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Nick Garbarino
Posts: 239
Location: west central Florida
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I am new to this forum, but in the short time I've been on it, I have thoroughly enjoyed it. I've learned much, and I have no doubt this will continue to be a valuable resource. One thing I've learned is that central Florida does not have nearly enough permies. So here's my plea to try to change that. Come to Florida! If you can't make it, tell someone you know. Our real estate prices are incredibly low - I'm talking brand spanky new houses on large lots going for $40/sqft or less. Low property taxes. Historically low interest rates. The old adage is buy low, sell high. Now's the time. It just saddens me to see so many houses that just got built but nobody ever moved in and now they are being taken over by nature just like the TV show Life After People.

Our mild climate = year-round gardening. Summer is actually the season when we harvest the least. Here at our food forest, we expect to be harvesting at least a half dozen perennial fruits, nuts, and berries every month of the year, including citrus, avocado, pineapple guava, blueberries, black berries, pecans and I could go on and on. You can harvest dozens of annuals literally every month of the year. Well, maybe one dozen annuals in August. That's a good time for a trip up north to cool off. We can harvest more than 3 dozen annuals in January. I am not in the real estate business (well my mom rents a house we own, but that doesn't count). My only interest is to see more enlightened people here doing more good things. Granted, unemployment is high but at least there are many, many job opportunities in the medical field. Maybe a bigger whole foods culture would cut into that. I guess to sum it up, I would say that anyone out there looking for a place to go where the winters are mild, definitely consider Florida. I will be glad to answer any questions if I can, but fair warning I may be a bit biased.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9742
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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If I were moving, I would probably move to Florida. My husband is from there (Jacksonville) and has family there whom I adore. I love the flora of northeast Florida. But we're probably not moving.....
 
Philip Smith
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Please excuise me if I appear contrary and rude but I've lived in Tampa,fl. most of my life and pretty much hate it. There are only two seasons in Florida, summer and allergy. the soil/sand/mosquitos suck and there is little to no rainfall, except hurricanes. In 2005 I lived thru three very badass hurricanes in about a three week period.You haven't experienced reality until you go to your local grocer and the store has been ransacked, rotten food, freezers wide open with melted rotten foodlike substances! all because of electricity. I lost mine for two weeks, had to live in a hotel and had to find a kennel for my dogs? It isn't just hurricane season when you loose your power? I lost power twice this week. It's already hot as crap. The point being, there isn't a diversity of real food, nor people producing real food here, and most everyone is totally dependent on electricity for AC. Floridas' food like substances are trucked in. It would take about three to five days, without food and electricity for the conditions to be right for bedlum! I don't know what your food producing skills are or how heat tollerant you are but I doubt that there are very many experienced permies out there that could produce a well balanced food basket to live on in Florida, in these conditions, if need be? Most people go to Wallmart to buy their GMO. If you look at rainfall maps/ drought maps ect; you will see that florida is still in the extreme drought category; and it will continue! Tampa is just becoming aware of eating locally grown food; sush as it is. That $40.00 dollar per sq ft house that seems tempting is a short sale; in a neighborhood that is declinning and loosing value daily. Floridas' economy is/was about 60 to 70 % related directly /indirectly to construction. Then tourism/ second homes.You may find cheaper housing, but you will pay the savings in utility costs, and future scary neighborhoods. You can't live in florida without air conditioning; and that's not a very sustainable position to be in. In my opinion? If I were to buy land in florida; it would be in northern florida, High Springs and going North. if I had a choice I would move to an area of the world with moderate average rainfall, with soil conditions to grow a wide variety of food. Hopefully in area with a wealth of people near by doing the samething for the same reasons. A independent , more secure , sustainable model of living. I would be offgrid, with atleast two sources of water. I will never buy a neighborhood type house again. I will buy land, based on climate, soil , and permaculture/ food foresting principles and for sure the abode will be designed correctly and well thought out. Please feel free to correct me. If there are other people out there living in Florida who have a different take , let me know.
 
Jason Long
Posts: 153
Location: Davie, Fl
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You haven't experienced reality until you go to your local grocer and the store has been ransacked, rotten food, freezers wide open with melted rotten foodlike substances! all because of electricity. I lost mine for two weeks, had to live in a hotel and had to find a kennel for my dogs? It isn't just hurricane season when you loose your power?


