Florida Gardening forum: Good source for veggie plants near Tampa??

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Name: Mary K
Safety Harbor, FL (Zone 10a)
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p1mkw
Jan 8, 2015 9:53 PM CST
I am suffering from sticker shock. I moved to FL a couple of years ago and decided this year I would dig into the storage unit and bring out a couple of my earthboxes. I realize it is still early to be buying plants here, but the ones I've seen at the big box stores are almost $4 each! Is there any place near Tampa that sells veggie plants for a more reasonable price? I'm used to paying less than $2 for a 4 or 6 pack of plants. I'm trying to get some seeds started but I realize I may have waited too long to do that and may end up having to buy the plants. But at $4 a plant, it's just hard to do.

Thanks.
Mary K.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
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dyzzypyxxy
Jan 9, 2015 10:02 PM CST
Mary, sometimes you'll find people selling transplants at Farmer's Markets and swap meets for less than the box stores are charging. I'm down in Sarasota, but I'm sure there are similar sources near you, too. Is there a Red Barn market near you?

But . . I got a 9 cell pack of broccoli at Home Depot for $3.95 so I didn't think that was too bad. What really gets me is the cost of the potting soil to fill up my Earth Boxes. I'm being frugal and only refreshing the top part of the soil in some of mine this year, to see if that works ok.

It's probably not to late to start your warm-season seeds like tomatoes and peppers though. Last 'dependable' frost date here is usually around the end of February, so they should be a nice size to transplant by then. I've got some on the go for my local school garden right now. I'm also still 'staging' the broccoli transplants so I don't get all 9 plants flowering in the same week.

We'll be planting snap peas at the school garden this week, too. It's not bad timing for some of the fast cool-season stuff like spinach or kale, either.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Mary K
Safety Harbor, FL (Zone 10a)
Vegetable Grower Container Gardener Region: Florida Tomato Heads Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 1
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p1mkw
Jan 10, 2015 6:55 AM CST
@dyzzypyxxy ... good idea on the Farmers' Markets ... I'll look there. I know what you mean about potting mix. I also use Earthboxes. I'm getting mine out of storage this year after a 2 year hiatus from gardening. I'm looking for a good, professional grade potting mix like I used in Indiana and I haven't found that yet. Someone in another thread suggested 'indoor growing' stores so I hope that works out. Do you replace your potting mix each year? In the past I could use an earthbox 3 years before I had to redo the mix. I'd just remove the fertilizer strip each year and replace that. I also mix in some coir with the potting mix and really liked how that performed.

Thanks for the suggestion. I'm sure I'll figure out something, but paying $4 for 1 plant won't be one of them Smiling
Mary K.
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, 2015 4:32 PM CST
I'm doing the same on replacing the Earth box mix. I pitch the top inch or two, dig out the fertilizer then just add enough new potting mix to mix in about halfway down, and fill it to the 'mounded' state it's supposed to start out with.

I'm finding the mix breaks down some over the summer, as I don't grow any veggies then, just leave the old plastic covers over the boxes to keep weeds and stuff out. It sinks down to an inch or two below the rim, and can get a little mouldy-looking so I just get rid of the top layer.

I'm also trying an amendment in all my pots, beds and also in the Earth boxes, alfalfa pellets. So far the peppers in the one I amended look really good! I just mixed the pellets with the potting mix as I was filling the box, maybe 3 cups of pellets to a box. You can get a 50lb. bag of pellets at any feed store for about $16 and so far since September I've only used half a bag. It's supposed to be absolutely magic for daylilies, so the bed out front where my daylilies will be is getting a big dose soon.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: pam
gainesville fl (Zone 8b)
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gardenglory
Jan 30, 2015 12:43 PM CST
What mix do you use?? Where do you get the lime, and what fertilizer?? I just dumped two of mine today, and its been years since I gave them a new set up. I got lazy the last few years and didnt use the covers, the weeds were terrible, this year I have reordered covers.

I used jungle growth when I first set these up, they dont make it any more.
[Last edited by gardenglory - Jan 30, 2015 12:45 PM (+)]
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Name: Mary K
Safety Harbor, FL (Zone 10a)
Vegetable Grower Container Gardener Region: Florida Tomato Heads Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 1
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p1mkw
Jan 30, 2015 1:52 PM CST
@gardenglory,

I found Jungle Growth at Lowe's. Maybe it's the last of it, but 2 stores in the Clearwater area have it right now. Espoma makes a garden lime which is the dolomite. I've found that at both Lowe's and Home Depot. And both of those stores also carry a variety of fertilizer. Personally, I don't think it's that critical that you use the 10-10-10 fertilizer, just a good, balanced garden fertilizer.

Additionally, for what it's worth, I don't use a straight potting mix. I combine potting mix, coir and perlite. I also discovered that adding Azomite was a big boost to the plants. This is my first year using the Earthboxes in FL (came from the Midwest) so I'm hoping the same combinations work here. Jungle Growth wasn't available in Indiana so I used the Metro Mix 360, but I can't locate that here close to me and that's why I'm trying the Jungle Growth. If you go to the Earthbox website, they have a list of 'approved' potting mixes. It's quite extensive so I'm sure you can find something on the list that is available locally for you.

Good luck.
Mary K.
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 30, 2015 3:59 PM CST
Pam, I was using the Vigoro Organic mix, but haven't seen it recently. It has a high coir content, which I do like. Sent my DH for potting soil and he came home with Miracle Gro (not the moisture control kind, thankfully) so we're going to see how that works. I added some extra Perlite and about a cup of alfalfa pellets to each box. The pepper plants are the best they've ever been!

Last year I stocked up on Earth Box Co's replanting kits so I had a supply of their fertilizer and dolomite, plus new plastic covers as well. If you are on their e-mail list, they put a lot of stuff on 40% off once a year which makes it comparable in price to other fert and dolomite. It's also convenient for me to send to my kids for their Earth Boxes, as well. Neither they, nor their spouses are gardeners so expecting them to buy that stuff and measure it out is above and beyond. I have to do it. So I send them each two replant kits and they are sitting there waiting for me when I go to visit in the springtime.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: pam
gainesville fl (Zone 8b)
Bee Lover Dragonflies Cut Flowers Dog Lover Cat Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Daylilies Butterflies The WITWIT Badge Salvias Birds Hummingbirder
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gardenglory
Jan 30, 2015 8:12 PM CST
Lowes is were i used to get it, they must have just stopped carrying it here.
I mix some pine fines in with whatever I use.

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