Thursday, November 7, 2013

Gardening in the Tropics: Pt. II


I've posted before on why the tropics are the most amazing place for food growing, and I've also shared quite a bit on The Great South Florida Food Forest Project... but nothing compares to the sheer, lush extravagance of being right near the equator and seeing the abundance in person.


In the tropics, many plants produce year-round. There's always something to eat. Winged yams were a common weed... bananas were laden with stalks of fruit almost too heavy to carry... and papaya were everywhere. Along the sides of the road were fallen passion fruit, golden apples and other fruits I'd never even seen.

It's a far cry from the struggle to produce we face in temperate climates.


That is a breadfruit. I've wanted to try them since I was a kid but they simply will not grow inside the continental United States. The flavor was rich and starchy, with a slightly sweet undertone I found more than satisfying. Bonus: the trees grow really fast. My friend's tree was only two years old and it towered at 20'+ and was loaded with fruit. In its first year it bore 60+ breadfruit.

Try to get that kind of success with pecans or chestnuts. It won't happen.

I hate to make any of you fellow Floridians jealous, but...


...man alive...

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4 Comments:

At November 7, 2013 at 8:32 AM , Blogger Mark Biggs said...

You're right...... I'm jealous!

 
At November 7, 2013 at 8:44 PM , Blogger rycamor said...

Sigh... stop it David!!

 
At March 15, 2014 at 6:40 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you know how to grow papaya's?? I live between Houston and Beaumont, Texas near the bay. I have a friend that said she threw papaya seeds in her flower bed and it came up in one season as a tree and produced fruit. Could that be true?

 
At March 15, 2014 at 8:34 PM , Blogger Survival Gardener, AKA David the Good said...

Yes - it can work. Problem is, most papaya don't produce quite fast enough.

You can plant seeds in large pots now (provided you keep them from freezing in a late frost), then let them get good and big this year. In winter, put them in a greenhouse or bring them in on freezing nights... then, next spring after frosts, plant them out in the garden. They should produce well for you that way... but you'll still lose them when the harsh cold comes.

 

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