Vegetables and Fruit forum: Central/South Florida edible plants?

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Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
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beckygardener
Aug 13, 2015 11:20 AM CST
Well, after much trial and error, I am coming to the experts here to ask ....

Can anyone tell me which edible plants (specific cultivars) that grow well here in zone 9b in Florida? AND not only which ones, but WHEN is the best time to sow seeds to get them to germinate, grow, and produce?

What kind of location would they need as well? Shade, full sun, partial shade, etc?

I would like to grow them in the ground if possible, but I can do container sowing as well. I just need some cultivar names of edible plants to get on the right track. I am able to grow all kinds of ornamental plants, but veggies and fruit have eluded me for a good 5+ years. I would prefer to mix these plants into my landscaping not rows like a farm might have. Help!
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Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
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RickCorey
Aug 13, 2015 12:02 PM CST
Hi Becky

I have zero experience with growing in Florida, or any climate remotely like that. BUT ...


http://floridaheirloomseeds.com/
These guys say:
"The challenge with heirlooms is to find the right one for the right time and place. And since growing in Florida has enough special challenges, its best to do a little research and save yourself the head and heart ache of another small harvest. There are plenty of heirlooms that thrive in Florida's climate. Below there are over 100 heirloom seeds that have been tested by the University of Florida and proved themselves superior."

However, they have over 100 heirloom varieties, so they MIGHT be more like collectors or archivists than hungry gardeners looking for just one GOOD variety!


These other guys have "Florida" all over their home page, and publish a downloadable a "Florida planting schedule" that might be helpful until you get some successful crops to tell you "THAT was the right time to start them".

http://growincrazyacres.com/

http://growincrazyacres.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Flori...

They seem to have such a small number of varieties, I'm guessing their selection of cultivars really is appropriate for Florida.


>> Well, after much trial and error

I've found that personally contacting seed vendors will sometimes put you in touch with a real expert. Since you've already tried and erred, you are their target audience.

By phone or email, put together 2-3 questions that show the expert that you've given it some thought, and motivate her or him to get involved. If they are like Baker Creek or Kitazawa Seeds or Botanical Interests, and you get lucky, they might enjoy going into detail with a customer who appreciates their expertise.

For example, mention varieties that you've tried and not gotten good harvests from. Or pick 2-3 varieties from their list that look maybe-good, and ask if they are suited to your particular micro-climate or growing method (rows, raised beds, containers).

Sebastian, FL is near Melbourne FL? Then I think your ag coop extension office is this one:
http://orange.ifas.ufl.edu/

Cool, they have an "Ask An Agent" email address, and sugegst sending photos with questions!
orange@ifas.ufl.edu

County Fact Sheets with gardening guides:
http://orange.ifas.ufl.edu/res_hort/almanac.html#FS
http://orange.ifas.ufl.edu/res_hort/pdffiles/Factsheets/vh02...

But I'm not finding lists of cultivars recommended for the Florida climate ...

wait ...
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/vh021
Table 4.
Suggested Varieties for Florida Gardens


Yayy! That should at least give you some suggestions to start with. Maybe you could pick several from each category, list those, and ask more-experienced FL gardeners what their results have been with those specific varieties, or what they personally prefer. It's often easier to reply to a specific question than a general one.

However, some of their suggestions are more detailed than others. When they list "varieties" of Chinese cabbage suited to Florida, they just list the general names for EVERY kind of Chinese cabbage AND all related varieties.

But they have lists of specific cultivars for several kinds of beans, cabbage, beets, broccoli, etc etc.

Cruising the thread titles in the Florida Gardening Forum didn't turn up any discussion of specific cultivars OR praiseworthy regionally-focused seed vendors.
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
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beckygardener
Aug 22, 2015 8:57 AM CST
Rick - I lost track of this thread after I created it. I had read your post and then got distracted before coming back here now.

THANK YOU for all the resource links you posted above!!! You rock!!!

Are there any central Florida edlible plant gardeners here on this forum?
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Aug 22, 2015 4:38 PM CST
Becky, you might want to post your questions on the "Florida Gardening" forum.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
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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
Aug 23, 2015 5:05 AM CST
@beckygardener,

Yes, I try to grow edibles here in FL. This is my first year gardening here after moving from the Midwest. I saw your comment in another thread about fighting the pests and diseases ... I can totally relate. I'm hoping this 2nd planting for the Fall will yield better results than the Spring planting. No tomatoes at all from the spring planting ... pests totally destroyed both attempts at zucchini. Disease got the first cucumbers, then pests ravaged the 2nd planting. I did manage to get some green beans and the peppers did OK. I am limited to growing in containers, but I don't think that matters ... I've already decided that if this Fall planting of tomatoes is a total failure, I think I'm done fighting all the problems with them. I'd love to have some good, home-grown tomatoes, but I'm beginning to think that is just a pipe dream. After pests/disease wiped out the first tomatoes, I even bought a couple of plants at Home Depot that were supposedly developed to do well here in FL ... same results. They start out looking great, then something gets them. I had the plants in earthboxes so the watering should be even and I've had great success using earthboxes in the past. I know people grow edibles here in FL, but I have to wonder how much chemicals they have to use to get a crop to produce. I even resorted to Sevin on the earlier tomatoes and that didn't even slow the pests down. BT did take care of the tomato worms, but whatever the other critters were weren't phased by the Sevin.
Mary K.
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
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beckygardener
Aug 23, 2015 6:28 AM CST
@ p1mkw Mary - I feel your pain! I also garden organically (or try very hard to do so!), which makes it even more challenging....

I started a thread in the Florida Gardening forum:

The thread "Who grows vegetables and fruit in Florid" in Florida Gardening forum

Let's see if we get any replies and advice!
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden

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