ..

Your local Urban Farmer


Farming and gardening as an act of CREATING BALANCE and HOMEOSTASIS within and without!!!

When will you and me wake up to the natural LAW of BALANCE???
Our society ,our lives,our relationships,our acts , our you name it???..are they in BALANCE??
It is said that the Hurricanes are created with a soft  blow of a feather at the other end of the world...True or not but most of Hurricanes that blow out in America are created at the other end of the  coast of African Sahara ...Watch out for Hurricanes and Saharan heat this summer..Be prepared .Be balanced!

Drink a lot of water and hydrate.Learn how to  keep the inner balance of HOMEOSTASIS!!!!

My gardening classes are  all about bringing back balance  by getting GROUNDED at the GARDEN!!

Check them out at:

Natural Awakening PBC-Magz "Mark Your Calender or visit:

Why stop to smell the roses ,and take a gardening class, at my garden?

It is all about getting in touch with MOTHER EARTH through gardening!

When you are immersing your hands in the garden soil , you are creating balance with Mother Earth relation.You are getting connected to the source of our food.When you take off your shoes and walk bare foot at your backyard garden you are creating balance doing nothing other than smelling an herb or a flower nad observing nature .Concentration and balance is ruled by our nervous system.Look how many of us are out of balance reaching out forn opiate drugs,alcohol, name it addictions trying to relax and have peace within borrowing from without things !

Our home is the EARTH..Let the garden be your sacred place for prayers,meditation for inner balance and peace rather that the opiates family..
Read the article : Health grows in a garden published by the local newspaper:Sun-sentinel:
The earth is a space ship hanging out in space in balance..we humans when we lose our balance in Body-Mind -Spirit...we create havoc and hurricane like effects in our life.Watch out for what you do to OTHERS ..Native Americans pay attention to FEATHERS...Could it be what the QUEEN OF BALANCE Myioko Sako is trying to tell us through her acts of balance??

Seeing is believing:

Prof. Manfred Max Neef  "everything is just one whole in which we are inseparable part." Like the insects in our environment play their own role in keeping our planet alive. Therefore, if we were to destroy them all we do not know what might have happened to us. Well, as you pay attention to this video, please take notice what happen to the balance when Miyoko Shida removed the feather. The world is assembled the same way, we do not know for sure what is holding us together therefore we cannot eliminate that which we know nothing about. "

Garden Ergonomics,Anatomy and physiology for farmers and gardeners !


Organic Gardening TIPS:How to protect your vegetable garden from cold fronts and POLAR VORTEX in South Florida and other valuable suggestions for the productive tropical zone gardens.

Happy New Year ..gardeners and farmers .
Stay warm by working out at your garden/farm "inclement  COLD "weather permitting!!!
Better safe than sorry: Are you ready to protect your garden against the cold fronts and Polar Vortex now to hit the gardens in S.Florida ??
Best EASY and handy way  to protect your Tropical garden against COLD FRONTS / FROSTS and LOW TEMP is : Use a special thermo thick cover that protects plants (Frost Cover).You will find it  at major garden centers and nurseries in S. Florida.
Meanwhile use common sense and your water hose to spray the plants during the day.Water temp is always warmer than air temp..says a Rocket Scientist!!!Well it is a cheap way but not enough though to safeguard against frost and severe cold fronts.
More tips and cold weather protection advice at:

Other S . Florida  garden tips to keep your garden thriving:

MULCH ...MULCH.. MULCH  , to insulate root system against extreme cold or heat temp , besides to keep soil moisture  IN and weeds OUT!!!Best garden advice for the LAZY GARDENER who loves LOW maintenance and less garden work!!!

Spread manure or compost over the garden and plow it under, if you did not do so in the fall, then wait for the summer season to enrich your SUBSOIL by adding organ8ic matter and composted manure , such as: Composted  chicken or horse manure..

Remember to refrain from adding FRESH MANURE into the soil as it will BURN THE ROOTS.

Compost manure prior to adding to soil as rule of GREEN THUMB>

Plant hardy vegetables and other cool-season crops NOW , such as lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, beets, carrots, radishes, turnips, spinach, peas, and cauliflower.

Start seeds of warm-season vegetables indoors for the coming SPRING growing season,such as eggplants ,peppers and basil,,.etc..

