Volume 3 Issue 11 | November 2023

As a Home Watch provider, we want each of your return trips to Sarasota to feel as refreshing as the first. Our "Piece of Paradise" newsletters provide a brief glimpse into Florida homeownership, followed by a featured activity for your next visit.

Homeowner Insight

Can you eat your yard? Munching on grass probably doesn't sound appealing. But Floridians can grow a variety of edible landscape plants and container-friendly vegetables - even in the winter! So far, our household landscape has been more successful feeding the birds and squirrels than it has our family - but we still like to pretend we could walk out the door to find some healthy snacks once in awhile. In the past we have been successful with cucumbers, broccoli, tomatoes, green beans and peanuts(ish) in the vegetable garden. Our Everglades Tomatoes are just about ready for harvesting from their containers. The kids very boldly tasted fruit from our backyard Bird Pepper plant (the Beautyberries will need a LOT of sugar to be palatable...), and we've given our pet bunny some of the leaves from our sprawling Wild Strawberry plants and Violets. We've also managed to unintentionally end the lives of three Highbush Blueberry plants.

Our attempt at Golden Bantham Sweet Corn was laughable... but the Indian Corn did turn out great the following year! And the green beans below tasted so fresh.

November Piece Of Paradise

Creator's Farm and Garden

The "Tree of Life" - a grand Southern Live Oak - makes a beautiful focal point for the attraction's 12 gardens.

Extra, extra, read all about it! Be one of the first to visit a developing attraction that will surely become a beloved local gem. Creator's Farm and Garden is the dream and brainchild of the Toney family. The amount of planning and summer planting that has gone into this 6-acre property is a nearly unfathomable labor of love.

What makes this garden different from a walk through Selby Gardens, Sarasota Jungle Gardens, or The Ringling Estate? Their mission: creative agritourism that inspires a deeper connection with the Creator of the universe.

Garden One: The Garden of Creation. "And God said, Let there be light..."

At its essence, the site offers a self-guided walk through twelve distinct gardens. Each garden is biblically themed, signed to prompt thought and reflection in a meditative experience. In addition to providing spiritual nourishment, the many edible and medicinal plants will one day provide bodily nourishment via an onsite farmer's market.

The harvest from landscaped plants will be heavily supplemented by produce (and maybe fish?) from the aquaponics area. The first two of four tilapia tanks are up and running, sending nutrient-dense water through a natural filtration system before it feeds the grow beds and is recirculated.

Having spent years homeschooling her children, owner Patrice is eager to teach about the aquaponics process and encourages questions.

There is an obvious effort to make the experience family-friendly. Seating areas are abundant (we didn't even know there were that many styles of swings!), and extra touches like a small zip line, a recreational courtyard, and a pool noodle jumble invite extra engagement with the surroundings. Notices along the path announce future animal habitats.

"The Swing Series"

We also want to give our thanks and credit to Creator's Farm and Garden for being up front regarding their current state of affairs. The website does not hide the reality that this business is a work in progress. We anticipate that a follow-up visit at this time next year will yield a more complete, more refined experience. In the meantime, we were so happy to stumble upon and support this little slice of serenity in southern Sarasota County.

Nearby or Similar Considerations

Has it been awhile since we mentioned the wealth of knowledge about sustainable lifestyles that's available through the UF/IFAS Sarasota County Extension? They're still there, and they're still amazing. Lots of information for landscape lovers or aspiring agriculturalists.

A similar destination we've had on our list for years but never made it to, is ECHO Global Farm in North Fort Myers. They are a demonstration farm that teaches self-sustainable solutions for small-scale farmers around the world.

Learn more about our Home Watch services, Florida homeownership, and activity ideas in and around the Sarasota area on the Coastal Haven website. For additional photos and information on this month's featured attractions, follow our Facebook or Instagram accounts.

Facebook  Instagram  Youtube