Urban Homestead Beginner

Plate of Caprese Salad

It’s no secret that the CO-VID pandemic prompted a lot of folks to start gardens. Some people were concerned about the food supply – crops were unharvested, rotting in the field. Grocery shelves were empty. Others were trying to find a socially distant past time to keep themselves and the kids busy out of the house.

For our client, the Urban Homestead Beginner, it was a bit of both. We’d been over for a brief consultation with the Urban Homestead Beginner about a year prior to evaluate the current landscaping at their new home, but they weren’t even considering a food garden at that point. They are a busy on-the-go family so they thought it’d be too much work.

But, they suddenly found themselves at home, wondering what to do with themselves, and two small active children. Solution – plant a garden!

Tori’s Family Food Forest

3 adjacent images: a hand holding a basket of cherry tomatoes; squash blossoms; hand holding green bell pepper

One of our favorite consulting jobs was Tori’s family food forest. They had just purchased their first home and dreamed of butterflies frolicking through gardens bursting with fresh food. There were a few mismatched shrubs in the backyard, but it was otherwise a blank canvas.

What to Plant in August

Winged beans on the vine

When people tell you “nothing grows in Florida summers” don’t listen! There are so many delicious and easy-to-grow crops that you can enjoy this time of year, and it’s the perfect time to begin planning and planting for your fall Florida garden.

Cocoplum Jam

Cocoplums in a bowl

Several years ago, I became fascinated with this landscape plant that I bought on a whim, red-tipped cocoplum (Chrysobalanus icaco). I didn’t really know much about it other than that it was a Florida native shrub with pretty leaves that produced fruit I could eat. After a while, it produced so much fruit, that I began researching recipes for cocoplum jam.

Growing Edible Flowers

dill flowers

What is more lovely than the scent of a flower? Eating a flower! Edible flowers add beauty and flavor to dishes and drinks. They’re sure to be a conversation piece at a party. When growing edible flowers, follow these simple tips.

Heat-Loving Beans

rattlesnake beans

Let’s face it – gardening in Florida can be tough. With our heat, humidity, rains, and poor soil, it seems like the deck is stacked against us. However, much of the Earth enjoys a tropical climate, even warmer than Florida. Yet native people have been living off the land and growing food in abundance for generations. Rain forests thrive too. There must be a way to garden despite all of these hurdles. Choosing the right type of plant for the growing season is so important to your garden’s success.

Planting a Food Forest on a Shoestring Budget

edible garden

Growing food doesn’t need to be hard or expensive. You don’t need a bunch of raised beds or expensive planter boxes. If you have an area in your yard about 30 feet long and 10 feet wide give or take, you can grow a pretty good amount of food for very little money and take care of it in an hour or two a week.

Gardening to Save a Dollar

Papaya on tree

Most people start a garden with this vision of saving quite a lot of money at the grocery store. “Yes, the garden is an expense, but think of all the money we’ll save later,” I hear folks say all the time. As a farm girl from up north, I’ve been there. Here’s my advice for beginners.

Longevity Spinach

spinach plant

One of my favorite and easiest plants to grow is longevity spinach (Gynura procumbens). It is a perennial in the Tampa Bay area unless there is a freeze, then it may die back to the roots and return in the spring. In areas with colder temperatures, it can be grown as an annual or brought inside during the winter. It does grow year round, but growth will slow during the cooler months.