Crops You Can Count On

Unequivocally the best nutrient-dense crop for warm conditions is the sweet potato. This crop prefers high temperatures, regular irrigation, well-drained soil, a lot of direct sunlight, and moderate fertilizer requirements to maximize its yield. Sweet potatoes are grown from the slips of the tuber. A slip is the new growth that emerges out of the tuber which is then cut off and planted in the soil. After about five months, sweet potatoes can be harvested and kept in dark storage for an extended period. They do not need to be extensively washed or scrubbed prior to storage as this may break the skin and allow decay to occur. These tubers are high in calories well as high vitamin A content.

A sweet potato slip.
Purple sweet potatoes.

The potato is an excellent option for planting in late winter for North Central Florida. It is best to plant potatoes towards the end of winter and otherwise has similar needs as the sweet potato. Potatoes are grown directly from last year’s “seed” potato tubers rather than from slips. Like the sweet potato, they have a

similar time between planting and harvest as well as storage recommendations.

Sweet potatoes and potatoes will cover most caloric needs, however nutrients such as protein, vitamins, and minerals should be considered. Beans are an excellent source of protein and grow well in spring and summer. Unlike most other crops, beans do not require nitrogen fertilizers to grow well because they producer their own naturally. For a range of vitamins and minerals, leafy greens such as kale, spinach, and lettuce can be a good source. Leafy greens are typically grown during the cool season or early spring. Other crops that should be considered for crops that could be reliably grown for food are cassava, yams, peas, Seminole pumpkin, and corn.

There are tremendous benefits to growing your own food rather than relying entirely upon fragile supply chains that transport crops from thousands of miles away. We have been fortunate not to have faced a famine or wide-spread catastrophe in many generations and by growing your own food it’s one less thing to worry about.


Posted: April 15, 2021

Category: Agriculture, Crops, Fruits & Vegetables

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