Top Plants for a Food Garden in Subtropical Climates

From Rob Greenfield: Pete Kanaris's 10 top plants for a food garden in subtropical climates - Florida gardening.

1. Chaya (Cnidoscolus aconitifolius)
2. Moringa (Moringa oleifera)
3. Yuca / cassava (Manihot esculenta)
4. Sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas)
5. Sissoo / Miami / Brazilian spinach (Alternanthera sissoo)
6. Katuk (Sauropus androgynus)
7. Papaya (Carica papaya)
8. Edible leaf hibiscus (Abelmoschus manihot)
9. Cranberry hibiscus (Hibiscus acetosella)
10. Okinawa spinach (Gynura crepioides)

Plants available for purchase from Pete’s nursery by visit or by mail.
Details here:

Edible roses: Rosa damascena, Rosa gallica, Rosa rugosa

 Edible roses: Rosa damascena, Rosa gallica, Rosa rugosa


Summer salad ideas for South Florida

Summer salad ideas for South Florida:

Bulk greens:

- Bidens alba (edible weed), young shoots 

- Egyptian spinach

- Okinawa spinach, longevity spinach, etc.

- malabar spinach

- parsley 

- katuk leaves

- mulberry leaves, young shoots

- soursop leaves, young shoots

- muscadine grapes

To add some spice:

- moringa leaves, use sparingly as it can be very spicy in large quantities

- cranberry hibiscus leaves have a peasant sour/vinegar-like taste

- turmeric leaves, young shoots

- galangal roots, use sparingly as it is spicy

- green onions 

- perennial leek/chives, see examples here:

- peppers, recommended: Numex Suave Orange,

How to Grow Microgreens (video)

How to Grow Microgreens from Start to End - Complete Microgreens Growing Guide, by California Gardening channel:

Seeds and instructions ho to grow peas:

Tithonia diversifolia (tree marigold) as a chop-and-drop mulch and fertilizer in Florida

Tithonia diversifolia is a species of flowering plant that is commonly known as the tree marigold, Mexican tournesol, Mexican sunflower, Japanese sunflower or Nitobe chrysanthemum. It is native to Mexico and Central America but has a nearly pantropical distribution as an introduced species.

It has shown potential in raising the soil fertility in soils depleted in nutrients. This plant is a "weed" that grows quickly and has become an option as an affordable alternative to expensive synthetic fertilizers.

It can be grown as shrub of hedge

Tithonia diversifolia is 2–3 m (6.6–9.8 ft) in height with upright and sometimes ligneous stalks in the form of woody shrubs. The large, showy flowers are yellow to orange colored and 5–15 cm wide and 10–30 cm long.

It works as a fertilizer but it takes a lot of work

Harvesting and distributing this fertilizer over the land by hand is very labor-intensive. The best yields come when T. diversifolia is grown off the land as to not take up growing space. For this reason, when time spent on labor has been factored, this approach may not be beneficial to a farmer.

Tithonia diversifolia can be used as organic fertilizer biomass. For this use, the plant is first grown in hedges around the edges of harvest land. The green stems (not the woody stems), leaves, and flowers can be removed from the plant at a farmer selected time, though it is recommended that cutting every 5 months will give a plentiful amount of nutrients in the biomass. The biomass can also be used as a mulch and can be left on top of the soil to decompose into the ground.

How to propagate

Cuttings root very easily, just like cassava, in fact, you can grow them together.



Yaupon Tea - America's Original Native Caffenated 'Tea' Plant

Ilex vomitoria, commonly known as yaupon or yaupon holly, is a species of holly that is native to southeastern North America.

The word yaupon was derived from its Catawban name, yopĂșn, which is a diminutive form of the word yop, meaning "tree". The Latin name "vomitoria" comes from an incorrect belief by Europeans that the plant caused vomiting in certain ceremonies.

The plant was traditionally used by Native Americans to make an infusion containing caffeine. It and another plant in the Rubiaceae family, Galium aparine, are the only known plants indigenous to North America that produce caffeine. The plant is also widely used for landscaping in its native range.

You can buy the tea and the plants from Yaupon Brothers American Tea Co. in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, USA:

Yaupon Brothers offer an Yaupon cultivar called "Schilling's Dwarf." Living up to its name, it grows to 4 feet tall, and 4 feet wide. Trimmings can be used to to make your own yaupon tea. All Schillings Yaupon trees offered by Yaupon Brothers are male, meaning that they do not develop berries. They do have cheery flowers in the spring which attract a wide range of pollinators.

These little Yaupon trees will thrive anywhere in the southeast USA. They are hardy to USDA zone 7, and tolerate temperatures down to 10 F for short time periods.

Schilling's dwarf holly grows in sun or light shade in soils from dry to wet, withstands drought when established and is highly salt-tolerant, making it suited to seaside plantings. Schilling's dwarf is a selection of the native yaupon holly, which grows naturally without irrigation on the dunes along the Atlantic Ocean. Growth rate is slow to moderate. Plant 4-5 feet apart for mass planting. Be sure to set plants several feet back from a walk, driveway or lawn area, because plants grow wider than tall and often require pruning to control their lateral growth. Be sure to leave the bottom of the plant much wider than the top so that lower foliage is left on the plant. If you attempt to shear vertically, the lower branches will be shaded and often lose foliage. This will give the shrub an unsightly, dark, leafless bottom.

Schilling's dwarf trees are shipped from Plant Click, from Raleigh, NC.

They have an active YouTube channel:

From Rob Greenfield: