I've been very seriously considering moving to sw FL within the next year
(somewhere around Ft Myers & vic.), and would *really* like to hear
everyone's personal disappointments & successes as far as what your
expectations of gardening down there were; I mean of any kind (growing for
sustenance OR ornamentals).
My mother overwinters in Bonita Spgs & her soil looks & feels like plain
sand. Being of such modest means, my idea of soil amendments is just adding
whatever compost I'd normally produce anyway, which isn't a lot. Native
plants I don't expect much trouble with, it's the other things I might want
to add. A (non-native)grass lawn would not be part of my plans, nor anything
else that'd require what I'd consider an ongoing waste of water. Especially
with the water restrictions they so often seem to have.
Soils in that area can be vary tremendously from one half mile area to the
I gardened in South Florida for 30 years and grew everything my heart
Even using the most xeriscape friendly plants available there are thousands
of wonderful choices you just can't get anywhere else.
Most of Lee County is rated either "loamy and siliceous" or "sandy over
clay" according to the soil survey page at
I'm not saying that different soils and climates don't present unique
challenges, I just think that simply calling it "sand" is a little lazy.
I found the gardening there fascinating and wonderfully rewarding- I'd live
and garden there again in a heartbeat if the housing crisis and homeowners
insurance increases and storms hadn't worn me out.
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