Thats the importance of having permies in central Florida. You don't need a fridge or freezer when you are growing your own food. Yes, it is great to have them but in times of crisis you can always go out and harvest your roots, fruits, leaves, and shoots. Also, we should never depend on one energy source. Depending completely on the city and not having back up wind, micro hydro, or solar will typically result in these issues.

the soil/sand/mosquitos suck


This is 100% true. Living close to the everglades come summer time is really, really intense with the mosquitos. I don't imagine this area that I am at was ever intended for much human population.

Soil can be built. Where I live there is 2-8 inches of "soil" and the rest is all oolitic limestone. I have been to old tree farms that have thick black soil. The most beautiful soil I have EVER seen, all because the land was covered by trees.

It's already hot as crap. The point being, there isn't a diversity of real food, nor people producing real food here, and most everyone is totally dependent on electricity for AC.

That is a bummer. I am down in Redland, FL (just north of the keys) and it isn't that bad yet. I mean we have had our warm/hot days but I wouldn't call it that bad to need an AC. I farm all day outside in the sun too.


Floridas' food like substances are trucked in. It would take about three to five days, without food and electricity for the conditions to be right for bedlum

This is a problem most places, unfortunately. Especially northern states come winter time. Atleast in Florida we can grow food all year. The benefits to the north is that you can store lots of (certain) food in the cellar throughout the winter.

I don't know what your food producing skills are or how heat tollerant you are but I doubt that there are very many experienced permies out there that could produce a well balanced food basket to live on in Florida, in these conditions, if need be?


I do not believe this statement is true, by any means. There are TONS of perennial leafy greens, starchy tubers, sweet fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds that we can grow through out most of the year. This definitely includes Tampa.

Now, I believe that it will be tough to grow EVERYONE food on the land we have, especially down here in Miami dade county. There are way too many people and not enough land. The sea would provide lots of food for those who ate meat, and those who don't (like me) would probably have to start.


If you look at rainfall maps/ drought maps ect; you will see that florida is still in the extreme drought category; and it will continue!


Down here in Miami dade 78% of our rain comes in the wet season (summer) and only 22% in dry season. Through proper earth works and water harvesting this is no problem at all. Tampas average 46 inches of rain can provide enough water when designed and consumed properly.

You can't live in florida without air conditioning; and that's not a very sustainable position to be in.


I slightly disagree. Keyword being slightly Tampa's highest temperature recorded was 99 degrees in 1980. I grow up in MA and it can get hotter there in the summer and we never used AC (we used fans). The humidity is a lot stronger hear which makes it a little more difficult. By designing properly ventilated houses that are built in the shade of a strong tree that will not cause issues during hurricanes would cancel out ACs.


After all of this being said, I do not plan to live in Florida for the rest of my life. I am a tropical soul, and do not like extreme temperatures. It is really humid here and as mentioned it can get super hot. I would prefer to live in a climate that averages 60-80F all year round. I would like to live in an area where I could grow all of the tropicals like durian, mangosteen, rambutan, etc. I am a rural person, cities are not for me.

I currently live in a rural agricultural district. A lot of my neighbors are conventional farmers and conventional nursery folks. It is not uncommon to smell their fungicides, pesticides, fertilizers, and herbicides. It is definitely the norm to see folks outside spraying. This is not safe for anyones health, and is one of the main reasons why I am not going to live here. If I go north or south it starts to become city or suburbia (and has a slightly colder winter which minimizes some more tropicals) and still has temperature extremes.

However, I do love working on a 22 acre permaculture farm
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9742
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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You can't live in florida without air conditioning; and that's not a very sustainable position to be in.


My husband grew up in Florida without air conditioning, as did virtually every Floridian of mature years. Same with everyone else living in the South before the advent of home air conditioning. Not to mention all the other hot places on the planet, thoroughly populated by living humans before AC.

 
Food Forest
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nick i pm'd you
 
Deb Stephens
Posts: 398
Location: SW Missouri, Zone 7a
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books dog food preservation forest garden goat trees
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Tyler Ludens wrote:

You can't live in florida without air conditioning; and that's not a very sustainable position to be in.


