Most people tell me they find it intimidating to grow fruits and vegetables in Florida. . Personally , I went through the same experience. Gardening in South Florida is different ,but not difficult,because the region falls under the TROPICAL and SUB-TROPICAL zones 9-10-11.
I found it helpful to graduate from the - Florida Master Gardener Certification program . Florida Horticultural EDUCATION helped me a lot to acquire the KNOW-HOW skills .BUT the Most important factor was my 10 years of HANDS-ON local community NATURAL farming and gardening EXPERIENCE.As they say,practice makes perfect! There is no shortage of out of state gardening books collecting dust on the shelves nor for out of state gardeners who moved to retire in Florida.But there are shortages in finding Florida EDUCATED and FLORIDA EXPERIENCED Organic "LOCALLY GROWN " gardeners and farmers.Best bet is to start networking and checking internet sites like the popular:localharvest.org
We have been experiencing DRAUGHT and major Hurricanes during the last five years.This led me to experiment on Container gardening as a safegaurd flexible horticultural process that adapts and addresses to such kind of hardship inclement weather.
Florida Vegetable Container Gardening TIPS.
Benefits and TIPS on Florida fruits and Vegies Container gardening :
1-It is easy and instant.If you have no back/front yard and live in an apartment with a patio or private entrance ,then you can do it.With the economy in a grinding crunch , saving on the grocery bills by growing your own organic food is not a bad idea.
2-You will by-pass the problematic disease and nematodes infested Florida sandy soil .Pesticides and fertilizers free container gardening is even easier to do in containers than otherwise.To discourage unwanted bad bugs , experiment with vegies companion herbs like Cuban oregano .
3-Container gardening is resistant to Hurricanes(you can shelter indoors) and Water restrictions/Draught drills and dilemmas(you will save onwater bill, fines and tickets) .
4-Container gardening is almost a weed free gardening if you use your own home made soil mix.
5-Most of the following can be grown in containers : a)Vegies-Tomato,peppers,eggplant,beans,lettuce,green onion,squash,sweat potatos,yams,cucumber and more...
b)Herbs- Basil,rosemary,Cuban oregano,aloe vera,parsley,mint,cilantro and more.
c)Fruit trees- Mango,papaya,pineapple,pommgranate,fig,citrus etc
d) Edible flowers-Sunflower,nasturtium,marygold etc
For a start up kit what you need are the following:
1-Containers: 5 gallon and 6-10 inch .
2-seeds and growers flats and pots.Start seeds inside away from sizzling outdoors heat.
3-Home made Organic soil: A mix of saw dust, sphagnum peat moss,vermiculites,perlites,compost.Experiment!
4-Hook up with a local organic local farmer network.Visit localharvest web page , network and check events calender for local workshops and classes .
5- JUST DO IT!