Survival Gardening in Florida, Part 2

     As far as growing carbohydrates, nothing really jumps out at me beyond sweet potatoes, cassava, sugarcane, the safe yams, and coontie, which are all very nutritious and pack a good deal of fiber as well. Also, kids like them. The leaves of all but coontie can be eaten or used as fodder. White potatoes are great too, if you are really good at growing them. Some grains that do well in Florida include amaranth and sorghum. Sorghum can be made into a tasty molasses if a person desired it. There are a ton of fruits that grow very well in Florida, the most well-loved being citrus, which can, with choosing proper varieties, be available for picking fresh about half the year. Canna, carrots, lilies, and cassava roots are all loaded with vitamins and nutrition. Sugarcane grows very well through most of the state. Bees love it here too.
     As far as growing fats, that's going to be a tough one. This might be a good time to mention micro-livestock like rabbits, guinea pigs, or chickens. Quail are great, but need an extremely high-protein feed as they naturally eat insects. Rabbits can live almost completely on grass and weeds. Chickens can live on almost completely grains and bugs. Fish can be raised in ponds or containers and fed things like azolla, duckweed, or garden worms.
     If I had to choose just three plants to grow to survive on, it would be cowpeas, cannas, and sweet potatoes. Cowpeas are a nitrogen-fixing legume that grow very well in poor soil and can be grown twice a year. The beans are high in protein and fiber, while the plant is high in protein for the rabbits. Cannas, aside from being beautiful and able to handle our hot, humid weather, can yield a starchy root and the leaves are high in vitamins for the rabbits. Sweet potatoes are a nutrient-dense starch, with very excellent tasting leaves which are high in protein. The leaves from all three plants can be eaten raw or cooked.
     Areas of the property which are not actively gardened can be, over time, landscaped with perennials that produce nutrition, fodder, or both. My favorite useful perennial is probably the wild rose bush. They don't have much of a smell, but make large, beautiful flowers that turn into rose hips - very nutritious. The leaves are good fodder and the thorns make the plant valuable for fencing. Thorned or thornless prickly pears are also a wonderful perennial, as the leaves are edible and the fruit is delicious. Plant those with an asiatic lily in between each bush and you will have created lush, flowery nutrition.
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Gardens-In-The-Sand said...

Have you eaten cannas?

I'm still keeping my eyes open for an interesting recipe.

The neat thing about canna is that while supposedly edible, nothing much seems to bother them...
My sweet potatoes though... Everything wants to eat.... I got some taters this year.... But that's very unusual.

chrissy bauman said...

Actually, what cannas that I have been growing I have been propagating and giving away. The cannas grow fairly well in floating planters in my little pond. They can be eaten a bit by leafrollers, but not enough to really hurt the plant or even make the leaves inedible. $%÷# butterflies. The leaves I have tried, pretty good raw, and the rabbits do enjoy them. My sweet potatoes grow like my onions - not many problems but not all that large. Yesterday I bought some real african yams - $11 a root, we will see what happens. I will have to make a post about it. David already wrote one, i think.