we grow plants

We grow lots of plants on our 2.6-acre property in zone 9b Florida, and each variety has been chosen for a specific reason. Some plants are grown for the food they provide, others are grown to support local wildlife and the rest are grown for their special abilities to improve the soil.

The Food Forest

As much as I love them, all plants are not created equal. Like most people, I loved buying clearance racks at plant stores, but unfortunately, I spent a lot of time and effort ripping them out of my yard. Looking back now, I realize my garden would be much better off today if I had made wiser choices in the beginning and chosen more beneficial plants.

Successful people make the right decisions early and manage those decisions daily.

john maxwell

what plants to choose?

Most plants will benefit the soil. They provide shade and moisture to the soil, their leaves and branches are great for chop & drop and their roots feed the beneficial microbes that make all the nutrients required for healthy plants. But, there are some that have additional benefits to us and our ecosystem.

  • Edibles – We grow a large number of edible plants on our property and always have something available to harvest. At first, my goal was to grow a garden full of food, utnil I learned the importance of maintaining a balanced, well-functioning ecosystem.
  • We plant a wide diversity of plants attracts a variety of insect species. We create habitats in our gardens that cater to predators, like ladybugs and lacewings to help maintain pests and . Read more on our we love bugs page.
  • Nutrient Fixers – My favorite nitrogen-fixing chop & drop plants are gandules(edible!) and Florida wax myrtles (native!).

plants not to grow

It is easy to see plants on clearance racks and get excited, but you get what you pay for. These plant hospitals may be a bargain but you can also waste a lot of money. These sick, diseased, and/or pest-infested plants may introduce a lot of unwanted pathogens into your garden, but many of the varieties are invasive to our area and are not meant to be placed in outdoor landscapes.

Prior to putting a plant into your garden, make sure it is not on the invasive species list for your area. I use the Florida Invasive Species Council’s list as my guide for Brevard County.

plants I regret buying:

  • Schefflera
  • Snake plants
  • Crotons
  • Tradescantia (wandering jew)
  • Monstera

plants we grow (zone 9b)

Plants and all the life in the soil is so fascinating! Once you understand how the soil works, you can understand what it takes to grow healthy plants with very little maintenance.

ladybug larvae eating aphids on milkweed

our food forest