Florida Gardening forum: Preparing for Spring Vegetable Garden

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Name: Jean
Fleming Island, FL (Zone 9a)
Native Plants and Wildflowers Composter
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qwilter
Jan 10, 2014 8:51 AM CST
I was over on the Edibles forum but all the Veg gardening chat over there seems to be from those up North where "summer is the time for vegetables".

Since this will be my 1st year starting my garden from seed, thought we might get some chat going over here.

I'll take any & all advice from those of you are experienced in this.
Blessed are the Quilters for they are the Piecemakers.
Name: David Paul
(Zone 9b)
Cat Lover Hibiscus Seed Starter Native Plants and Wildflowers Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Miniature Gardening Keeper of Poultry Herbs Foliage Fan Farmer Dragonflies
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DavidofDeLand
Jan 10, 2014 8:56 AM CST
Winter works for us on many things!
Thumb of 2014-01-10/DavidofDeLand/48d2cb

Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Jan 10, 2014 10:10 AM CST
Jean, if you have room inside, I start seeds of my fancy tomatoes about now, as well as peppers and eggplant. They'll be really a nice vigorous size when it's time to set them out about late February. I buy Momotaro and Mountain Magic seed from Tomato Grower's Supply.

I'm also starting another round of broccoli from seed now. It's really important to stagger planting of broccoli because it matures so suddenly, and doesn't hold at all once it's mature. Found out that one the hard way - first year I planted it, I happily bought a 9-cell pony pack of transplants and put them in on the same day. I had 9 mature heads of broccoli all in the same week, about 7 weeks later! My neighbors loved it!

Otherwise, David's right on, most of my veggie gardening happens in winter. Once we get towards May and it's really hot outside, I start tapering it down for the summer. Basil and eggplant are about all I try for through the hot months, but my back yard is mainly shady in summer anyway, so . . . I put plastic over the raised bed to solarize it and keep weeds from growing, and take a break.

I started seed of broccoli and one Earth Box of Momotaro tomatoes back in October. The tomatoes have already set fruit, but I fret over them when the nights get cold. I've been ok keeping my tomatoes producing through the coldest months, but it's taken a lot of covering, and filling the water reservoirs with warm water before bedtime. You've got to keep them above about 55 or they stop setting fruit, and may stop blooming too.

In my raised bed I planted seeds last month of lettuce, kale, mizuna (a mustard green) and some short carrots. You can keep planting all those through January, usually. The lettuce always seems to be a gamble for me, depending upon how warm the weather gets between cold fronts. I had the whole bed go bitter and start to bolt on me last year. You're a bit cooler up there than me, so you'll do better with all the cool-season greens.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: David Paul
(Zone 9b)
Cat Lover Hibiscus Seed Starter Native Plants and Wildflowers Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Miniature Gardening Keeper of Poultry Herbs Foliage Fan Farmer Dragonflies
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DavidofDeLand
Jan 25, 2014 7:01 AM CST
I saw a hint of your new raised beds to the side in the last pictures you last shared on another thread. It looked like everything was doing really well. Whatcha' up to in the veggie patch? You're right on with getting those seeds started now and made me remember to order what else need today...

I started about 20 new tomato plants from cuttings before they said we were going to have hard freezes a couple of weeks ago, and the tomato plants luckily haven't frozen yet.

Have you ever tried taking cuttings from tomatoes? I have some plants still going from 3 years ago from the original parents this way.

Its kind of fun. To a gardener anyways! Hilarious!
Thumb of 2014-01-25/DavidofDeLand/39766dThis is one of those freak cabbages that happen. Its forming 3 heads.
Thumb of 2014-01-25/DavidofDeLand/cbe0f8The rest of the green cabbages are forming well.
Thumb of 2014-01-25/DavidofDeLand/9181faThe Tomatoes are looking a little frost frazzled but still producing!
Thumb of 2014-01-25/DavidofDeLand/e9fd2dThe Malabar Spinach is usually cooked spinach the minute it freezes, but so far is hanging in! They have been burnt a bit...
Thumb of 2014-01-25/DavidofDeLand/993147The leaves are thick like succulents and are delicious and nutritious sauteed. They get snotty if you boil them :tongue_smilie:
Thumb of 2014-01-25/DavidofDeLand/e9085b
The beautiful berries come from pretty little pink flowers. The stems are scarlet, and the plants are beautiful in the Summer. Dye is made from the berries. They reseed freely from each of those berries.
Want some? Smiling

Name: Jean
Fleming Island, FL (Zone 9a)
Native Plants and Wildflowers Composter
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qwilter
Jan 25, 2014 7:50 AM CST
Yolie had grown that climbing spinach for years but hers died out a couple years back. If you are sharing seeds, count me in!!!

My 4 cabbage plants all have nice heads starting. I need to pick Kale in the next day or 2. Got 6 grape tomatoes picked the other day & clusters of green ones out there in the GH. I guess to keep the plants going you need to use the Indeterminate plants?????