Make successive plantings of vegetables so that you have a continuous harvest throughout the growing season.

Get WOOD/Natural untreated lumbar for  plant beds or seed boxes ready for growing plants such as tomato, pepper.

Go native and plant CALALOO (S.Florida Spinach) .

Wooden raised  beds give protection against excessive heat or cold as they insulate root system.

Deadhead flowers to encourage new blooms.

Refrigerated bulbs should now be planted in prepared beds. Provide a layer of mulch for protection from cold temperatures.

Plant cool-season annuals such as marigold and nasturtium, in the garden beds to BEAUTIFY the vegetable garden and invite butterflies and bees pollinators

You can start seeds of warm-season flowers now to have transplants ready for spring.

Plant any trees and shrubs now. Water until established.

Fertilize established fruit trees using Organic FERTILIZERS ONLY such as composted horse or chicken manure.. Cover manure with top soil. Always!!!

Prune any damaged or dead branches from your trees and shrubs.

To control scale on fruit trees, apply horticultural oil like NEEM OIL  while plants are dormant and NOT at HOT TEMP direct sun..

Ensure that your garden is watered if it is getting less than 1 inch of rain per week.

You can apply dormant oil spray to deciduous fruit trees. Prune dormant fruit trees if needed.

Use lukewarm water to wash any dust off of your houseplants; check them for any diseases or insects.

Replace any chemical pesticides to kill weeds by using alternatives such as VINEGAR.

Happy and Healthy Gardening while staying WARM!!!


Garden Therapy..A rediscovered ancient healing art for the Body-Mind-Spirit.

Are you contemplating a healthy Body-Mind-Spirit  resolution for 2014.???
There are so many people who dream or plan but never DO Follow up on the
garden grounds . Off course you are NOT one of them .That is why this
article is catching your attention!Start the new year with a RESOLUTION
to take BACK your physical and mental Health by simply turning your

Are you a procrastinator? Are you  harboring  such thoughts as  : I have no
Time to garden. I have no backyard . I have a backache . I am on Therapy.I
live in an apartment .I live in my car.I have no experience . I have a wife
and family.I am  old .I am  sick. I kill plants. I lost my job/house.I am
broke .I am on food stamps. I am name it...
Guess what ?Food stamps federal budget has been reduced by almost  40
BILLION for the next ten years.. Wait a minute. Growing your own food can
be a Solution for your Physical and Mental challenges and struggles.
Gardening is a FREE THERAPY..! No Health Insurance payments and no
experience required! Here are two main major Physical and Mental  Effects:

A-The Physical (Body)  Benefits.

 Consider Growing an EDIBLE GARDEN in your backyard, at a community garden
and at your wellness /community center !! .

1-Growing your own food will enable you able to save your body and on  your
pocket .. Organic produce prices are  so expensive !Take this for example:
One pound of Organic  tomato costs $5 at your local Health Food
Store!!!.Your cost: FREE when grown in your own garden  !Your body will
live longer love to get nourishment of locally home grown food devoid of
pesticides and chemical fertilizers etc.. Besides:
If you grow one tomato plant at your garden , you will have an average of
40 pounds of tomato  produced at home, multiplied by 5$ per pound will
equal $200 in savings on your grocery bill!!!. Simply speaking,saving this
much on one food category only !Do the math for the rest of other organic
produce that you buy from the store which you can grow at home and witness
the difference??

2-You will lose weight and save on the gym bill money 100% on the  Gym
bill.You will  build   muscles and lose fat , while  growing and harvesting
FREE  fruits and veggies .. No garden experience necessary or membership
FEES required!
3-You will reduce your medical bills by 100% by taking food as medicine
from your garden , following the prescription of Hippocretes THE FATHER OF
MEDICINE. Grow food for FREE ,without additives , chemical fertilizers and
pesticides,the extra salmonella !! .When you do so:You will  add more years
to your life , spend more time at home with your family ,smell more roses
and aromatic herbs , breathe fresh outdoor garden air and enjoy
eating  SAFE food that is produced at home ,few yards away from your
kitchen compared to the 1500 miles distance when being shipped and grown
overstate /overseas!

