When to plant in SW Florida ( Fort Myers).

lehighSeptember 9, 2010

New guy. Trying to plant everything that grows here (fruits , vegetables e.t.c). Need to know what and when to plant. Also , how to turn "suggar sand" in to normal , black , fat , rich top soil without spending fortune on it.

Thanks.

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perceptioveritas(9 FL)

Having moved from up North, we too have had the same questions you have. What we have done to improve the soil in our growing areas, is mix LOTS of compost and potting soil into the areas we want to plant in.

Take a look here (copy and paste the links) http://floridagardener.com/ and http://www.floridagardener.com/vgarden/WinterVeggieGardening.htm it will give you some good tips on Florida Gardening, what to plant, and when, as well as this site there are some really good people that give some great advice.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 6:37AM
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mrs_tlc

Lee County Extension has some great info. I went to a gardening seminar there and they said for our area to plant everything the second week of Oct. I've started my seedlings and they took off faster than anticipated so I'm going to put them into pots for a few weeks I guess and start some more in a few weeks.

I'm a real newbie to veg gardening as well and we are doing raised lasagna beds because of the poor soil conditions and nematodes.

The people here are great and you will learn lots from them!!

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 8:08AM
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mrs_tlc

This is a great link that a fellow GWer shared with me and it has been really helpful

Here is a link that might be useful: When to plant

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 10:23AM
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lehigh

Thanks guys. Any more specific info will be big help. I was thinking about mixing "expired " fruits from local markets with soil , saw dust , septic scam and grass to create top soil. Afraid it will stink a lot.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 10:42PM
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captturbo

Howdy neighbor (Ft Misery here too).

Collect all the leaves you can find. Seagrape in particular work great for me after they have been through the shredder. I also get horse manure from stables in the area to compost. It really isn't that hard to make this sand fertile but it is an ongoing process that you must keep doing every year.

Your biggest challenge will probably be the rootknot nematodes, at least they are for me. Whatever you plant in the veggie garden, make sure that you plant some broccolie. It does great for me every year.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2010 at 6:25PM
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lehigh

Where in FM can i get manure ?? And where can i find Seagrape ?? Dose it stink a lot when using manure ? Shoutd it be covered with soil or something ? How about some old fruits ? they should be perfect food for plants. Just like milk for humans. Also, i know guys who cut grass and trim palms , got to pay to dump that somewhere. I wonder where they dump it. Maybe i should make deal with some of them and start shreading they garbage for myself too.
That rurbo in your screen name anyhow related to cars ?

Thanks a lot.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2010 at 3:19AM
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keiki(10 FL)

Hi Neighbor. I live across the river. Call your city and find out if they have mulch or compost. If so check it out first, I have seen broken bottles and plastic in many of the free piles but you never know. Take advantage if you can. You can also call tree companies and ask if they have any mulch, if they don't give it away they have to pay to dump it. Put down heavy layers of newspaper or cardboard under it to add another layer. Start your own compost either in a bin or a corner of the yard. This will get your yard off to a great start. As for veggies I grow most in self watering containers.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2010 at 8:09AM
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amberroses(10a)

Composted manure can be purchased at the big box stores. Some people on here have better sources and may tell you more places to go to get it cheaper. Well composted manure doesn't smell like poo and it looks like dark rich crumply goodness.

You can make your own compost in your yard with old leaves and grass clippings. I am not a compost expert. I usually don't put fruit in my compost because I don't want to attract rats and other nasty things. I do use fruit peelings. If you put a whole fruit in your soil uncomposted I would think it would draw ants. For a short term solution buy your compost and for the long term start your own compost pile.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2010 at 8:18AM
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mrs_tlc

I also read on the "frugal gardening" forum about people using alfalfa pellets (like rabbit pellets). Very inexpensive. Some mix them into the soil, some make a tea. They say the tea is better (but stinks a lot).

    Bookmark   September 12, 2010 at 10:12AM
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pawsnplants

Hello and welcome. Congratulations, you are asking the right questions so you're off to a good start! And already you've gotten lots of good advice. Compost is key, and the general rule is anything that was ever a plant can be composted (and it doesn't smell). No one has mentioned coffee grounds yet and that is a great one. Starbucks gives loads of it away free so every time you pass by, pick some up.