My husband grew up in Florida without air conditioning, as did virtually every Floridian of mature years. Same with everyone else living in the South before the advent of home air conditioning. Not to mention all the other hot places on the planet, thoroughly populated by living humans before AC.



I am a native Missourian, but I did live in Florida through my teen years, and I have to agree with Tyler -- you don't have to have air conditioning to live anywhere in the south. (Heck, Missouri heat & humidity top Florida's by a mile!) The biggest problem with people needing AC is not the heat itself but the style of housing.

In earlier times, folks built houses that were up off the ground -- with open crawl spaces, no floor insulation and big wide porches all around. Those houses were adapted to Florida weather. You got constant airflow from under the house where the house itself (with those wide porches) kept the ground cool. The shade from the porch overhang kept the sun out of the house to keep it cooler as well. Nowadays, all the housing in Florida looks just like all the housing in Minnesota or Nevada or New York or Kansas. Everything is stamped out in perfect packaged units and plopped down anywhere without any consideration of the climate or the culture. That style of prefabricated box is not designed to be a part of the environment, but a container for holding people inside in climate controlled conditions. Without the climate control (AC and central heat) you will suffocate and die like a bug in a jar.

Where you live is not so important as how. If you want to live anywhere, you must really take the time to understand your environment and adapt your house (and lifestyle) to its most significant aspects. My advice to anyone who thinks AC is a necessity, is to spend more time outside year round so you can adapt to changes in the weather. Oh, and get out of that box and build yourself a dogtrot!
 
Philip Smith
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The biggest problem with people needing AC is not the heat itself but the style of housing.

I agree. I too grew up in Florida without A.C.; but I also remember it being really hot also. we used a box fan in the window that sucked the hot air out. Also we had an Attic fan.


In earlier times, folks built houses that were up off the ground -- with open crawl spaces, no floor insulation and big wide porches all around. Those houses were adapted to Florida weather. You got constant airflow from under the house where the house itself (with those wide porches) kept the ground cool. The shade from the porch overhang kept the sun out of the house to keep it cooler as well.

They also had sleeping porches and breeze ways as well. Having said that; there wasn't all the concrete,buildings, parking lots. All the vegetation wasn't cut down to build mcmansions and strip malls that are empty; and of course there weren't all the motors/ compressors running; producing heat as well. There weren't all the freeways and cars as well. Also I remember as a kid growing up, we also had seasons in Florida. during the summer like clockwork it would rain every afternoon. It would sometimes drizzle all day for a week on end. Those days appear to be over for now? If I stay in Florida I will be building a (florida cracker style house) If you remember the movie called " Doc Hollywood" with Michael J. Fox ; which was filmed in Micanopy Florida and surrouding towns; you may recall the House his sweetie lived in. That is what my house in part will look like. Of course tweeked with a permacuture design science approach. That movie is one of my favorites. I would love to live in a community like the one depicted in that movie. The squash capital. IT will be in the nineties this week in Micanopy, Florida. the average rainfall 3.03 in. for April , 3.70 in. for May.
 
Nick Garbarino
Posts: 239
Location: west central Florida
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Philip, I think Jason addressed most of your points, and I agree with guess who - Jason! I don't think too many people are aware of what we have here in Hernando county, adjacent to the Nature Coast. We're north of Spring Hill, NW of Brooksville. We don't have much pavement or concrete. Our heavy forest and coast keeps it cooler, night and day. And the coast keeps us warmer in the winter. I still use A/C and I don't intend to stop, but our power bill is not bad at all. Philip, I'm guessing you would be happier if you got out of the city. Oh, and yes I am quite capable of producing a lot of food, every month of the year because I know how to work with nature and let her do most of the work, and make wonderful soil out of sand. I lived in Phoenix for 7 years, and bro you don't know what a desert is. We produced more annual veggies than we could eat on a small suburban lot, but we did have to use a lot of water and the price of water was going up, so that helped us decide to get out of there. Oh and no the $40/sqft brand new homes are not short sales. We just bought one. They are everywhere around here. As for housing values, they have to bottom out eventually, and anyone who is still waiting for that is taking a risk that they will miss the bottom. We're miles from the coast and 80 foot elevation, so we can make it through hurricanes, especially with all of the shutters we have. This place is paradise compared to the places I have lived, including AZ, TX, AL, GA. I'm not dissing those places. I just like warm winters and we have that here without having to suffer through only 7 inches of annual rainfall (Phoenix). I attached my food forest plant list, which is just getting started, to prove to anyone interested how many things we can grow here. If anyone doesn't think anything on the list will grow here, please speak up. There will be many more plants added to our food forest as I learn what else is possible. Oh, and Food Forest, I replied but it apparently didn't take. I'll try again. Thanks, folks for giving me the opportunity to further my case, and especially those of you who are helping me make my case. Yall take care.
Filename: Garbarino-food-forest.pdf
File size: 81 Kbytes
 