B-The Metaphysical (Mind-Spirit) Benefits :

What is driving us CRAZY are the medical bills from the ER, for instance
one ER stitch cost $500!!!. Check out this article from NYT
What is driving us crazy is  the culture of abusive behaviours that is
tainting our society as a side effect of our  work-oh-hloic and
drug-oh-holic and family of oh..holics  and other addictions :You name
it!!! .
As a consequence of the above "oh-holics" family  we suffer mentally  and
succumb to take a pill here and a pill there.. A pill a day will keep the
doctor in our way while an Apple from Mother Nature a day will keep the
doctor away .They say!!. Pun intended! In other words why not call on Doctor
"Nature" for a second opinion therapy . The Ancient Chinese ,Greeks and
Romans  reverted to find cures ,for both physical and Metaphysical , in
Nature: Example Water baths or Hydrotherapy , Homeopathy and  Naturopathy
.Why cant we do the same?
Through out history and civilizations , gardening was considered as a
THERAPY . Recently ,Japan and Sweden for example have innovated ways of
using  gardening as Horticultural Therapy at Hospitals and Rehabilitation Medical Centers
by simply creating Gardens for their patients to improve on their
health. . Check out the below sources and
resources for more
Change your motto from "going bananas" in to "growing bananas" and see the
difference in your  Mental  and Physical HEALTH !!

The effects of Horticultural Therapy on the Brain :

Humbly speaking I did not coin the word Horticultural Therapy. Simply I
believed in it and started using it at my community gardens. It was back in
2008 , when "Garden  Therapy" made the headline news  at a local major
local  news paper :Sunsentinel interviewed me and I spoke my mind.. Hail
and THANKS to Sunsentinel exceptionally  inspiring writer / columnist De La
Cruiz ,who spent an almost day investigating my work following me around my
community garden and chasing me to the horse ranches  where my horse manure
came from etc..Garden Therapy made its way to the mainstream media .Check
it out:

Here are some more sources to check out:
 Happy Gardening...Therapy!!

 Tony Dagher  BA CFMG, CFMT

South Florida Organic Garden TOP TEN TROPICAL TIPS for Low Maintenance and "Tune UP"!

The  sizzling summer is on in S.Florida .Welcome to our garden where for every season we have our own growin reason..Now start weeding and mowing and pruning and offcourse fighting the summer garden bugs  especially the infamous white fly that is infesting S.Florida gardens.

Bugs and mosquitos thrive and abide during the summer "EXCESSIVELY" hot/rainy/humid summer season here.No wonder why the Hurricane season this year is expected to be exceeding  expectations !More than SEVENTEEN Tropical Storfms are predicted for the season with four to be named as MAJOR HURRICANES.It is time to be prepared for the garden as well and the best thing to start is :

1-Trimming and Prunning:Take away those dead branches and excessive vegetation population that might turn into PROJECTILES when the storm hits the garden.

2-Prevention is the key note to fight garden bugs and mosquitos:Spray your organic garden with Garlic water ,Neem oil,Insecticidal soap and more of the eco-friendly garden products to reduce the population of the aphids ,nematodes.

A) Aphids:Those tiny winged mighty small mites and insects like the White Fly for instance .They fly and attack the LEAVES and mostly the aerial parts of the plant sucking sap and chewing leaves and secreting kind of a insect honey dew that becomes a safe home for mold to live in..Retaliate by using especially NEEM OIL ,Garlic Water,and other eco friendly non-synthetic pesticides like Natural grain alchohol, Alkaline water,Castile soap,Kitchen spices,garden grown complimentary herbs,,essential oils  etc...Experiment in minute quantities .

I personally prefer using Neem oil ,it is a universal natural pesticides :Friendly to many friendly bugs like the lady bug ,but lethal to other predators like the White Fly and many Florida mosquitos that thrive during the hot summer.

B)Nematodes:Those are microscopic worms that exceed more than 80 varieties of soil laden organisms ,they attack the ROOTS of the plant forming knots  and creating a barrier for the plant to absorb water and soil nutrients through the root system..I personally combat the soil predators with organic ammendments like worm castings,organic matter like composted manures,cover crops like peas ,beans and sweat potato crops.Another old fashioned tradition to NEITRALIZE the soil and get rid of NEMATODES is to bake the soil either in oven or SOLARIZE it using a special soil tarp to trap heat in the soil.

