Tuesday, January 19, 2010

"In Your Backyard" Growing Fruits in Florida

The Sunshine State grows 75% of the oranges in the United States and produces 40% of the world's orange juce supply. With our abundant sunshine and ample rain, Florida is a cornucopia of agricultural crops. Yet, gardeners, especially our Northern transplants yearn to grow other fruits and nut trees and we are told that you can't grow the fruit trees that you grew up in the North. There's a reason why that's partly true: provenance.

Provenance is important to remember when you purchase plants out-of-state on your travels, on the Internet or from a catalog. Provenance means the original growing region of where the plant, shrub, or tree, were produced. It's important because it means that plant will do well in that original location but if you move it to a different geographical location, it won't have the same growing conditions and may not thrive or survive. For example, a native Cornus florida dogwood in Connecticut or Kentucky would not have the same growing conditions as a native Cornus florida in Florida. Roses bought from a West Coast catalog will not survive in Florida's sandy soils. Provenance could be the reason that a plant, shrub, or tree that you purchase from a catalog out of your state doesn't survive. Your yard doesn't have the same growing conditions as the catalog's nursery.

We are fortunate that here in Central Florida we have a sub-tropical climate, all the benefits of sunny tropical winters with occasional small doses of cooler temperatures that make us appreciate what the North experiences. That was extremely evident this last month with a huge three week dose of regional pockets of snow and sleet, and state wide freezes. Your tropical landscape may not feel that it was fortunate, but for those of us who love to grow apples, peaches, nectarines, and pears, it's great! Because of these low temperatures, we can grow special low-chill hour varieties of those Northern fruits we love.

A great nursery to visit and purchase fruit trees for Lake County is Chestnut Hill Tree Farm. Bob and Debbie Gaw of Chestnut Hill Tree Farm in Alachua, Florida have a great catalog with many varieties low-chill fruit and wonderful nut trees that you can grow in Central Florida.

Listen to the gardening questions and answers on today's radio show this afternoon! If you would like to listen in on the Internet, go to WLBE's website and click on "Listen Live" or the shows are archived for one month. Don't miss a broadcast!

What's going on in your backyard? Call the show!

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