Starting seeds

lilquats(9a)June 25, 2013

I'm beginning! I'm coming from Georgia where I worked as an apprentice on an organic market farm - I am now located in Bushnell (Sumter County), FL where I'm starting a small CSA. I have a bit of Florida gardening experience, and most of my Georgia experience transfers here as the climates aren't far off. Sunn Hemp cover crop is in the ground now.

My questions begin with starting seeds. My seeds are ordered and will be here within days. I intended to start seeds indoors under lights starting July 1st for peppers and eggplant and throughout July for tomatoes, cole crops, cukes, and everything else to be set out through August. Is this too early for seed starting? I thought it wise to start early with many many starts in succession as this first year is a bit of an experiment, as I find the best fit for my micro-climate.

So is August going to be too hot to set out my broccoli, cabbage, kale, tomatoes, squash, cucumbers & more? Also - is starting indoors under lights even necessary? Any alternatives to that? Any information helps! Specifically your rough seed starting schedules would benefit me greatly!

I'd love to start an ongoing conversation here about getting started as a young farmer in Florida, where I can throw all of my questions on y'all knowledgeable folks. Thank you in advanced!

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zzackey(8b GA)

It's perfect outside to start seeds. I used to live in Vero Beach now I live in SE Georgia. I only start seeds inside in Feb/March. I don't use lights, just a bright window and it works good for me. I'm not sure what part of the state you are in. What is your zone? I'm not good with fall/winter gardening. You should get some other responses soon that will help you. Good luck and happy growing!!

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 3:33AM
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I believe I'm zone 9a. I feel like it'll be too hot to start cool season crops outdoors... maybe I'm wrong?

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 11:04AM
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whgille(FL 9b)

Hi Lilquats

Welcome to Florida and the forum! First of all I like to wish you the best in the future, I know a couple of people that have a CSA and sell to restaurants in my area.

About the timing of the seeds, scroll down for that info in the link.

Since you are going to do this for business, the right way to start the seeds would be indoors under lights like you are planning to, this way you can keep an eye on the seedlings. My methods are different because I only have a garden for my family, I start the seeds outdoors and keep an eye on the weather for planting in the garden.


Here is a link that might be useful: vegetable planting

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 12:51PM
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love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)

CSA = Community-supported agriculture

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 6:40PM
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Thanks Silvia for your help. So is August not too hot to set out Broccoli, Collards, Peppers, Summer and Winter Squash, etc. That's where I am uncertain. My gut tells me it's too hot, but all the planting guides indicate that it's the proper time.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 10:52AM
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zzackey(8b GA)

I would think it's ok to do the peppers and squash outside. Any hot weather crop should be ok, IMO. Sorry I gave you the wrong advice about the cool weather crops. How hot is it down there? 90 here now.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 2:53PM
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whgille(FL 9b)

Lilquats, the seedlings in August are in my porch ready for the garden...


    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 5:03PM
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When you say "set out" do you mean little plants (sets) into the garden? Or do you mean seeds into their little pots to germinate?

Welcome to the best forum on the web and good luck with your enterprise.

An old time name for the forest in your area is "the Wahoo". That area is about the best of inland Florida. Love the beaches, but I'll take forests and springs anytime.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 9:51PM
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Yes when I say set out I mean set my lil transplants into the garden. I started my eggplant and peppers yesterday, planning to start my tomatoes tomorrow. In another week I think I'll start broccoli and collards. Another week or so from that and I'll start squash and cucumbers. All to be set out sometime in August. Sounding about right?

I live right in the middle of Wahoo! Great place, I love it here.. Best neighbors and beautiful land.

This post was edited by lilquats on Sat, Jun 29, 13 at 22:21

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 10:19PM
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Since we don't get our first real cold spell until late October, I would say to wait a little on your cole crops. I know there are some older posts that say wait until mid August to plant cole seeds.

The heat relief starts in mid Sept with the evenings becoming bearable. Still very hot in the days until the first front comes through.

Others here do set tom seeds, peppers and such in July to be planted out in mid/late August. I am not that experienced with veggies. Most of this advice comes from reading here.

Some day I will get back to the Wahoo. I hope to find a graveyard near an old Pentecostal church and see if I can find a friend from the past and leave her some roses.

Veronica in Thonotosassa

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 11:59PM
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shavedmonkey (Harvey in South Fl.)Z10b

For the first veggie crop and the last I grow bush beans. First is August and last is May. They seem to tolerate the cusps of the growing season. I imagine this would be true of most legumes. I just grew and turned under cow peas (black eye peas) for green manure. They tolerated the heat fine. But I turned it under before any pods set.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 8:05AM
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i waffle a lot about when to start cruciferous crops. unless youre very diligent (aka silvia!) and/or have some controlled environment, getting a really early start may not provide much benefit, as the seedlings are invariably stressed by the heat and there are so many diseases and pests in late summer. last year i managed to get my broccoli crop in pretty early, mid-august. but the seedlings were puny, i lost probably 50% of them to drought, inundation, or bugs. and they really didnt start growing until the first cool weather in october, anyway. i started a second set of plants much later (dunno when, probably mid-september) and planted them in another row. by december it was hard to tell which row was producing better. similar experience with tomatoes, etc--they dont start growing well until warm weather, so seedlings set out at different times all even out by the time they start producing. anyway, as we're on about the same latitude (29*) and our weather patterns are similar, you might find this post interesting...

adding... ultimately, seeds are pretty cheap (at least compared to return on investment). in florida, it pays to have a 'rolling' approach to seed sowing. save for mid-summer, i ALWAYS have seedlings in cups, ready for transplant to the garden when i've harvested or when another plant dies. for instance, i have a bunch of nice, medium-sized tomatoes (tomande) that are still setting and ripening fruit. i put them in the garden "late" and they're just now in their prime, and though they wont bear nearly as much as a plant that i put in the ground on time, you can eke out another week of tomatoes...

Here is a link that might be useful: what should i plant now?

    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 11:07AM
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