3-Weed Control :As the rain pours on the weeds grow more.To retard weeds population revert to MULCH.Simply add mulch and cover the soil with Card Boards before you do so.A double benefits to the soil .

4-Add Mellipedes to the garden soil:Those beautiful worms enrich the soil with worm poop and help to restore humus .Ask me how.

5-Add garden knowledge :Take more classes on organic gardening for South Florida.Here in Florida farming and gardening is different but not difficullt.It is good to know before you grow!Come to my ongoing gardening classes.More info

6-Save on the water bill:Use rain harvesting barrelsto irrigate the garden.Avoid violating the water restrictions on place .Check out with local governments for water restrictions in your area.

7-Start a Composting site:Summer in S.Florida is the best time to compost.Excessive heat,rain,humidity work best on turning yard waste and  kitchen vegetable and fruit refuse ,into compost/organic matter to enrich the backyard garden soil for FREE! 

8-Add Organic Ammendments to the garden:Summer is the season to enrich rthe garden soil with organic matter ,natural minerals ,manures.

9-Clean up and remove garden clutter:Dead branches,garden waste,old rotten wood and other sick plants will make a perfect home for garden predators.Get rid of garden clutter and clean up your garden act.

10-Turn your expensive lawn garden into a productive organic vegetable garden:Throw a garden party to make it happen :Invite your family and friends for a Hands On "FOOD GROWING "Party .Harvest weeds like Dandelion and make FREE salads .Turn yard leaves into mulch,family and friend provide FREE  labor of LOVE with less money spent on hiring maintenance labor .If you live in S.Florida:Contact us for a  gardening consultation or questions -AT-:guerreroantonio16@gmail-DOT-com


Happy summer gardening!


Common Mistakes Committed by New Comers Organic Gardeners to S.Florida

1-New comers to S.Florida first common mistake is to garden as if they are still home up north.Wake up call:Please forget about using a fork to dig out the SAND.Your soil HELLO is SANDY.So , start to learn how to prepare yopur own SOIL FREE of NEMATODES!

2-Upon deciding to grow plants in containers: Please refrain from adding STONES at the bottom of the container like you do UPNORTH.The stones will bake the root system of your plants!

3-Do not grow the usual crops as you do up north.Florida has a different HARDINESS Zone .Follow the guidlines of the new USDA Agiculture zones issued recently and learn to grow what is locally acceptable crops and not what you used to grow at a different zone.

4-Do not water your plants when sun is at peak or temperature so HOT.Water will evaporate soon.Learn to irrigate before sun rise and after sundown.More tips at our ongoing Organic Gardenning Classes ,


State of the Community Garden II: What are the PROs and the Challenges?


From an experienced horticulturist  point of fiew(20 years of community urban farming in S.Florida), I asum up the Pros and challenges as follows.

A:The Pros-

1)Urban Farming as a THERAPY:I have been interviewed by the Sun-sentinel back in 2008 and the topic was :Gardening as a THERAPY!People who grow their own food have access to  fresh food which supports nutritional health, decreases susceptibility to illnesses and overall reduces the burden on the health care system ,inhancing IMMUNE SYSTEM and offcourse shrinking  the doctors and grocery bill by reducing STRESS.

 2)Spreading GREEN AWARENESS and SUSTAINABILITY!I have fascilitated classes on Organic Urban Farming at colleges(Palm BeachState College-Green Expo 2011,Cities,Churches,Wellness centers,Firefighters group,Scouts,Homeowners etc..).I am indebted to Natural Awakening Magazine and for their support .You may find out about ongoing classes by by checking out the Natural Awakening Magazine-Palm Beach edition"Mark your calender".The community garden has inspired me to reach out for those who want to grow their own food and did not have access for land , just like myself.Swinton Community Garden is the latest community garden I am involved with and it has been a great experience for the last four years and going.Thank you SCG!

I fascilitated Composting classes at the city of Lake Worth from 2010-2011.The composting program was was created to reduce waste especially coming from the kitchen and the GARDEN INTO THE lAND FILL  AND RECYCLE IT INSTEAD INTO COMPOST AT THE BACKYARD GARDEN .

3)Community Urban Farming can create GREEN JOBS:I personally MADE A LIVING FROM 2001 TO 2008 from ONE OF MY LARGER  COMMUNITY GARDENS   and created a network of CSA back then , before it was turned into a LAND FILL in 2009!

