Photos: A Kendall yard becomes an edible garden


Frank Macaluso pulls up a turmeric root from the front yard of his East Kendall home. He has more traditional raised-bed gardens of greens, carrots, leeks, zucchini and other vegetables in the backyard.

Earth Learning, a Miami-based sustainability group which focuses on food and agriculture, hosted the third annual Greater Everglades Community Food Summit, which ended last week. The summit included a tour of local farms and gardens.

The farm tour visited Frank Macaluso’s Kendall home. Macaluso has turned his lawn, which sits on an approximately ¾-acre lot, into an edible garden.

The tour focused on regenerative agriculture, an approach to farming and gardening that shuns even the fertilizers and pesticides organic farmers are allowed to use, in favor of planting methods that provide for natural pesticide and weed management and that build healthy, rich soil.

Macaluso grows only for his own purposes, but the Earth Learning tour guides, Mario Yanez and Jennifer Garcia Matthews, chose the site to inspire visitors who might want to turn even a section of their lawn into an edible garden.

It’s a labor intensive yard.  Macaluso spends one to two hours weeding each day.  He is retired after working as an adjunct professor of philosophy at University of Miami and Miami-Dade College.

Macaluso's yard may look like a tropical garden gone a little wild, but he's turned his lawn into a garden that provides much of the food he eats. Just along the driveway, Macaluso grows bananas, papayas and Meyer lemons.

Macaluso plants a wide variety in his dense garden so that he has different foods available in each season. If a plant becomes infested or diseased, there is enough variety in Macaluso’s garden that he doesn’t lose all of his harvest: “If you plant enough, the bugs get their share and you get yours.”

Plants and trees in Macaluso’s yard include edamame or soybean, carrots, leeks, broccoli,  papaya, mulberry, macadamia, green beans and okra. Sweet potato and garlic chives make up a lot of the ground cover in his front yard.

When Macaluso wants fresh salad, he picks arugula, basil and other herbs from the backyard garden: “It’s very convenient. I don’t go to Publix too often.” He says he mostly purchases rice and beans at the grocery store.

More photos from Frank Macaluso’s yard are below.

Related: Read more about another farm on the tour.

Garlic chives mark the edge of Frank Macaluso's front yard. In October, he led a tour of his house for fellow gardening enthusiasts and farmers. Macaluso, a former professor, devotes at least an hour or two a day to keeping out the weeds.

The pool in the backyard is a network of lilies and other water plants: "I just got tired of cleaning the pool." Fish like gambusia and coy live in the pool. Strawberries grow out of the repurposed garbage can.

A row of pineapples grows along Frank Macaluso's driveway.

The berries of the allspice tree are an ingredient in jerk seasoning. Macaluso also uses the leaves for tea.

When Macaluso wants fresh salad, he picks arugula, basil and other herbs from the backyard garden: "It's very convenient. I don't go to Publix too often."


Tags: , , ,

7 Responses to “Photos: A Kendall yard becomes an edible garden”

  1. October 29, 2012 at 8:54 am #

    Nice story, Trina. Frank provided the Seminole pumpkins we used in our story and recipe in the fall issue of Edible South Florida.

  2. October 30, 2012 at 10:09 am #

    Great use of his pool! Think if people start with small plot so it’s not so overwhelming could still be very effective.

  3. November 3, 2012 at 8:05 am #

    Trina, How do I share this story or others on FB or Linked in?

  4. trina
    November 13, 2012 at 9:24 am #

    Hi Mario. You can just copy and paste the link from the article into Facebook. I need to add the little widgets!

  5. Daphne
    May 14, 2013 at 8:55 pm #

    I need a couple of turmeric plants. Anyone know where I can get them.

  6. trina
    June 10, 2013 at 8:16 am #

    Daphne, I think perhaps an Indian market like Asia Grocery on Miller in Miami might be a good place to start. They or another store catering to and Indian clientele may sell the turmeric roots which can possible be used as rootstock.

  7. Ronnie Kauder
    June 18, 2013 at 8:44 am #

    I used to work with Frank Macaluso and would like to contact him. I am in Miami now. Please send email address or phone number. If you cannot do this, please give Frank my contact information, email as above or 201-755-5964.

Leave a Reply