Jason Long
Posts: 153
Location: Davie, Fl
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Hi Nick,
If you are in Zone 9A, I would add (all of these should perennials where you are):
Roots:
taro, malanga, cassava, boniato, chuffa, ground nut (apios americana native, nitrogen fixing, tuber, ground cover), earth pea (Lathyrus tuberosus, native, nitrogen fixing, tuber, 3ft shrub ), ginger, turmeric, galangal.

Nitrogen fixing:
Arachis glabrata (native), arachis pintoi (native)

Leaves:
okinawa spinach, brazillian spinach (aka sissoo spinach), malabar spinach, chaya (cooked), cassava (cooked), boniato/sweet potato(cooked), belembe(cooked),

Herbs:
Dill, borage, chamomile, sage, tulsi, basils

Fruits (understory):
grumichama (zone 10, create microclimate), peppers, banana (light shade), papaya, (light shade), persimmon

Fruits (vines)
passion fruit, seminole pumpkin, chayote, luffa

The list could go further. I am more of a subtropical plant geek and you are pretty close to this.

Here is a document I wrote about Subtropical mulch plants for permaculture and agroforestry. The information includes plant species and their uses, chop and dropping, and incorporating them into your polyculture/ guilds.

I hope you enjoy!
 
Jason Long
Posts: 153
Location: Davie, Fl
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By the way, great list! Is this established? If not, have you started planting yet or are you waiting until the end of May for the rains to start to come down harder?
 
Nick Garbarino
Posts: 239
Location: west central Florida
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Jason, your reply gave me more useful information than anything else I've obtained outside of Hemenway and Jacke. Thank you very muchas gracias my friend. I did not include annuals on my list, which I still enjoy planting, although not as much since turning my attention so much more to edible perennials. So a lot of your lists's annuals I do have already planted. I did have chamomile on there (Roman), but I see many, many more perennials that I will now look into. Yes, we are in zone 9A. Any plant on my list that has a number in the quantity column is already a growing member of the food forest-to be. Those that have a blank in that column are planned, but not yet in the ground, and they will all be in multiples. I have room for 12 more trees, and 2 of those will be chestnuts. The others will be smaller trees - pawpaw, kumquat, jujube, another orange and mandarin. So, yes almost everything is newly established and looking good so far. One sweet marjoram is a little stressed because I put it in a bad place (a hotspot below a retainer wall). One fig is stressed a little from the direct sun, so I'm getting some giant sunflowers going to give it some shade. The other figs are bigger and hardened to the sun. Everything else is looking very good. Anyway, I'm trying to get as much as possible in the ground in time for the rainy season. We're already harvesting blueberries and blackberries that were on the plants when they were still in the pots. I know we'll be harvesting mainly annuals for the next few years, and we'll have to be patient waiting for the trees to start producing. At least the mulberries should start fruiting relatively soon. Thanks again so very much. You can be assured that I will be poring over all the information you sent. You da man........
 
Jason Long
Posts: 153
Location: Davie, Fl
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My pleasure Nick


Barbados cherry will be another great understory tree. The fruit is delicious, there are both tart and sweet varieties. It makes a really good juice.

You should get Eric Toensmeiers Perennial Vegetables. Eric wrote Edible Forest Gardening with David Jacke. Actually, he is teaching a 5 day forest gardening workshop on our farm. The students will be designing the understory layers of our 3.5 acre forest garden. We have planted out most of the overstory very late in the wet season last year ( I wanted to wait until this wet season, but politics made us plant the end of the season last year.)

If you have your PDC, at the end of the course you will have an advanced PDC.

If you are interested, check out http://earth-learning.org/index.php?option=content&Itemid=77&task=view&id=101.