Have tomato seedlings started & hopefully they continue to grow. Just need some warm weather so nites on the sun porch will be warm enough for them.
Blessed are the Quilters for they are the Piecemakers.
Name: David Paul
(Zone 9b)
Cat Lover Hibiscus Seed Starter Native Plants and Wildflowers Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Miniature Gardening Keeper of Poultry Herbs Foliage Fan Farmer Dragonflies
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DavidofDeLand
Jan 25, 2014 1:29 PM CST
Of Course! Seeds and cuttings are always here for you when you visit me Jean!

We just never got around to cuttings after the first, last, and only whirlwind visit I've had with you here. We spent most of our time at Pat and Sues. It was a fun day. Smiling

They do better when they dry on the vine (Malabar Spinach) so maybe in March? and perfect timing for them. Plus the gardens will be prettier!

I will ship seeds of anything I have (if I have them) for 5 dollars S&H to anyone interested reading this. Visit me here at homebase and I'll share seeds and a cutting or two of this or that happily! Potted plants growing for a year or two that are exquisite may not free, but at a great price! Smiling
Name: Jean
Fleming Island, FL (Zone 9a)
Native Plants and Wildflowers Composter
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qwilter
Feb 23, 2014 9:46 AM CST
I stopped in HD this AM to get potting mix. They had some really nice looking tomato plants so I stopped to look. I found Determinate tomato plants. I was shocked. Found one with a few blossoms & he followed me home.

Then a stop a local nursery & 2 hay bales followed me home. Put them up against the chain ling fence. I'm thinking I'll put 2 cucumbers & 1 tomato in each & see how they do. I'm friendly with the people on the other side so will not be a problem to go into their yard to harvest......unless they get to them 1st.

Next nice day the SUV needs a good cleaning!!!!!
Blessed are the Quilters for they are the Piecemakers.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Feb 23, 2014 11:37 AM CST
Hay bales? Sounds like you're planting in the hay bales, Jean? What's the scoop on that?

Good luck with your cukes, I can't grow them down here as either powdery mildew kills them or the pickleworms eat them up before they bear. I'm just not diligent enough with the Bt and baking soda sprays. Anybody else have more luck with cukes, squash or melons? I even tried covering my crooknecks with netting last year, but of course then they didn't get pollenated, and the powdery mildew still got them.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Jean
Fleming Island, FL (Zone 9a)
Native Plants and Wildflowers Composter
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qwilter
Feb 23, 2014 11:45 AM CST
There is an entire thread over on the other site.
Soak them (it is pouring out right now), add a source of nitrogen (I'm going to go pour mine on & let the rain soak it in) then let it "cook" for a couple weeks. You will be able to feel the heat coming off the pale as the inside heats up.

Then make a hole & put the plants in.

Already well over 1" rain in the past 2 hours & it is POURING.
Blessed are the Quilters for they are the Piecemakers.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
dyzzypyxxy
Feb 23, 2014 1:21 PM CST
Yeah, I let my subscription to the other site go. I like this site better and it's free. But they did let me look at this article http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/1084/

Anyway, it sure sounds great, basically the hay/straw is composting while you are growing the plants, right?

Please keep us updated on how this works for you? After reading the article, I'm wondering if it will take a lot more water to grow thirsty stuff like tomatoes this way?
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: David Paul
(Zone 9b)
Cat Lover Hibiscus Seed Starter Native Plants and Wildflowers Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Miniature Gardening Keeper of Poultry Herbs Foliage Fan Farmer Dragonflies
Image
DavidofDeLand
Feb 23, 2014 5:21 PM CST
Believing in determinate Tomatos. Thank God for the unusual early before Spring rains! Hurray! Love Lightning Nitrogen. Thumbs up Never done Hay bail gardening yet but it sure sounds cool! Smiling
Name: Jean
Fleming Island, FL (Zone 9a)
Native Plants and Wildflowers Composter
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qwilter
Mar 7, 2014 6:24 AM CST
For those that make the hoop supports from PVC, which do you use? I was looking at it in the store the other day & it is all too rigid to bend. AM I looking at the wrong product?
Blessed are the Quilters for they are the Piecemakers.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
dyzzypyxxy
Mar 7, 2014 10:15 AM CST
Got a new variety of Determinate tomato called 'Legend' and we're going to try them over at the school garden. We were supposed to plant them yesterday but got rained out, so I'm going over there today to get them put in. They're too big to wait two weeks, (next week is Spring Break) so I've got to do it. Hope the weather holds! My Earth Boxes will all be planted this weekend with peppers and tomatoes, too.

It's an early variety with resistance to the blight diseases as well as all the usual letters and numbers. Sounds like a great one for Florida.

Jean, I haven't used PVC, (I have lots of bamboo) but you could use elbows, and then you'd have either a V-shape or a square support. Don't forget to paint or cover the PVC somehow if you're going to keep it out in the sun, it degrades pretty fast.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill

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