Good Florida gardening books
Unfortunately, I haven’t come across many great books that are for Florida alone. There is, of course, Florida Gardening by Stan DeFreitas, which is the book that first got me going many years ago – but I don’t necessarily recommend that as a great resource for food growers.
A good place to start looking up Florida plants and how to grow them is, of course, the UF/IFAS/EDIS/HIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ, otherwise known simply as the Electronic Data Information Source of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension.
There’s a search bar there, which you’ll need since the site is not at all intuitive. In fact, it’s often easier to just type in something like “invasive giant snake-like weedy vine thingy with stinky flowers IFAS” into Google and hope for the best.
One of these days I’m going to write a book on survival gardening in Florida. Until then, there are some books I recommend you read and glean bits and pieces from. If you get stuck on something specific to our region, you can always ask me your questions or just experiment. That’s where real learning often takes place.
Here are a few of my go-to books:
Yes, I wrote this book – but it’s great. And just Appendix Three, the “cheat sheet for Florida gardeners,” is worth the tiny price of the book.
This is a great jump into biointensive gardening. It relies on little to no external inputs and gives you excellent results, even in sand.
On the other side of the spectrum from Jeavons’ intensive beds is Steve Solomon’s approach to wide row gardening in low rain conditions. This is how I grow my corn and other field crops without having to water. The link above takes you to the free download page of Project Gutenberg. Don’t bother buying this book – it’s public domain.
Another Steve Solomon epic. Contains a lot of good information and thoughts on feeding yourself under adverse conditions. Must-have.
Fruitcake name but killer information. This will transform the way you look at food growing, gardening and the ecosystem around your house.
Toensmeier’s classic look at veggies you ONLY HAVE TO PLANT ONCE. Many of the selections are perfect for Florida; in fact, reading this book is likely to make temperate gardeners cry.
I recommend any gardener read these. I look at buying physical copies of great gardening books as part of my insurance plan for the future. If things collapse, I’ll still have my books and the knowledge therein. What may seem like a big purchase now may look dirt cheap in the future when you really need to get some food on the table.
Load up your Amazon cart and buy them when you get a chance, then spend a month reading. It’s worth it.
I also recommend you check out my broader list of great gardening books.