New to the area, advice seeker

cnnpronsoMarch 18, 2010

My wife and I have moved back to the area to help out her mother while she is battling cancer. She has asked us to plant a veggie garden and we would like to make it as organic as possible. We would like to plant tomatoes, cukes, peppers, etc. but could use some tips as we are from the Pacific North West. Any tips on when and what to plant, shade/temp, and combating insects, especially the "what to watch out for" would be much appreciated.

Thanks and happy planting!

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I'm so sorry I can't answer any of your questions but I would be thrilled to send you a care package of edibles seeds for the South from my list! Email me your new address and I'll pack them up asap. By the time you get them, I'm quite sure experts will have answered all of your questions! Everyone is so friendly here!
Take care, KK

    Bookmark   March 20, 2010 at 12:41AM
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I am no expert but have just started veggie gardening in Florida as well. Many sources seem to think that it's a little too late to start tomatoes in Florida, because you want them to at least start ripening before it gets too hot. Heat and tomatoes apparently don't go hand in hand.

You may be able to plant them in pots, keep them in full sun until it does start getting too hot, and then moving them into part shade and still get a small harvest.

Of course, I hope that I'm wrong, and hopefully, some of the gardening experts can chime in and at least have a viable alternative.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2010 at 11:21AM
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My first advice is to google and then contact the county agent for your county or the master gardeners for your county or city. they will be invaluable and give lots of free advice and booklets.
i'm from south Louisiana, zone 9b, so it might be similar to your zone. We planted transplants of tomateoes and peppers after march 17 or 19. that was the last average frost date. as you might know, it was a colder than average winter, but i think you're safe now. i've never grown cukes,so no help there. as far as pests and insects, and plant diseases like fungus, there will be many in the south. i'm organic too, and my best advice is to space your plants out a bit, they will get very big. keep a bird friendly yard as much as possible, feeders, birdbaths, and no chemicals. go out to the garden daily and hand pick off any bugs or worms and kill them. if you think an infestation is getting hold, contact county agent for organic treatments or least toxic non-organics. Most veggie gardens need full sun, which is 6 hrs or more, but you might want a location that gives some relief from the evening sun becoz it will get very very hot and the days long. make sure the location is where you can water easily if no rain that week. good luck. also, have you considered citrus? the smell of the blooms right now in south mississippi where i traveled to this weekend, was glorious, you can grow in the ground or in pots.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 8:54AM
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I'm just North of Jacksonville, Florida in Georgia. The weather here continues to be much colder than usual. It will be interesting what the summer temps. will be like.

Aside from what louisianagal suggests, I have had excellant results using crop covers -- I can't say enough about how they protect plants from insects, pollen carried from distant places, scorching sun, frost, wind damage, fungus and disease carried by the wind and from insects, etc. The plants I grow are all self-pollinated (tomatoes being one). Before I found out about crop covers I used netting, the kind you get from a fabric store, to protect my plants from insects and animals. I even believe that I didn't have any kind of fungal problems that get spread by insects or wind. The crop cover fabrics come in various weights so you can purchase the weight best for your particular weather. Johnny's Selective Seeds (employee-owned)have about the best explanation/particulars/prices that I found.

Johnny's also have excellant seeds as far as germination success goes.

Crop covers are found searching for 'crop protection'.

The down side is that you don't see your veggies as they grow unless you uncover them. Keeping the covers in place is probably the greatest reason they would be unpopular by those who try to use them.

My covers are still over the cool crop garden I've been keeping all winter. Soon I'll be switching to a lighter weight.

It's pretty late to be planting seeds for summer harvest. But you could plan on gathering your supplies and doing all the groundwork and be ready for the late summer plantings.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2010 at 8:09AM
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