Community gardens can be a significant source of food and income for members. This is especially helpful for families and individuals without JOBS or  land .


 4)Community Gardens are a venue for cultural DIVERSITY and PRODUCTIVE community social interaction between local  officials and the public.

Community garden projects give community members the opportunity to work side-by-side, regardless of cultural background ,ethnicity,nationality,religion etc...

Studies show that legal immigrants  produced traditional crops that are otherwise unavailable locally.Community gardens does not have a generation gap ,mixing youth and adults together. 

Community gardens bring officials and local residents closer.In a recent volunteer work ,two weeks ago ,at the Hollywood community garden project, I met a local commissioner Mr.Pete Hernandez.Upon explaining to him that the soil is lacking nutrients and full of pebbles and debris , he invited me to accompany him to chose a fertile soil which he donated into the garden as a good will gesture to help improve the status of the community garden under construction. Studies have shown that areas with above average green vegetation have less graffiti and littering, and lower crime rates .People caring for their neighborhoods learn how to care about each others from growing their own food to beautifying their community with flowers and greenery.I personally experienced that while volunteering at the Chief Sitting Bull garden in Lake Worth and Carver Community Garden IN Delray.Both gardens do not exist anymore unfortunately!

5)Community gardens can turn neighborhoods infested with crime, into safe communities.They can be a good food source for soup kitchens.I personally donated crops from my community garden to the Caring Kitchen from 2001 till 2008.Giving back to our community through volunteering at community garden and donating crops to soup kitchens help enrich our community spirit and nourish so many who are in dire need for food.

B)The Challenges-

1-Out of 10 community gardens I tended for the last ten years two are still existing while one  was  available for sale and the other one  has already downsized!Many reasons among the short term life of community gardens among which:Sale for developers,repocession by owner,failure of members to maintain the garden,lack of funding ,convert site into landfill,abandonment,etc.. 

2-Community gardens being used as platforms for political agendas.Some join to boost their community Organization resume references,others to assume and boost a socialist profile,and many just to experiment their green nostalgia then quit after finding out that it takes sweat and gets their hands dirty...




Gardenening as a grounding therapy.Get connected to the EARTH BIO-ENERGY

I remember when I was a child sleeping on the floor.Our family was big and the home was small so we were given folding mattresses (similar to sleeping bags) to use as ourt beds .This is the reason I am so much into gardening:Being grounded to the EARTH ENERGY is a Therapy undermined and undiscovered as far as Science is concerned.

Ancient cultures used tents and caves and walked bare foot.Back to basics.There is now evidence that EARTHING might be the CHEAP medicine to our physical ills especially fopr those who arte uninsured!!Check this medical journal published article out and decide for your own:

Gardening and farming will connect us to the core energy and electrons transmitted by EARTH  especially when you garden or farm bare foot like I do.Try it when you are under the weather or not feeling well and see for yourself.Make sure that your feet touch grounds that are free of chemicals or broken glass or sharp objects .Be aware that there are ants and organisms that might bight you so choose a well groomed lawn grass like your front yard lawn and see what happens.





Climate change, weather change and how to be prepared?Earth Day green awareness and solutions to share ..

Weather conditions change from region to region.As for the climate change we are now on a new map/scale as a new standard classifying the agricultural regions in the US into a different scale of Zones than as previously recognized, due to a change in climate.To learn more about new USDA  map hardinus zones please check out:

To understand what a hardiness zone is , Wikepedia describes it as follows:"A hardiness zone (a subcategory of Vertical Zonation) is a geographically defined area in which a specific category of plant life is capable of growing, as defined by climatic conditions, including its ability to withstand the minimum temperatures of the zone (see the scale on the right or the table below). For example, a plant that is described as "hardy to zone 10" means that the plant can withstand a minimum temperature of -1°C. A more resilient plant that is "hardy to zone 9" can tolerate a minimum temperature of -7°C"

Gardners and farmers should pay more attention to the changes in climate as to protect their crops and be flexible in setting up their planting and harvesting plans.

According to the Weather Meteorologist:"Weather is the state of the air at a certain time and place".

