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5 Steps to Starting a Small Tropical Vegetable Garden

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Vegetables grown at a Dominican home.

If you are living in the tropical Caribbean, you may be interested in taking full advantage and try your hand at living off the land. A tropical environment is very conducive to growing your own fresh foods, and there are so many benefits to growing your own food (better nutrition, lower cost, etc).

Fruits tend to grow more successfully in this part of the world, however, you can also have a great deal of luck growing your own vegetables. Read on to find out useful tips for growing your own vegetable patch in the Caribbean.

Nevis Sea View Land – This soil is rich and fertile and with a steady tradewind breeze, the land should always stay pleasantly cool.

1. Know Your Climate and Soil
The first thing you are going to want to do in order to successfully grow a veggie garden in the Caribbean is to know the climate and the type of soil you are working with.

This will help you determine what types of vegetables will grow best in your garden. Generally speaking, the weather in the Caribbean is humid with warm temperatures.

The amount of precipitation you will receive will depend on your exact location; higher elevations tend to have more rainfall than lower elevations. No matter where you live, you can expect to experience warm winds that usher in moisture from the ocean. The soil in these wetter areas is generally very nutrient rich. With these types of weather conditions and this soil, you can expect to have success growing a wide range of veggies in the Caribbean.

Island Tropical Foliage is a 25 acre nursery in Florida, specializing in exporting plants, trees, and landscaping supplies to the Caribbean.

2. Pick Your Veggies
Decide what types of veggies you would like to grow. It is recommended that you choose varieties that you intend to eat, or that you plan to sell for others to consume.

You should know that different types of veggies will require different types of care. For example, leaf crops will require very dense and nutrient rich soil; legumes and root-based vegetables don't require such dense nutrients as leaf crops and they help to improve the quality of the soil.

Veggies that grow well in this type of environment include string beans, leafy greens, sweet potatoes, legumes and a wide variety of herbs.

Vegetables grown in a Dominica garden of 4 acres, with mature gardens and woodland overlooking the mountains beyond.

3. Be Prepared
It is important that you understand that growing vegetables in tropical conditions is very different than growing vegetables in cooler climates. Increased warmth and moisture may make some veggies thrive, but other veggies can't tolerate the heat and moisture (cauliflower, tomatoes and cabbage, for example).

You should also understand that you will be battling with more insects that will look at your crops as food. You will need to learn how to prevent invasions of insects in order to keep your garden healthy and thriving.

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