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Traditional Agriculture Doesn't Work in Florida

     You know what Florida has a whole lot of? Sunshine, humidity, sand, and people.
     A person might logically conclude that sunshine is really all you would ever need, because crops can't grow without it. That's true, plants can't grow without light, but there is so much more that they need in addition to light that light alone does not make Florida the perfect place to grow crops. Florida is blessed with an extremely short cold season, so short that strawberries and tomatoes frequently survive the hours below freezing south of Tampa.
     Sandiness can be a good soil characteristic for plants that need excellent drainage. Most vegetables do need adequate drainage, and plants that "burrow" into the ground, like peanuts and potatoes, do very well in sand. Unfortunately most of our sand lacks beneficial organic matter in quantity enough to support beneficial nematodes and worms, which help plants. Any wimpy tomato or squash will quickly become food for root-knot nematodes, grasshoppers, aphids, and dozens more.
     Virtually all the produce in Florida is treated with insecticide in some form or another, even the organics. This may or may not be a bad thing depending on how you view it, but it is true. The only way to avoid the chemicals is to grow it yourself or be willing to eat strange-looking fruits and vegetables. Even our delicious citrus isn't exempt from this truth, which is why something to the tune of 95% of all citrus grown in Florida becomes juiced. No one wants to eat an orange with canker on the peel even though it may be delicious.
     The solution - eat what can grow here and grow it yourself, or buy local.


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