Hit me up when needed, as this is my passion just as it is yours. The one difference is, I get paid to do this

Jason
 
Food Forest
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any good resources for someone looking to buy acres and start food foresting in florida?
 
Jason Long
Posts: 153
Location: Davie, Fl
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PS, some of our figs we have planted are being nursed by pigeon pea. They are still short at only 2 feet high.
 
Nick Garbarino
Posts: 239
Location: west central Florida
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Jason,

What's the name of your company and food farm? My wife and I are scuba instructors and I'm wondering if we could drop in on our way to the Keys, maybe some time this summer. Would you consider the ECHO garden in N Ft Myers a true food forest or more of a demonstration project for public education? I'm making a list of food forests in Florida, and yours qualifies. I'll take your word on it regarding the ECHO project. I heard there's a food forest "at a college near Naples". Any idea what that is?

I do not have a PDC. I'm "self-taught". There's a strong organic gardening culture in Austin, TX where I got a lot of my experience. Seems like permaculture is the next logical step. I was planning to get Perennial Vegetables after finishing Edible Forest Gardens, which is going to be a while. I have a BS in biology and have always been interested primarily in Ecology - that's why I love diving on coral reefs. I spent 30 years doing water treatment for power plants and now that I'm retired (at 52) I can spend full time playing in the garden. I taught myself how to play guitar and sing good enough to make some mad money, so I'm confident I can become a competent permaculturist without a PDC. My garden is my credential, although being retired I don't actually need a credential. Just out of curiosity, how much do they charge for those courses?

I was just noticing that you're saying that annuals like basil may be perennial here. That would be cool. It seems this area gets that one or two nights a year of temps down to 28, so we'll see. In the spirit of reducing the workload, I'm wanting to avoid having to provide special protective measures, like covering things. Would basil self-seed readily here? Might could do zone 10 stuff on the south exterior wall of the house, but that area's running out of room rapidly......Anyway, yes it sounds like you have a great job. Glad you're willing to share what you know. Take it easy.

Nick
 
Nick Garbarino
Posts: 239
Location: west central Florida
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Food Forest, to get back to you regarding land, all I know is the half acre lots in my neighborhood go for as low as $9K. However, you're better off in my opinion buying one of the lots that have a brand new house on them. For $90K you can have a property that would cost $180K to build. These homes are being taken over by 8 foot tall early succession plants, just like the TV show "Life after people". Many of them have never been lived in, and mice are starting to build nests on the brand new carpet inside. The houses here all have their own well, with the best well water I've ever tasted, about 65 ppm hardness (as CaCO3). We have our own septic systems. When solar systems get more efficient (hopefully), we'll be able to get off the grid completely. Less than 10% of the lots here have been built on. I'd like to see permies moving in here and planting food forests rather than the typical approach - clearing the lot bare. As for larger pieces of land, I'm sure this area of Florida has some good deals, but I don't have any specifics on that. I do not know of any resources available other than historically low interest rates and probably the lowest real estate prices we'll probably ever see in our life time. Since our property is surrounded by natural forest, mother nature provides tremendous resources for forest gardening here.
 
Philip Smith
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Nick

"I attached my food forest plant list, which is just getting started, to prove to anyone interested how many things we can grow here. If anyone doesn't think anything on the list will grow here, please speak up."


Thank you for the post with the list. You build a good case for Florida. I have saved your PDF(food forest plant list) for future reference. Thanks again.
 
Jason Long
Posts: 153
Location: Davie, Fl
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The organization I work for is called Earth Learning and the farm's (current) name is The Farm at Verde Gardens. Verde Gardens is a community of 144 families that were formerly homeless. When creating the community they worked a 22 acre farm into the plan in order to create jobs. Most the farmers out here grow tomatoes, soy beans, bitter melon, squash which means all of the people who applied to get this land (that used to be part of the US airbase) all wanted to do mono crops. We came in talking about food forest, alley crop, silvapasture, timber forests, goats, chickens, water buffalo, cows, and what not. After the committee heard this, we got the land. We have been working the land for almost one year now. It is an honor to be here. We are located in Homestead, FL 5 minutes away from the Florida Turnpike. It would be a great stop on your way to the keys.

I understand the self taught method. Most of my knowledge has been self taught. I didn't get my PDC untill joining the apprenticeship program on the farm (which is how I became the perennial manager).