As for fruit trees, bananas, mangoes, papayas, avocados for sure and there are many others depending on how much time and space you have.

Whatever you decide to plant, make sure you get the variety that grows best in your area. It makes a big difference.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2010 at 2:04PM
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lehigh

Thanks. Basicaly i want to plant everything that grows and could be used as a food. :) Dont want to spend any mony on food , except meat , salt and suggar. But even for meat or fish I got no problem to hunt or fish. :D I got 1/2 acre land , so , enough room for a lot of plants. I'll probably will even grow tobaco.
How about aples , cherry , pears e.t.c. I like northen fruits too.
And one more thing. Anyone in FM knows where i can ger #5 or #4 concrete rebar ? I want to plant some grapes too.

Thanks guys.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2010 at 9:47PM
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loufloralcityz9

lehigh,

Make sure you get the 'Low Chill' varietys of fruit trees. The northern fruit trees will not set fruit in Florida because they do not get enough cold weather during their dormancy. I have nice granny smith and red delicious shade trees that have never fruited in 8 years.

Tobacco is bothered by root knot nematodes in the soil and also the tobacco horn worm chews up the leaves and is a hard crop to grow.

For your eggs & meat, think of raising chickens and/or rabbits if it's allowed in your area. They both supply much needed fertilizer for your compost pile and compost is crucial for successful gardening in Florida.

It is best to plant in pots & raised beds using your composted material rather than directly into the sugar sand ground. If you insist on planting in the sugar sand it will take a year or two of soil preparation before you can plant.

Once you get used to living on this alien planet called Florida, you will be able to grow crops all year round, but first you have to forget everything you've ever learned about farming up north and learn when to plant what and at what time of the year for each.

Seedless grapes will occasionally make seeds in Fl.

Lowes & Home Depot have the rebar you are looking for in ten foot lengths, you have to ask them for it. Another good place to shop for gardening supplies like pole bean wire netting and stakes is Tractor Supply. They call it cattle fencing.

Lou

    Bookmark   September 13, 2010 at 7:03AM
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amberroses(10a)

Good advice Lou. lehigh-If you like muscadine grapes they may grow easier for you than regular european grapes. Also I would look at the chart mrs_tlc linked to above.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2010 at 11:27AM
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lehigh

what can i use as a life fence ?

    Bookmark   November 19, 2010 at 11:23PM
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loufloralcityz9

lehigh

I don't understand your question 'what can i use as a life fence ?'

explain what you mean by 'life fence'

Lou

    Bookmark   November 20, 2010 at 12:31AM
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gardengimp(9B Seminole Cnty FL)

Do you mean a living fence? Do you want it for a visual screen or a physical screen? For visual, just about any fruiting shrub will work; blueberry I read a lot about. Although it is not a privacy fence so to speak. I'm in Central Florida, so ymmv; but I've planted a Calumundin to be a visual screen between our front door and our neighbors back porch. Will take some time to grow up though.

~dianne

    Bookmark   November 20, 2010 at 1:50PM
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captturbo

"Where in FM can i get manure ?? And where can i find Seagrape ?? Dose it stink a lot when using manure ? Shoutd it be covered with soil or something ? How about some old fruits ? they should be perfect food for plants. Just like milk for humans. Also, i know guys who cut grass and trim palms , got to pay to dump that somewhere. I wonder where they dump it. Maybe i should make deal with some of them and start shreading they garbage for myself too.
That rurbo in your screen name anyhow related to cars ?"

Hi Lehigh. Sorry for losing track of this thread. My girl has two horses that she keeps at a stable in S. Ft. Myers. I know there are several stables around our area and most of them are near I-75 or a little East. Most don't seem to mind if you take the used stable bedding home.

One thing about the stuff though; It has a lot of wood shavings in it so it takes some time to get it composted enough to use in your planters. I run it all through my shredder and then water it and turn and re-wet the piles every few days to let it heat. After three or four heating cycles it is good to use as a top mulch. The "potting soil" that I make with it takes a year to finish off while stored in trash cans.

No strong odor to it even when it's fresh but once you turn and heat it a few times there is only an earthy smell to it.

Seagrape trees are common around here. I have one on my lot that I gaether leaves from. Every year or two I put the pole saw to it bringing it down to size and I get lots of wonderful wood mulch after running the limbs through the chipper.

