Sometimes gardening just a block or two from the salty shoreline can create a challenge. The soil is sandy and salty and may need a lot more work and renourishment than the gardener has energy for.
Raised beds are a great idea in these conditions because you actually start with your own fresh soil mix of conventional planting soils and or organic soils. Raised bed gardeners can add their own composting materials all according to what they want to grow. Irrigation systems can also be placed in the raised bed at construction time.
For a part-time coastal resident the irrigation system is important, allowing the soil and the plants contained in the garden to get adequate moisture while the gardener is out of town. Gardens can be left to seed when the gardener lives in their other part-time home so upon returning to the coast, most of the reseeding is done for them. A little weed pulling and clean up, and the garden is ready to go.
At a close proximity to the shoreline, be careful what you plant. If sea spray is a daily issue, find vegetables, flowers and grasses that are salt tolerant. These can include: Kale, spinach and asparagus. These are also vegetables that look nice if your garden is viewable to the public beach goers. Flowers and grasses that tolerate salt include: Echinacea, Fireworks Sundrop, some Louisiana Irises, and of course palms. There is a great list on the web; click here for information.
Flower box gardening can be useful in coastal areas, too. For the homeowner who doesn’t have much time to garden or much money to pay someone to do it for them, adding containers and window boxes filled with a mix of flowers and herbs can bring colorful beauty to the home and serve as a kitchen helper as well. Many flowers are not only pretty but edible too. For a list and more information, click here.
Of course, there are those who want flowers but are not even interested in the hassle of planting flower boxes. I found this solution to minimal gardening on Anna Maria Island in Florida. Clever.