There are all different types of classes with different prices here. There is a paid apprenticeship program as well. This class is $500 for the 5 days with all meals included.

If the frost was strong enough to snap back the basil, it should easily reseed the next year from all of the seed they produce. Down here, if we make sure to remove the flowers we continue having strong healthy plants. Wants they go to seed, they put all of there energy into producing seed head and slow down on leaf growth. The great thing is that the flowers can be used like basil and they make amazing tea.

Things like rosemary, marjoram, and oregano would be perennial where you are even with the cold. I use to grow those in MA and they would grow back every year.

For mulching / root crop/ barrier plant, you can add Cannas Edulis. Also, daylillies are great to add for a root crop/barrier plant.


 
Nick Garbarino
Posts: 239
Location: west central Florida
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You're welcome Philip. Best of luck. Thanks again, Jason. We'll plan on stopping by hopefully later this summer.

Nick Garbarino
Certifiable Food Forest Manager
 
Adam Old
Posts: 18
Location: Miami, FL - Zone 10b
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Hey all, I'm new to this forum, but I've been living in South FL for a handful of years now, trying to incorporate some permaculture design techniques to my little quarter acre down here. just thought I'd say hello.

I've had a rough time with the totally different soil, pests and growing conditions from Central California where I grew up, but slowly started finding what works and what doesn't. Plus, having mangos and pineapples and passionfruit growing on my doorstep is pretty excellent.
 
Jason Long
Posts: 153
Location: Davie, Fl
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Adam,
Welcome to the forum. Where are you located?

Believe me, I fully understand. I come from MA so lets talk about an extreme difference. With careful observations it is really easy to adapt to here if you have an open mind. It appears you have been here longer than me; I have been here for less than two years now.

Every day is an opportunity to learn and experiment.

I love what Eric Toensmeier once said to me, "I have made a lot of mistakes to get to where I am today. I have made much more mistakes than I have made right. I now know exactly what not to do.". Or something along those lines

Cheers!
 
Adam Old
Posts: 18
Location: Miami, FL - Zone 10b
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I live in El Portal, just north of Miami proper on the Coastal Ridge beside the Little River. I love all the Toensmeier books, I wish I had known he was lecturing in May--I would have come!
 
Gail Moore
Posts: 213
Location: south central Appalachia, southwest Virginia, US zone 6/7
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Hi all, maybe some of you in Florida could be resource people for helping research Hyper-wattle in a warm, humid climate:


http://www.permies.com/t/15884/green-building/Hyper-Wattle-Seeking-site-small

BLessings to all.
Max
 
David Chapman
Posts: 36
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If anyone else is in Naples, hit me up! I'm specifically in Golden Gate Estates (the best place in FL for farming heheh) and would love to connect with others!
 
David Chapman
Posts: 36
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Jason Long wrote:
Roots:
taro,earth pea (Lathyrus tuberosus, native, nitrogen fixing, tuber, 3ft shrub ),

Nitrogen fixing:
Arachis glabrata (native), arachis pintoi (native)


Jason,

I'm in Naples. Do you know where I can acquire the above? I'm willing to travel to Homestead if need be.

Thank you!
 
David Royal
Posts: 2
Location: Tampa Bay Area (zone 9B)
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Hi folks,

I'm new both to home / land ownership and to permaculture. I'd like to gradually convert the property we have (a small lot in Temple Terrace -- just outside of Tampa Bay -- zone 9B) to more food-bearing plants. We've got collards, sweet potatoes, bananas and (I think) a pomegranate right now, and I've planted an avocado tree. For starters, I'd like to get blackberries (brazos), purple passion fruit and a celeste fig tree. Can anyone recommend a good nursery in the Tampa Bay area?

Also, thanks to the folks who posted their food forest lists here. I'll definitely check those out. I'm doing a weekend course (1 part of a PDC) on food production in September, so I'm sure I'll have some more questions after that!

Thanks,
Dave
 
C Hopper
Posts: 24
Location: Southwest Florida, Zone 10a, Elevation 12ft, 52in precipitation, tropical wet and dry savanna type
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David Chapman wrote:
Roots:
taro

I'm in Naples. Do you know where I can acquire the above? I'm willing to travel to Homestead if need be.