I use everything at hand including fruits for composting. Sometimes a neighbor might have a few hundred citrus fruits that they didn't use and I just toss them in the shredder hopper and it all comes out a spray of good nutrients which soak into my leaf and stable bedding compost piles.

One idea for trellis building that I haven't seen mentioned is the use of bamboo. I have a friend with a large clump bamboo plant and he begs me to take the dead stuff out of it each year, This stuff is huge and it is very strong. I built a large trellis from the stuff for my climbing crops. I also run countless lengths of it through the chipper for the organic compost material.

The "Turbo" in my name does indeed have to do with a car. I have a 1987 factory slant nose 930 turbo cabriolet in tripple black. Only 78 were built so it is a special little beast.

The "Capt" part of the name is from what I do for a living as a charter boat Capt.

Best of luck with your gardening efforts. I look forward to seeing further posts from you to see how things are going for you as the Winter gardening season continues. CaptTurbo.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2010 at 9:12AM
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lehigh

Thanks for your help Capt. I'll be in FM at the end of April. Originaly i am in NYC. Building house in Lehigh Acres now for retirement.
As for turbo question , i got 1995 Dodge Stratus with 2.4 DOHC engine that built from 130 hp original to 562 hp now, One and only in the world. ;) We on the same page.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2011 at 10:57PM
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lehigh

Forgot to ask. Do you know where i can get in FM chipper ? I cut about 12 pines on backyard and want to mulch everything , and , pull stumps out. Largest stump about 24" in diameter.
And another thing. How difficult it would be to grow Banyan and Baobab on my front yard ? Where can i get them ?

    Bookmark   March 18, 2011 at 11:11PM
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lehigh

Thank you guys for all your help. I am taking long but hopefuly rite rout to improve my soil. Last november i dumped on my backyard ( 1/2 ac lot) about 300 cu /yds of mix of horse manure and wood shavings. So now half of backyard covered with about 3-4 ft tall layer of horse poo. doing second half this November. I want to raise soil level of my yard about 2-3 ft. And have 2 ft of perfectly rich top soil . I am not in Lehigh now , so manure decomopsing by itself, without turnong or watering it. I know it will take a lot longer to compost it , but i have no other chance to do it for now. Next fall i will level all piles up and seed alfalfa on top of the new soil. Probably will let it be under alfalfa for another year before i will start planting. Probably will get neighbor to cut alfalfa with lawn mauler every 2 month or so. This year i'll probably will cover manure with mulch to stop any weeds from growing. Before seeding Alfalfa i got to find someone with tractor to deep cultivate soil . Turn it over. Let me know if i am doing something wrong or there is better ways to do it. Thanks guys.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 3:59PM
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Shuckapeafarms

Lot's of advice here, some good and some nonsense! I am a retired farmer for over 50 years and my advice is to stay native. Plants grow is harmony with their climate and surroundings. It's going to be very difficult attempting to grow New England or Northwest Pacific plants in Florida. First of all, the heat and drought would kill most of them to start with as well as the northern clay soils verses the sandy soil of the south. You can mulch and compost all day long but it isn't going to change the specifics of the plants! So as not to throw away alot of money, I recommend native species for the best result! Think about it, how many corn fields or apple orchards have you seen in SW Florida?? Any redwoods or Sequoias in your backyard?? Even basic evergreens are rare outside of the pine. I also had cows, hogs, and draft horses so let me say this........what goes in one end.......comes out the other........including the weeds they eat while grazing! We used to feed our hogs various produce and grains, shovel out the hog pen daily, and at the end of the day, the manure pile had everything from pumpkins to tomatoes growing that I never planted there......as well as the WEEDS!! Even though you see many palm trees, they aren't native and they all struggle through the winter here with many not surviving!

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 9:57AM
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msmorningsong(SW FL 10A)

How's it going Lehigh? You ever make it down and get the soil building going up again?

    Bookmark   December 25, 2013 at 4:52PM
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wisconsitom

...meanwhile, the pines you got rid of were perfectly at home with their soil/climate!

I don't know why, and I don't mean to be scolding the OP, but you Floridians sure don't seem to appreciate the native plant communities around you. Especially the pine flatwoods, which in my opinion are just plain gorgeous, what little of them remain.

+oM

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 4:22PM
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