You can work in the garden bare-footed for 10 months out of the year and have to wear sandals for the other two.
Except bare foot leaves your feet eaten by mosquitoes!
Wonderful unless you get amoebic dysentary,dengue fever, or malaria?? gary
I love gardening in Central Florida because we get two vegetable growing seasons instead of just one. The subtropical climate also allows us to enjoy both tropical ornamentals as well as some things that do better up north. And while the occassional hard freeze knocks the tender things back, this provides an opportunity to refresh, repurpose or other wise redo garden beds. I hated ripping living things out to rework a bed when I lived in South Florida. I don't have that emotional conflict if the plant has been frozen to the ground.
Gary, I won't say that those things can't happen, but I will say the chances must be insanely small. So many people go barefoot so often that if to were a common occurance, there should be a veritable epidemic. That said, I'm not talking about working in straight compost while barefoot!
Insanely small? We've got 7 confirmed cases of dengue fever in my neck of the woods (Rio/Jensen Beach) right now, FWIW. It appears to be slowly working its way north, I'm sorry to say.
This post was edited by writersblock on Mon, Aug 26, 13 at 20:45
But you can get dengue fever just as easily from a bite on the shoulder as a bite on the foot... however reading up on this virus, I might start putting more insect repellent on when I'm outside. Mosquito populations have gone down since I started being more vigilant about removing standing water from pots and such after rains, but I'm the only one doing so in my immediate vicinity. My other neighbors prefer to hide inside.
I've lived in tropical Asia for decades & walked barefooted in the house (which is a tradition) & in the gardens/parks with no problem because primarily there are no fire-ants there. I love gardening in Florida, learning about seasons & the beautiful vegetation growable, BUT I would not walk barefooted.
Mosquitoes do not necessarily bite your bare feet they can even bite your eyelids or your scalp. My father passed away from dengue fever so it is something I take seriously. The dengue virus is carried by the Aedes mosquito which has already bitten an infected person. Stagnant water under flower pots, in bromeliads leaves, etc should be gotten rid of/hosed down.
I repeat, I love gardening in Florida, but please do not take stagnant water and mosquitoes lightly. Please do wear thin long sleeves, relevant footwear and apply mosquito repellent when out in your gardens... then sit back in your screened porch, behind patio doors and admire what Mother Nature has made possible to grow in Florida... at least until cooler weather. :)
As someone who has spent the last 15 years in the garden wearing only a bathing suit, I have had enough small pollinators attack me and stepped on so many mulch shards that there are days where I feel like a pin cushion. My feet, calloused to the point that I can actually walk on hot beach sand or a paved street without pain, have been a source of heated arguments with my wife; few that I've won. So, as much as I'm still allowed to walk barefoot in the house, flip flops are now required in the garden.
However, to respond to the original poster...
Reasons I love to garden in Florida:
1. You can garden in Florida all year long.
2. You can grow plants here that make your out-of-state visitors go "ooh" and "ahh".
3. Few plants are permanent here. Even large trees don't last forever. This gives you the opportunity to try new ones all the time.
4. New plants arrive daily; some of them even work here. I remember one of the local big box stores was selling dwarf Japanese maples around 10 years ago. It was December. I had an extra $50 in my pocket. To hell with that, I pulled out my credit card and bought all six of them. By August they were all dead. Word to the wise, just because a nursery sells it, doesn't mean it's going to live here.
5. There are few enemies you will meet in your life that share the prowess of Florida bugs. This is where we separate the gardeners from the lunatics. Crotons are a major component of my garden. I have over 300 of them in the ground, at least 150 different varieties. A large green scale has been attacking them for the past three years. I am a lunatic when it comes to pest control; don't ask.
This post was edited by fawnridge on Tue, Aug 27, 13 at 8:52
Being able garden year round and the large variety of plants we have to choose from. Being able to keep the pond going year round and not have to overwinter anything from it in the house like they have to up north.
I have two kiddy pools sitting out back that I keep my extra bog plants in. One gets mosquito rings in it and has several very big tadpoles. The other I've put feeder guppies, minnows, and a single beta in to see how they do at controlling mosquitos.
Although I don't even go barefoot in my own house (wimpy feet!) I agree with all the reasons posted why it's great to garden here. I like being able to grow things from cuttings in a short time. Also, my garden goes from frozen and dead-looking to large and lush almost every year. What doesn't come back in the spring gets replaced. I usually don't even remember what died. Heck, I've killed more plants then I can count. Somehow my garden is still full!
Boy, Writer wasn't kidding. The dengue fever story has hit national news. See link below.
Carol in Jacksonville
Here is a link that might be useful: 8 dengue cases detected in Florida