Thank you!

David,
I too am in Naples. I highly reccommend ECHO (Echonet.org) on Durrant Rd in Fort Myers. I know for a fact that they have taro on the farm, and if I'm not mistaken they sell it in the gift shop/nursery along with many great tropical food plants.
 
Charlei Scott
Posts: 36
Location: Charlestown, IN
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I have only lived in Tampa, FL for about 6 years, but that's the longest I've lived anywhere in my life. I didn't start gardening until a coupe of years ago, here, and despite the fact that you can grow a lot of semi-tropicals and tropicals if you've got the right setup, it is much more difficult to grow things that need more temperate regions because of the heat.

My husband and I would like to get a bit more land eventually so we can have more animals with our small farm, and I definitely want to have an orchard with apples and pears, and a lot of varietieis simply won't produce well or won't produce at all because there are hardly any chill hours to speak of this far south. We got literally one night of freeze last year and only one other one that came close.

Our fall garden is everyone else's spring garden, so it's nice to know we can have tomatoes with other people can't, but we couldn't have a sweet cherry tree here for the life of us.

Yeah, the bugs, sandspurs, humidity, and sand can suck - but there are going to be things that suck no matter where you go. Viriginia was beautiful, but it had some temps and humidity worse than FL some years. I wouldn't say Tampa just sucks, I just know that Central Florida isn't the kind of climate that I'd want long term for the sort of things that are important for us to grow.
 
David Chapman
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C Hopper wrote:
David Chapman wrote:
Roots:
taro
I'm in Naples. Do you know where I can acquire the above? I'm willing to travel to Homestead if need be.

Thank you!


David,
I too am in Naples. I highly reccommend ECHO (Echonet.org) on Durrant Rd in Fort Myers. I know for a fact that they have taro on the farm, and if I'm not mistaken they sell it in the gift shop/nursery along with many great tropical food plants.

Thanks! I definitely want to head to ECHO one day soon.
If you'd ever like to get together and talk permaculture, lunch is on me. Just PM me.
 
C Hopper
Posts: 24
Location: Southwest Florida, Zone 10a, Elevation 12ft, 52in precipitation, tropical wet and dry savanna type
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David Chapman wrote:
If you'd ever like to get together and talk permaculture, lunch is on me. Just PM me.


Ha! I will take you up on that offer!

My wife and I are planning to purchase (summer of 2013) as large a piece as we can afford in Golden Gate. I have wild dreams of growing a semi-autonomous permaculture centric homestead. By late next year we should have the cash put by for a downpayment.

I don't have much physical experience with implimenting permaculture but I think I'm pretty book smart. If you have a need for another strong back to help with implementing your plans, I would be happy to gain some experience.
 
David Chapman
Posts: 36
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It sounds like you and I share the same dream! You can come learn not to make the same mistakes as me

Here's my progress so far: http://www.permies.com/t/18173/permaculture/Florida-Food-Forest-Farm

You're welcome to come by and check things out and have lunch here. I overcook a mean steak on the BBQ.
 
Charlei Scott
Posts: 36
Location: Charlestown, IN
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David Royal wrote: I'd like to gradually convert the property we have (a small lot in Temple Terrace -- just outside of Tampa Bay -- zone 9B) to more food-bearing plants. We've got collards, sweet potatoes, bananas and (I think) a pomegranate right now, and I've planted an avocado tree. For starters, I'd like to get blackberries (brazos), purple passion fruit and a celeste fig tree. Can anyone recommend a good nursery in the Tampa Bay area?


I take it you're not in a part of TT that has an HOA, because I know some people in Raintree who have had problems already trying to put in a garden and they have some tacky houses, but apparently plants are less ok. I'm in the Seminole Heights area and my husband and I have looked all around for a good nursery, but honestly I'd recommend the USF Plant Festivals for the best selection and plants. Most of the other nurseries have a slightly larger selection of plants from the same commercial places as Home Depot and Lowe's, but at the plant festival people come from different parts of FL and bring plants. The Fall Festival is this weekend. It's $5 if you aren't a botanical garden's member, but it's totally worth it. Tons of fruit trees, Florida natives, exotic fruit species, herbs, and the like. I go almost exclusively for edibles, though I did get some carnivorous plants last time that are just for fun.

