Gardening is a wonderful way to spend our time; it connects us to nature while we make the world more beautiful. Furthermore, working the soil carries with it certain health benefits: it helps us to reduce stress and anxiety, it boosts immune function, and it has been shown to lower blood pressure. This moderate form of exercise gives us access to the freshest foods while also improving our mood, and, amazingly, all you need is some soil and seeds to get started. If you think it's too hot to have much of a garden in South Florida, then think again. Here are five tips for cultivating an ideal South Florida garden.
1. Choose Your Plants Wisely
Not only will you need to consider which plants are likely to thrive in Southern Florida, but also how much room they will take up when fully grown, and how much effort you will be able to dedicate to their care. If you regularly travel, then fussy plants that require year-round maintenance are not for you. If you are new to gardening, then consider starting with more fail-safe or forgiving plants that can tolerate a learning curve. Local nurseries, garden centers, growers, or gardening clubs are often eager to share their knowledge and will be happy to make specific recommendations on plants that will best suit your needs and lifestyle.
2. Become Familiar with Southern Florida's Planting Seasons
Just as in cooler climates, planting in the right season is a necessary element to having a successful South Florida garden. Winter can be a great time to plant bulbs that will bloom in the spring. It can also be an ideal time to try out a vegetable garden full of nutritious treats that are unable to flourish in the hotter months of the year. Visit the University of Florida's South Florida Gardening Calendar for complete details so you can sow and reap at the right times of the year.
3. Get to Know the Basics
South Florida is considered a sub-tropical zone, and the heat that will be welcome to many species of plants will be equally scorching to others. The soil is mostly sandy, and will likely need some additives to be ready to support new growth. Watering will be necessary, especially when the weather is dry. Garden pests will likely rear their heads sooner or later. Identifying the bugs in your garden will help you best decide what to do about them.
4. Consider Scale
Be realistic when planning a garden. While a large garden allows for a greater variety of plants and more greenery, flowers, fruits, and vegetables to enjoy, it also requires a good deal of upkeep. All the same health benefits that can be derived from large-scale gardening still occur when the garden plot is smaller. Even container gardening and simply keeping houseplants have been shown to promote substantial health benefits from interacting with nature.
5. Grow What You Like
As with anything in life, the more effort we put into our gardens, the more we will get out of them. The best way to achieve ideal yields is to grow what we love. Whether we hope to pick herbs and vegetables that will enable us to cook the freshest versions of our favorite dishes or we hope to attract our favorite butterflies to our backyards, nurturing our favorite plants becomes even more enjoyable and restorative when we keep an end goal in mind.
Gardening on any scale can be an excellent addition to a vibrant and healthful lifestyle. For more information about the many living options available at Jacaranda Trace, contact us. We will help you explore your options for living life to the fullest in South Florida.