Weather includes temperature ,air pressure,humidity.wind,clouds,rain,snow,storms.In order tp be able to predict the weather changes in the absence of a weather channel screen for example , one simply can observe the AIR layers closestr to the earth surface.Native Americans can tell when it is raining by simplu smelling the the air!How many of us are now able to predict weather changes ? Not so many thanks to the weather predictions offerd on TV,internet etc..

Another way of predicting the weather is to observe migration of certain birds..There are now climate changes in Florida where recently the rain has paid random visits .The grass is yellow at most of the front yards that observe the water restrictions issued by local governments.RAIN Water is now becoming a scarce source with the climate change in S.Florida.The Temperature is also changing extremely hot or cold..Plants are becoming confused and crop failure due to climate change is now a norm here.

Is there a solution one could ask oneself to combat climate change?

Earth Day is the time to stop and ask ourselves for ways to fight global warming and the simple answer to do so is to plant more trees,gardens and stop deforesting ,polluting our water and reducing the carbon foot print.  



Organic Gardening Awarenes:What to BEWARE when seeking HELP to start your backyard vegetable garden?

It is GOOD TO KNOW and be AWARE!

There are so many books and web sites out there to teach you how to start an Organic Productive Garden.ALSO: A new wave of self proclaimed GREEN BUCK THUMBS/"FARMERS" , are out there vying for your buck!

Here are some suggestions to help you sifting the real from the fake "Farmers/ Organic Gardeners/Teachers":

1-BEWARE :There are claims that they have experience and education BLABLA.Ask for proof like a Master Gardener ID for example!

2-BEWARE:There are  salesmen who try to sell you their products like soil,organic fertilizers etc.Simply ask for their price lists and compare with garden outlets/local farmers .The "Fake" Farmers/Salesmen prices are usually way HIGH!

3-BE AWARE:Starting a vegetable garden in your backyard does not need a MEGA BUDGET .You need to start small and in containers to learn the process without breaking your back or bank!Be patient and be prepared!

4-BE AWARE:Ask questions and try to take as many Organic Gardening Classes that are compatable with your HARDINESS ZONE .Example: If you live in a TROPICAL ZONE, try to engage the learning process at a local garden hwere you may check out what grows best and what not  in that particular location.

5-BEWARE:Computer / ELECTRONIC /Distance classes are not a match for a HANDS ON LEARNING! 

6-BE AWARE:There are Urban Farmers who like to share their knowledge for FREE.Check out for FREE classes that are offered by independent local  farmers .

7-BE AWARE:Gardening is a PROCESS! Take your time to learn and implement what you have learned.Nothing grows overnight at the garden!


Check out my FREE Composting class this coming October 8th 2011.For more info, please visit:








Learning HOW to GARDEN the ORGANIC WAY .Grow a GARDEN ! Organic produce prices are set to SOAR!

Organically speaking , in order to learn HOW to grow your own food NATURALLY, you must first shift your mind ,body and spirit into the ORGANIC gear mode!

Nature grows fruits and vegetables in a PROCESS.So , you need to slow down and be patient while working with  the elements and tackling the garden challenges.

Next step is to hook up to a local organic gardening network ,community garden,local urban farmer  to learn from their experience.

Taking a series of Organic Gardening Classes from certified and experienced HORTICULTURIST is  HIGHLY recommended!

From my experience teaching Organic Gardening classes ,here in the TROPICS, I found out that people have a WISHFUL THINKING  DESIRE to grow their own food and $ave, but they take their time and procrastinate before DOING IT!

The prices of organic produce have been sky rocketing lately due to inclement weather ,like flooding,draught etc..

Remember that spending big money on expensive classes that teach you THEORIES and overwhelm you with BLA BLA BLA ,is not enough.

Hands on and practicing what you learn in class is of the ESSENCE, especially  on one on one!

Small group classes give you an opportunity to interact and ask questions in addition to practicng  what you learn right in the GARDEN!

Planning ahead of time for a garden budget,classes,garden work schedule and a small area to start with your experimentation , is of extreme importance.

Practice makes perfect as they say.This is your chance to apply what you have learned.I prefer that you hire a gardening coach to walk you through the gardening process.Learning garden ergonimcs helps you keep your back on track and..your farm firm body out of harm way!

