Chaya: Cnidoscolus chayamansa

Also known as Mayan spinach, Chaya is a perennial leafy green vegetable shrub originating in Central America. Chaya is one of the most care free and drought tolerant vegetables in the world. Although Chaya is frost sensitive the plant will usually resprout from the base after a freeze or woody cuttings can be taken in (before frost) and replanted in the spring. Chaya is highly nutritious, containing nearly twice the nutrients per serving as spinach. Chaya must be cooked thoroughly before eating, as the raw plant contains hydrocyanic acid like its popular relative cassava, which is denatured through cooking. The small white flowers of Chaya are extremely attractive to bees, butterflies, and

Basil: A Summertime Favorite

Basil: A Summertime Favorite Just the mention of the word basil makes my mouth water, as I conjour up images of zesty pesto, fresh caprese salad, hearty tomato sauce, and spicy green curry. What… curry? Yes, basil is as essential to many Asian and African cuisines as it is to the much publicized Italian culinary style. Actually these tropical cultures had been using this herb for thousands of years before its introduction to Europe. Basil is one of the finest herbs for our climate in Florida. While the more common “Sweet” or “Italian” basil does thrive during Florida’s cool and dry season it often succumbs to the high heat and humidity of our summers. Don’t fret, many types of basil are also

Millions of Mangos

Mangoes are one of the most widely consumed tree-borne fruits in the world. Their adaptable nature, ease of care, and bountiful yields, all contribute to their global acceptance and even reverence. As far as fruit tree care goes, it really doesn’t get much easier than the mango. Under favorable South Florida conditions grafted nursery specimens generally take 3 years to establish. After establishment mangoes in Florida require almost no care, besides harvest and mulching. For the first 3-5 years, young mango trees benefit from structural pruning, biannual manure application, and moderate ground level irrigation. A mulched mature tree should require almost no irrigation, or fertilizer. We adv

Turmeric: Curcuma longa

One of the world’s most treasured culinary and medicinal plants, turmeric is attractive, easy to grow, and versatile. Long held in high regard for its many health benefits, turmeric has traditionally been used with cancer, arthritis, pain, inflammation, and as an antidepressant. Turmeric is a member of the ginger family and will thrive in rich well-drained soil, in sunlight or partial shade. Turmeric is an excellent useful plant for those with limited growing space, and can do great in containers and even as a houseplant. We currently have some nice healthy turmeric plants in stock at our edible nursery. If you are interested in purchasing your own plant/s from us, please send an email reque

LEMONGRASS: Cymbopogon citratus

Lemongrass is truly an all-star plant for edible landscaping and food foresting. Choosing plants for a food forest or edible landscape is all about selecting plants that have the most diverse array of functions that benefit the gardener and the garden system. Lemongrass is a great garden border, soil stabilizer, mulch crop, pest deterrent, tea plant, medicinal plant, spice plant, and low windbreak. Now you may be thinking, a plant this useful must be hard to grow/propagate? Actually lemongrass is the easiest perennial plant to grow and propagate in most sub-tropical and tropical locations. Lemongrass can also be grown as an annual in many temperate locations. I always recommend lemongrass f

Jackfruit: Artocarpus heterophyllus

One of our favorite species we grow here in Florida, is the Jackfruit. Originating in India, this versatile fruit tree is now distributed throughout the tropics and has been grown in Florida for over one hundred years. Just twenty years ago jackfruits were and extreme rarity in Florida markets and fruit stands. Thanks to the rapid growth of the tree, unique taste, and high market price, the fruit is now regularly found at Asian markets, tropical fruit stands, and other fine produce vendors. Jackfruits can not tolerate heavy frost, so their growth is limited to coastal Florida and protected locations. A healthy specimen can grow between four and six feet annually, although trees can be mainta

Smilax

Here at GreenDreams we are very interested in edible Florida native plant species. We like them so much we are currently planting trial plots of many of these species on our research and demonstration farm in Spring Hill, Florida. We are the only farm that I know of crazy enough to grow a large patch of Smilax for fresh shoot production. These vines are often scorned and removed by farmers and land managers because of their thorny wiry growth habit. Smilax is a versatile native plant often known by a variety of names. Smilax is also called briar, green briar, bull briar, cat briar, or sarsaparilla. Over three hundred North American native species are included in the genus Smilax. While young

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