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Greetings from a forest gardener in Brooksville, Florida  RSS feed

 
Sharon LaPlante
Posts: 26
Location: Brooksville, Florida - Zone 9a
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Hello everyone,

I live in Brooksville, which is in central Florida ... and am a Florida native ... born in Tampa. I am a native plant enthusiast and forest gardener, but am just now getting into growing perennials and trees that will provide me with edible foliage. I have many plants on my property that I use for food like my citrus, mulberries, lemongrass, pineapple guava, loquat, elderberries, but want to add some things like chaya, molokhia, moringa, edible hibiscus, and Okinawa spinach … plants that are unfamiliar to me.

I have 2 ½ acres of forested property with half a dozen very old oak trees and a ¼ acre seasonal pond. When I bought the place ten years ago it was mostly lawn and the oaks and now it is loaded with native plants and shrubs and teaming with life and some food. I have beautyberry, mulberry, elderberry, blackberry, holly, violets, hickory, blackberries, etc.

I have been trying for several years to get lotus growing in my pond, but the exotic snails decimate the seedlings. Maybe this season I’ll have the energy to collect, purge, and eat the snails to get even with them.

I am also just starting to implement nitrogen fixers and chop & drop. I have always had nitrogen fixers like cassia and coral bean, but never planted them next to my edible trees and I have always recycled my yard waste, but usually just mulching with leaves and making brush piles for the wildlife.

I have a web site that has articles and photos of central Florida natives and wildlife - http://www.sharonsflorida.com/. I reeeeeeeeeally love Florida's native plants and animals and try to educate as many people as I can about them.

I am here to learn and share and make my forest garden even better than it already is. I am also hoping to connect with other forest gardeners in my area of Florida … I hope there are few out there that will share their insight and do a plant swap with me.

Best wishes to everyone.

Sharon
 
Miles Flansburg
steward
Posts: 4027
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
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Howdy Sharon, welcome to permies! I added this post to the southern forum also, we have some real good permies down your way, hopefully they will drop by and say hello.

Nice website and it's cool that you sell seeds, we have a few threads about seed exchanges, around here somewhere, that you might want to join in also.
 
Sharon LaPlante
Posts: 26
Location: Brooksville, Florida - Zone 9a
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thanks miles! i will check out the other forums you mentioned. i sure hope someone pops up that lives near me in central florida because i would love to swap seeds and plants and take notes on what others can grow in my area. i am really looking forward to reading as many posts on the forum as i can. it's a great wealth of information.

thank you for the warm welcome.

 
Saunya Hildebrand
Posts: 5
chicken duck forest garden
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Howdy from Central FL as well. We aren't too terribly far from each other.
 
Sharon LaPlante
Posts: 26
Location: Brooksville, Florida - Zone 9a
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thanks for the howdy saunya. what's not terribly far away? how is your permaculture garden growing ... do you have any tips for central florida?

thanks miles, but i haven't been able to find it. would you please tell me where the seed exchange forum is? what section is it under.
 
Saunya Hildebrand
Posts: 5
chicken duck forest garden
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I'm in Center Hill.
So far my annuals are doing pretty good-although I am having a heck of a time with vine borers in my summer squash. I have some seminole pumpkin growing and I am watching that like a hawk to make sure it doesn't get attacked by those critters. I don't know if you plant field peas (black eyes or zippers etc) but there was a colossal crop failure last year so zippers and conks are hard to come by and the ones that I have planted this year have been kinda fraudy and the germination rate is low. My personal conspiracy theorist opinion is that there were more crop failures and old seed is being sold so the germination rate is far lower than normal. (I am also getting this from other farmers and gardeners out here).
But I digress.

My fruit trees (we have 4 huge old mulberries) are fabulous and the figs and other fruits seem to be doing great. I see more figs here than I have in a while. As far as tips go I would say mulch like crazy and plant your field peas and okra with some hot peppers in the full sun in your less than perfect soil for some good eatin this summer Oh! And I have a couple tree collard cuttings that I am very excited about to see what they do. I also planted pigeon peas around some fruit trees to see how they do but so far they haven't come up. Also some florida cranberry (thai red roselle).

Oh and I have some moringa oleifera seedlings if you are interested. Not the other variety though.
 
Sharon LaPlante
Posts: 26
Location: Brooksville, Florida - Zone 9a
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wow saunya you are really close to me. that's a pretty area over there.

i lost my mojo with annual gardening years ago. i couldn't grow a cucurbit to save my life ... between the vine borers and powdery mildew it was enough to drive me crazy. i have grown seminole pumpkin before, but neglected it during a dry spell and the bugs got it and ... well it failed, but i am going to try again and take better care of it this time. i haven't grown field peas, but have had luck with wax beans and burgundy bush beans.

i have two big mulberries, but the birds get the fruit before it ripens all the way most years. a few years ago i got a couple of gallon baggies full and have them in the freezer to make jam.

My figs are struggling ... someone told me they need more alkaline soil and i've been mulching them with oak leaves. i think they said to add dolomite to counteract the acidity.

i have always mulched like crazy because i have tons of leaves in the spring when my oaks let lose. my worms LOVE the oak leaves and once i start covering an area with them the worms soon move in so i'm happy using leaves as mulch because it does improve the soil for free. oh and i have water hyacinth in my pond and mulch with that as well. i'm hoping once i start practicing chop and drop i'll have more options for building up organic matter.

i can't wait to see how your tree collard does ... i'm wanting to try that as well. a friend from portugal had it growing in spring hill and it was doing great.

do you like the taste of the moringa oleifera? i keep reading about folks saying it's too bitter, but i'm willing to try it ... thanks for the offer.

i just put in three pears (spalding, hood & FLhome), two Fuyu persimmons and some bananas. i hope we put them where they will thrive. we don't have much full sun because of our giant oaks so i tried to find some pockets of dappled sunlight.
 
Saunya Hildebrand
Posts: 5
chicken duck forest garden
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I have never tasted moringa. I just have them in the garden for emergency fodder for starving humans, haha! Seriously though, once they get big enough I will probably try them.

We are under a bunch of live oaks here-sprawling, beautiful and downright haunting with the moss. I love it. So we have a lot of oak leaves and mulch with them, throw some in to the chickens, compost some...just generally try to use what we have here and all. There is a large swampy pond on the family land i was referring to and I was just thinking about grabbing some buckets of muck and pond plants to mulch with over here. I sure would love a pond here-I'm a little intimidated about digging one, Gotta learn about it!

Two years ago I planted 2 FLhome pears and a persimmon tree at my grandmother's place I love persimmons and that is my next big expenditure here-a few persimmon trees and a couple sand pears (those big fl pound pears) Do you have any guavas?

There is a great nursery in howey-in-the-hills that I love that has all manner of native and fl friendly plants if you are interested. They have sugarcane which I was tickled to find as it seems scarce around here anymore.

Let me know if you do want the moringas!
 
Sharon LaPlante
Posts: 26
Location: Brooksville, Florida - Zone 9a
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i have three pineapple guavas, but they haven't set fruit. i read that they need extra water during their flowering period in order to set fruit so i am probably not getting fruit because i'm lazy. they've been in the ground about five years ... and look great ... and flower like crazy but no fruit.

what's the name of the howie in the hills nursery? that's kind of a hike for me, but i may try to make it over there.

i'd rather have the other moringa, but i'm willing to try anything once. lol do you have something in mind you want to swap?
 
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