I have lived on my 1/5th acre plot in NE Florida for nearly 5 years now, and though the local weather station calculates an average rainfall of around 60 inches per year, my location seems to be a magnet for heavy rainfall and we get closer to 75-80 inches a year according to the local WUnderground stations. Even days with no rain my yard fills with water since we are slightly downhill from adjacent properties. Additionally, the property does not have the typical Florida sand, but a rich loam with clay just 18 inches below grade (for which I am grateful). However, other than in April/May, I am fighting water. I have done some minor contouring to try and help keep the water flowing and provide habitable areas for fruittrees and vegetables, but wet feet always drown vegetation. I have grown papayas to near ripeness only to have them collapse or drown. Proper fruit trees do okay, but instead of flourishing during the summer monsoon, they struggle. I know I may have to contour even more, but I do not think that will completely solve the problem. I know bananas and taro do well with excessive water, and I utilize them accordingly. Edible hibiscus, ginger, turmeric, and cucuzza squash also seem to tolerate the soggy earth, but my calorie crops like Seminole pumpkin and sweet potato drown and die. Any other fruit/vegetables you guys are aware of that tolerate periods of “wet feet” or soggy conditions? Any other tips/ideas for creating a food forest in these conditions?
when my folks had a fish farm in palatka on the st johns river most of the property was in ponds but there were several acres in the back that was soggy most of the year, this was across road from the river side and it was planted in pine trees for the nearby paper mill. but there was also some area that was always wet it was like a sphagnum moss peat bog.
we never even dared ever put the dozer or any other machine in it cuz it probably would have sunk never to be seen again.
but if you have good loamy soil that is just saturated in the wet season, raised beds and drainage trenches between them might be a solution.
1/5 acre I guess dent leave you a lot of space to dig a pond and use the soil pulled from hole to raise areas for gardening.
I’m a complete novice but I do agree with the berms and swale idea. I’ve got some other plant options that may work. Swamp Mayhaw tree and Pawpaws (need lots of water), Herbs - mint, motherwort, marshmallow, and comfrey of course….it’s usually in the name so think about that too! Ie Marsh - mallow. Also, I’m sure you know this too but the larger the leaves the more water needs (like banana and Pawpaw). Hope I added something. I live in Flagler beach btw.
Sara Carver FNP-C, Florida Homesteader, Chicken and Turkey Lover, Novel Herbalist and Permie
Good call on the marshmallow Sara. That has become my favorite herb due to it’s many healing properties. My sun chokes and elderberries are in a continuous bog and do great. I agree that raised beds are a sure bet but make swales with the rest. I’ve seen property that was basically floating grow plants that hate wet feet on a two foot swale. I think swales work even better than advertised!
My, my, aren't you a big fella. Here, have a tiny ad:
Reforestation - Growing trees in arid, barren lands - by Seeds and Clay cubes (no watering)