Outside of occasional traveling I spend nearly all of my time here in Central Florida. So, many of the details I post are specific to this bio-region. This includes plant hardiness (zones 9 and 10), insects common to our region, and many details about the nature of certain projects and initiatives. Though the specifics may not be best suited to your area there is likely something to be learned or replicated. For instance, the CSA I am working with is modeled from from the Canadian farming operations of JM Fortier and Curtis Stone. Though many of the specifics are different there is much overlap, with details and general practice. While planting times, pest problems, and soil considerations may be different farming tools, harvesting procedures, and marketing avenues have commonalities.
A few specifics to consider:
- Central Florida Climate is humid sub-tropical which means that we have a good amount of rainfall in the summer and a lesser amount through the winter. It also means that we do get freezes but not usually below the lower twenties, though there are exceptions.
- Our soils are SANDY. Most areas have essentially zero silt and minimal to no clay. Hot temperatures and high humidity also result in very fast decomposition which generally results in low soil organic matter content and minimal native fertility. The exception to this would be swamp soil, which consists almost entirely of organic matter.
- We’re so close to tropical that we can practically taste the tropical fruit in the air, but most of us out in the country can’t predictably grow tropical fruit trees, though some urban microclimates allow for some zone 10 species.
- I live in an suburban area but it only takes about 45 minutes to get to downtown Orlando. This allows for an interesting mix of urban and suburban opportunities – growing/selling food, teaching classes, holding events, etc. Orlando also has a fairly progressive mindset when it comes to environmental awareness and sustainability. St. Could, where I live, remains somewhat closer to its agricultural roots but tends to be less inclined toward notions of sustainability. There’s pros and cons to both.