I recently received this email sharing some new Grocery Row Gardens in Florida:
“Good day, good sir!
I figured you might appreciate an update on our grocery row gardens while you finish up your new book. A wise sage once said, “Get ‘er done!”
My wife, kids, and I are big fans of yours. I think my favorite video thus far was your melon/pumpkin pit where you chucked frozen meat against a tree to break into usable chunks for your pits…. Just priceless. You can’t script that sort of comedy! I had a hearty laugh, the kind where your abs are a bit sore afterward.
But we too planted a grocery garden this year and its growing in nicely! 4 rows each 28′ long by 4′ wide with 2.5′ pathways. Full of so much life!
2 Muscadines, double mahoi banana, dwarf namwa banana, dwarf banana from my in-laws, 2 varieties of blackberries, Christmas loquat, lemon grass, 5 moringa trees, 3 different varieties of tropic low-chill peaches, Beer’s fig, LSU fig, Mexican winter avocado, 3 Blueberries, 1 Carrie mango, pigeon pees, Fakahatchee grass, Louisiana purple sugar cane, White winged yams, purple winged yams, cassava, Seminole pumpkins, shrimp flowers, marigolds, various sweet and spicy peppers, basil, a white eggplant bush, and 1 espaliered pink lemon tree, 1 espaliered dwarf mango tree.
Those are mostly perennials, we also squeezed in all kinds of annuals: we just harvested buckets of a landrace field pea project that we are working on, lots of sweet potatoes over the summer, and okra. We just transitioned to fall garden mode and now have: Irish red and Yukon gold potatoes, cabbages, rutabagas, pink celery, elephant garlic, green onions, beets, and broccoli growing intermixed with everything else.
After (June 4th, 2022 right after we put the beds and plants in):
We love the method and the kids really enjoy running around the jungle scape.
(Behind the Grocery Row Gardens is our coop and run for our 16 layer chickens)
After (November 2022 with only 5 short months of growth!):
Also just to show how much you can grow in the city in tight space, our house is only on 1/11th of an acre.
Eastern Side Yard (4 beds 24′ x 2.5′)
Western Side Yard (1 grocery rowish bed 75′ long 3′ wide with 6 mulberry trees, katuk tree, roselle, and moringa growing)
Front Yard 7 rows 22′ x 2.5′ each with 12 inch paths:
Between us and the neighbors is a Front Yard hedge: 2 Barbados cherries, 1 dwarf in-laws banana, 3 Shangri La mulberries, 3 dwarf everbearing mulberries and 1 grumichama.
Not pictured Front Potato patch ( 28′ x 4′)
Not pictured Front Bok choi and radish bed: (10′ x 2.5′)
It’s taken us roughly 4 years, but we are finally at the point where vegetable-wise we probably eat 90% from our gardens. And we eat a ton of vegetables. And it’s largely in part to your Florida Survival Gardening book and Totally Crazy Easy Florida Gardening book. Hoping to experiment with Dave’s Fetid Swamp Water this year as well as adding some biochar to our soil. We amended our beds with our custom Steve Solomon’s mix and our chicken compost earlier this fall so hoping for good results!
We are also incredibly blessed to live in the sunshine state where we can garden year round. We are still learning, having triumphs as well as lots of failures. Yet we keep planting, trusting in the Lord’s providence and care. Hoping one day we can get onto a larger piece of property here in Florida.
Appreciate all you do brother, especially with your big family. We are only at 3 chidlers thus far, but hope to catch up to you one day.
Joshua and Shay”
I am blown away, Joshua and Shay – you have done amazing work. If more people would do the same, we’d have complete food security no matter what happens.
My hat is off to you. Great work. Say “hi” to the kids for me, too. God bless and keep you – your gardens are fantastic.
Also – for my other readers – if you haven’t tried the Grocery Row Garden method, it’s a lot of fun and has many features to recommend it. It’s working excellently for us, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how our new ones grow in 2023.