I would be interested to know what you've had good luck with though, since certain things just don't seem to grow well in the Tampa area, but I know a decent network of people who at least grow some of their own food and are very interested in or involved in permaculture on some level.

 
S Bengi
Posts: 1359
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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I plan on starting a food forest in Feb/March. I would really like help. Is anyone available.
This is my current garden in Boston, MA but it is too cold for me. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AjpWBJwPQ0nMdEpjV1AwcVJ0dGFZbnVpVEw0RlFQR0E
 
Koreen Brennan
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It's good to read other people's experience in Florida. We have similar experiences - abundance of delicious, though not always the most familiar foods, and the ability to build great soils if you have the know how. I especially love the perennial greens we can grow here like chaya, moringa, katuk, wild lettuce and on and on. Greens all year round, in abundance, that you don't have to constantly replant and reseed! We're offering an Urban permaculture design course that emphasizes Florida plants, climate, natural building, etc one weekend per month starting July 13. We offer apprenticeship opportunities on upcoming designs (including a public food forest and other public projects), career pathways, and a number of other extras during the course.

Koreen Brennan
growpermaculture.com
 
Tim Eastham
Posts: 52
Location: USDA Climate Zone 9, Central Florida
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I love gardening in FL. Stating extreme weather cases like hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, etc. are just that - extreme cases. We have had no hurricanes since then. I lived through the 3 hurricanes and yes it sucked. Florida may be considered in drought but drought is a factor to indicate a deviation from a normal. There is no normal in climate. It is always changing. Central Florida, where I live, gets 50" of rain on average per year. Fifty inches! That is not moderate rain - it is excessive! I love it! Tampa suffers because the system in Tampa is designed to water lawns based upon what they expect to get from rain, not what they actually get.

Our list of what we can't grow is so small and our list of what we can grow exceeds most other places in the United States. We can garden year round and most of the time don't need to preserve food unless we just want to be eating those loquats, grapes, or pears in off season times. We have conventional greens in the winter/spring and tropical greens at other times of the year. We get 2 season for annual veggies and wouldn't want to grow tomatoes in the summer anyway because the cilantro bolts then

Most of our legume trees don't have nasty thorns, but they are considered invasive by the people that make us sad.

And we have tons of lakes to fish and wild pigs to hunt too.
 
Carol Taylor
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Hello fellow Floridians! We will be in the Naples area this Wednesday through Friday (May 21st). I am curious if you know of any local food forests, edible plant nurseries, or wild food walks in the area? Much appreciated!
 
tylerjz zender
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submerged in americas toxic soup
Life here gasping for fresh air now but
Long ago hunched on all fours we had to prove ourselves build strength learn and with time soon be rewarded the respect to stand tall and erect now days we have lost his respect by going against his ways... The way food is so far from nature the way it is so far from what it was intended the food made in the lab an not in the woods..... We have lost his respect for we have lost our ability to live long joyful lives we know longer stand tall because or backs are weak for our bellies are large and were sick from what we eat and how we degenerate our system with toxic synthetic pills being misled like were some sort of a lab rat econimcly strapped to the slave driven society working our lives away for meaningless tasks not for what were meant to or our hearts urge us to but what were told to or led to doesn’t have to be the ending but your start to new beginning
We diss his grace as we build our own graves down a road of treachery you mustn’t hesitate to ask for his forgiveness seek the questions to ask that your heart desires to know thee answers to.... For its a dying world out there be a part of the team who is thee earths life support (PERMACULTURE)


I want to help any way i can. Learning everything from efficient living permaculture/horticulture hugelkultur off grid sustainable farming/gardening grey water systems to cob building and managing a food forest to feed people natural whole chemical free foods to grafting quicking and easing the fruit production fermenting for preserving improving and properly preparing food for better health to be keeping as our pharmacies it all intrigues me but I don’t know where I should take my first steps where and I should spend my money and time what would be best

I was wondering if you had any courses in mind I could take or if you have a direction you could point me in to take my first steps.. Ide like hands on work an to be surrounded by like-minded caring people to do better knowing there’s people out there that have me on their radar and know what I’m after. Now that I am a fresh graduate from high school her in Cape Coral FL I want to further my education in sustainable living and permaculture.
Thank you sincerely
Tyler Zender
 
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