There are definitely gardening challenges when you live in Florida!
In the northern climates if you need to know when and where to plant pretty much any seeds or bulbs you simply look it up online or read the back of a seed packet.
Full sun means 6 or more hours of direct sun. Planting dates are pretty accurate and most of the time even if you add nothing to the soil, there is at least a chance that what you plant will grow.
And then, just when you have it all figured out, you move to Florida and everything changes!
The Gardening Challenges in Florida
Gardening Challenges #1:
Because Florida is so much closer to the sun during the summer, the temperature is a lot higher. Crops like tomatoes, radishes, and carrots that grow in full sun all summer in the north will die because the sun is much too hot. Here, those crops are planted in the spring and fall or winter.
Gardening Challenges #2:
The soil in Florida is not soil, it is sand. Even though my cat loves it, probably because it is like the world’s largest litter box, plants don’t like it at all. If you want to plant anything besides cactus, you must add things like soil, compost, and peat.
Gardening Challenges #3:
All the nutrients you add to improve the soil this year will somehow disappear and you will have to add them again next growing season. Unless you are planting in an enclosed bed, everything you added to that garden plot with filter away before you know it.
Gardening Challenges #4:
You can never have enough compost, manure, and fertilizer. Because of challenge #3, compost and manure by the constant truckload would be like winning the lottery! Fertilizer, on the other hand, I concoct myself so it is not too bad.
Gardening Challenges #5:
The bugs are bigger, uglier, eat more and stay around a lot longer! I swear I think Florida has at least one bug that eats every type of fruit, vegetable, and ornamental that is known to man. Those pesky insects must like the weather here because they don’t ever seem to leave!
Gardening Challenges #6:
Just when you think you know what the weather is going to be, it changes. It can be bright and sunny one minute and within 20 minutes it’s a heavy downpour, and only on one side of the street. You can’t count on rain, it is hit or miss here. Just because they don’t call for it doesn’t mean a thing in Florida. It is, however, a guarantee to rain if you put your sprinklers on.
Gardening Challenges #7:
Watering anything in full sun after 8 am in the summertime is a guarantee for burnt plants. And by the time it’s cool enough to water in the evening it is usually too late to water. 6 am til 7 am is the only safe window here.
Gardening Challenges #8:
The vines that grow along the ground are made of steel and impossible to kill. We have vines that in one growing season can grow 2 inches in diameter and long enough to grow up a 30-foot oak tree and completely kill all vegetation on the tree. When you’re planting a new bed where vines once were, I promise those vines will be back.
Gardening Challenges #9:
Metal tools are not safe to touch when left in the sun. Have you ever taken something out of the oven with your bare hands? That is what it feels like when you pick up a metal shovel that was sitting in the sun.
Gardening Challenges #10:
Gardening in Florida requires more preparation before going outside. Sunscreen, plenty of water in hand, and bug repellant are musts to garden here. Without those things, you will come in burnt, dehydrated and bit up.
I wish someone would have shared these challenges with me before I started on my gardening journey. Even though there are many challenges here, there have been enough rewards to make me continue to garden and learn while living in Florida.
What challenges do you face while gardening where you live?