As a Florida Certified Horticulturist who is currently involved in offering gardening classes ,consultations,and growing my own food locally , I can attest to the following garden challenges and solutions for the new comer garden enthusiasts :
1-LACKING LOCAL EDUCATION-UNDERSTANDING LOCAL ENVIRONMENT:S. East Florida WARMER climate falls under the tropical regional category dominated by excessive heat,rain ,pests,tropical storms,humidity and SANDY ACIDIC SOIL .There is no easy way to garden other than a week end warrior- gardener .Simply said you need to immerse your hands in the soil and sweat . Hands ON learning is the sollution ..This entails taking garden classes offered by LOCAL certified Florida Horticulturists who have studied the Tropical way of gardening at local schools or colleges like for instance :UF -extension Master Gardeners.Other self proclaimed farmers or gardeners who learned and farmed at a COLDER CLIMATE US-REGION like Alaska for example will be a risk to take .One of my students was a qualified farmer snow bird from" UP NORTH ",who was hired to be a manager of a productive garden by a REPUTABLE world famous Wellness Health Institute "DownSouth" Florida".He confessed to me that he is having difficulty to GROW healthy vegetables as he was not familiar with the SANDY SOIL of Florida .He asked for my help to teach him how to ammend and create a fertile organic soil.The IRONY is he posted a vaccancy for a gardener position and when I applied he turned my offer down as he felt that I might be a THREAT to take over his position ,as I have more local know how and experience than him.I laugh at such organizations that lack the common sense of hiring LOCALLY.They sense that their PRIORITY is making money LOCALLY while hiring from OUT of State or GLOBALLY!! Solution:Learn from a locally CERTIFIED -EDUCATED and EXPERIENCED gardeners -farmers.Learn from a Local.Grow local.Eat Local.HIRE LOCAL...It is all about local...s.....
2-LACKING LOCAL FERTILE SOIL :Sandy soil is infested with nematodes,debris,fertilizers to say the least.It is lacking HUMUS,worms,organic matter,minerals,beneficial bacteria ,compost and much more.Local farms have long been transformed into gated communities and developments .Alternative solution?New comers ,especially snow birds with swollen wallets ,flood garden centers and spend fortunes on packaged soil that is ENRICHED with SLUDGE(reconstituted human sewage ),cow manure rich in steroids hormones ,antibiotics ,cow vaccine byproducts,sand contaminated with nematodes to mention a few.You figure out the rest?.Solution:Make your own soil.Take garden classes or research the internet /books to learn how .
3-Lacking local time to garden:People have time to work and make money.It makes common sense to find time to garden and grow your own food to EAT LOCALLY GROWN fruits and Veggies that contribute to keeping you HEALTHY in Body-Mind-Spirit.Unhealthy people working two jobs to pay the bills are actually giving more value to their DOLLAR than to their LIFE..Solution:Budget your time to make more time to grow your own healthy food .What is the use of being RICH with accumulated wealth when you have POOR health ?
4-Lacking local and space to garden:Welcome to S.Florida the land of SAND and DEVELOPMENTS!.Sand sand every where but no Land to grow food.Remember :"Water water every where but no water to drink "??Solution:Join a community garden.Grow a vertical garden at your limited space.Grow food in containers.
5-Growing Local GREEN FOOD means NOT going "LOCO" or GREEN "brain"WASHED : :That is the most challenging question.HOW TO BE A REAL GROWER not a VIRTUAL ONE.Get involved .Get your hands dirty not your head or heart.If you live in S.Florida sign up for my gardening classes which offer a lot of REAL LOCAL solutions for LAZY gardeners .Find more reasons why to do so by reading my blog at:localharvest.org/farms/M20618.