Start small with baby steps .Rekindle  your  zest by reconnecting with MOTHER EARTH!Go grow a productive  garden!Go GREEN and SAVE on GREEN BUCKS before too late.Produce prices are set to SOAR as per study:

 Stay tuned and learn MORE @:!


Gardening as a THERAPY -Part II

I have some ideas that will balance the budget default on who is at fault for the debt crisis and save a lot of tax payers mony on Medicaid and Medicare.Here is one of the most briliant one:

Let the farmers convert their farms and gardens into make shift clinics and hospitals where PHARM products like  carrots and greens will replace the expensive PHARMACEUTICAL priducts like drugs .

Hwere is a study published recently that just supports gardening as a THERAPY.No Kidding!JUst click on the LINK:



Top ten tips- for the garden enthusiast new comers: How to EARN an Organic PRODUCTIVE GARDEN LEARNING?Without HURTING ANYONE!

There are a lot to learn in the gardening process.Here are some tips to consider in case you are considering taking some organic gardening classes;

From my experience teaching organic gardening in South Florida for the last ten years, I have gathered a fortune of advice to the new garden comers.Here are the top ten tips:

1-The head .The Heart.The Hands are your virtual garden tools.Eventually!USE THEM!Protect Them!

A)Clear your head from misconceptions-preconceived ideas-judgements apriori .Empty the excess baggage.

B)Open your heart to new dimensions of exploration and observations.Animals trust their instincts .Humans are more skeptical when they rely only on their heads.Try the heart and guts instincts .You will get connected to the earth vibration through the third eye and heart chakra.Garden is a Therapy and a Spiritual experience not just physical chore!

State a purpose like:You are going to LEARN  HOW to grow and PROVIDE for Your Family and Save on the Grocery Bill ,for example!.You are not going to fight and chastise the messenger -in this case the garden teacher or mentor-You need time to digest what you learned .

C)Doing what you have learned will be the best.hands on classes fair better than the theory only classes.Your hands will be the tools to implement.Your body will be the vehicle to take you to the garden chores.So take care of both your hands and body and learn ERGONOMICS!

2-BE PATIENT.Gardening is a process.You have to learn how to get grounded and do nothing other than immersing your hands in the soil .Take a silence vow to be able to observe and meditate while in the garden.LISTEN!

Some  of my students have the habit of a non stop chatting.They keep their cellphones handy.Their tongue muscle is  always flexed while their hands and body muscles are fluffy and not trained to garden.Train and flex your whole body muscles not just your tongue!

3-Take more than one class in gardening.Try didderent and diverse teachers/mentors and benefit from the knowledge USING IT!

Give yourself the time when you are at the class to learn,observe,ask questions and please do not bring along your cell phone,dog,cat.

4-Respect other students  and  the place where you are invited to learn .Respect the mentor or garden teacher.Some people bring in their negative attitudes to the class.That is not the best thing to do.Instead:turn on the positive attitude with a smile on your face ,a peace in your heart and an open window in your brain.

Do not arrive late to the class.Do not leave early , especially sneaking without paying the class fee.Do not haggle the class fee.Do not ask  racial profiling questions like:Where do you come from?You have an accent, I am curious?Etc.Respect all class associates regardless of their color,ethnic background,religion,race etc..

5-Do your home work :read the information posted at the Web sites of the school or garden teacher:Show that you are a partner in learning and doing what you learn!Bring on your garden questions.Follow class protocol.Avoid chatting in class.Silence your scell phone in class.If you disrupt you might be asked to leave.

6--Be prepared:Put on garden gear , that means no tank tops,no shorts and no flip flops.Pests may be present and garden bugs etc.. .Drink plenty of water .Use the restroom before you enter into the garden class.Take notes.Bring along a pad and pen.

7-Take deep breaths before ,during and after the class.Oxygen helps your brain and your muscles and circulation .Relax .Smell the roses or the herbs of the garden without mutilating or cutting them from their mother.Employ the faculty of TOUCH.It is OK .to touch the soil.the plant .Discard all fear from connecting to other form of life .gardening is the art of growing your living food.Be a live gardener.Beleive in what you are doing!

8-Start small :When you are not sure about the garden budget,the time commitment ,the space limit.

