What can I grow in North Sarasota

geosulcataSeptember 25, 2011

We just moved from Gainesville area to North Sarasota area. I am ready to start a garden for vegetables and I have many fruit trees in pots that need to go in the ground, but I am not sure as to the best way to prepare the ground. Also, what grows well in this area?


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Welcome to the area!

There is a bit of difference in the growing climate depending on where in N Sarasota you are. If east of the interstate, you're more likely to see frost in winter and a solid 9b hardiness. Closer to the gulf, there are some wonderful microclimates that are warmer in the winter, and more of a 10a hardiness. Also, the ground changes depending on where you are. A soil test at the Sarasota Extension office would be a wise first step.

I am in West Manatee, near the gulf, river and a bayou. I amend with cow manure and peat, and mulch with pine to get my soil where I want. I have a lot of shell and sugar sand and have to deal with some salt spray and salt intrusion in the irrigation well.

We have jacaranda, mango, lychee and coconut in the neighborhood as well as the obligatory citrus. Surprisingly, the hard winter of a couple years ago didn't affect the coconut, though areas near Miami had them frozen out. About a mile away, many of the palms were wiped out that winter and ours held fast. I put my bell peppers and tomatoes in last week and will start adding to my beds the winter annuals, geranium, impatiens, etc., in October.

Look around your immediate neighborhood, and you can get a good idea of what is successful.

Have fun!


    Bookmark   September 25, 2011 at 4:30PM
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pabrocb(Sarasota/Cape Cod)

I've been in Sarasota for three years, and have had mixed results with plantings. And that is part of the challenge and fun.

Terri's advice is perfect, plant what does well in your immediate neighbor's yard, but remember each yard has it's own micro-climates.

I signed up for this course:


Carol B. Sarasota

    Bookmark   September 26, 2011 at 11:13PM
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annafl(z9b/10a Sarasota)

Another fellow Sarasotan! Welcome. Geosulcata, I also like Terri's advice. My soil test (5 years ago) showed pH's of 7.4-7.7 with low potassium, adequate phosphorus and calcium in my particular yard. Of course, it varies widely by location. I've added mostly leaves, grass clippings, home-made compost and Black Kow, and some greensand (just once or twice) and pine fines. I try to be organic and use mostly soybean or alfalfa meal and fish emulsion for fertilizing. I have citrus, banana, mango (1 small), and two giant lychees in my yard. A few pineapple too. I have trouble with nematodes so I put my tomatoes and peppers in pots. Cucumbers too. It is just getting a bit late to plant those this season, but I think we're just about ready to plant cool season vegetables like carrots, beets, and when it gets a bit cooler the lettuces and some asian greens. I've been harvesting zucchinis for a couple of weeks, and have a few cucumbers almost ready. Last spring's peppers are still producing, and just harvested a bunch of bananas. Just harvested sweet potatoes and they were a bust this year. Beans are just starting to flower.

I still consider myself a newbie veggie gardener, but watch for posts from others who are expert veggie gardeners. Silvia, Christine, Tom and others will show you bounties of veggies. They are in different Florida areas though.

You will find every one of us do things differently, so there is no one way of doing veggies. You just have to learn as you go sometimes, but with experts' help, your mistakes will be fewer!

Again, welcome to our area and happy gardening.


    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 7:55AM
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