9-Check with your Doctor before you do any physical activity, if it is OK.Especially when you are on medication or disabilty.Learn Ergonomics .Follow safety procedures when in the garden.Florida weather is Extremely hot,humid.Pay attention and listen to your body.

10:Take rest often.Enjoy gardening .It is a THERAPY after all for Body Mind and Spirit..It is not a hard work ,if you work smart.Choose times when the weather is suitable to garden for you.Avoid alchohol , it dehidrates your body.Drink plenty of water.Breathe deeply and have fun.


Low maintenance TOP TEN TIPS to the S.Florida Organic Productive Garden.

What motivated me to write this article is the continuous and never ending complaints I hear , about keeping up with the challenges of growing and MAINTAINING an organic productive garden in S.Florida , from  garden enthusiasts who come to my gardening classes.

Here are some tips and suggestions to tackle this subject.

First it is important to address the nature of the special climate here in South Florida.There are considerations to acknowledge that we fall in the Sub-Tropical agricultural zone 10-11.It means we have to partner with the LOCAL Environment CHALLENGES of: Excessive Heat,Humidity,Sandy Soil and occasional Severe Stormy Weather,to be able to successfuly do gardening.

Maintenance of a garden is the KEY , in my personal opinion.Gardening is a process and it takes awareness,time, patience and offcourse MAINTENANCE!

I-Fruit Trees Maintenance Tips:

1-Upon planting new fruit trees in the backyard , reinforce with scaffolds and stakes .

2-Do not plant trees ,in general ,under or near power lines or structures like a house.

Hurricanes and storms might topple and uproot the trees causing damages to property and lives .

3-Dig a BRIM around the fruit trees ,especially, and cover with mulch to capture and retain moisture.Nourish with Organic ammendments and accepatble composted manure.

4-Prune-Cut-Trim dead branches,excessive growth and folliage according to your local area guidlines .Be careful not to do that during fruitation or blossoming season.Follow specific suggestions according to the different kinds of trees involved.

5)Do not HATRACKING.Follow proper pruning procedures and guidlines of local city /county and state laws.Ask for professional help when in doubt.It is illegal to do HATRACKING in some communities!

6)Recycle yard wastes from trees by using as mulch and composting to reduce the carbon foot print and costs of recycling.

II-Vegetable/Herb/Edible Scaping Maintenance Tips:

Plant heirloum/organic seed varities that are in favor of the climate zone you live .Here are some samples of plants that do well , generally speaking,during the Winter/Spring Seasons :


Tomato(usually classified  under fruit, but commonly misunderstood as a vegetable),collards,cabbage,calaloo(Carribean spinache),beets,carrots,common potato,lettuce,radishes,Winter /Spring beans,peas,green peppers.


Parsley,mint,dandelion,onion,garlic,purple/thai basil,rose mary,cayenne pepper,Neem tree,Kam-Sutra mentha.

3)Edible flowers:


I personally prefer container gardening as an  option .Because:

It  Better controls weeds,saves on water bill and adheres to the water restrictions to conserve on water ,especially when using hose controls while hand watering, rain barrels and drip irrigation .

Contrary to common beleif , container gardening when following the proper procedures like using the above and self watering  containers , is a low maintenance practice.

III-General ,Green Thumb Rules on Organic Gardening Low Maintenance,Top Ten  Tips:

1-Follow water restrictions according to your local area laws.Best time to water is at DEW HOURS (4-6AM) ,depending on the restrictions.When in doubt call  your local authorities for advice.

2-Use mulch as appropriate to retain moisture, control weeds  and counter heat stressing effect on plants.

3-Do not mow lawns at peak heat temperatures and sunny skies.

4- Recycle-Re use-Reduce.

5-Garden wearing garden gear and hydrate by drinking  non-alcoholic fluids to use peak body energy.

6-Conserve on water by using rain barrels and drip irrigation systems.

7-Choose draught tolerant and native plants and grow according to season.

8-Prune-Clip-Trim the proper and professional way.

9-Use plants as shade providers and companion herbs to reduce stress and combat pests.

10-Enrich the soil environment ,periodically after/during growing season, with organic matter,mulch,organic ammendments and compost.Use crop covers.Enrich the community spirit connection ,by sharing harvest with neighbors,soup kitchens and the needy.Give back to the community.


Happy Organic Gardening Maintenance!



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