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Old 02-12-2016, 08:31 PM
 
Location: Gorgeous South Florida
499 posts, read 416,848 times
Reputation: 749

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arcenal352 View Post
I've never had any issues with our "cold" spells, and I live in Central FL, where we sometimes drop into the mid 30s at night! The cold is very brief, and has never been enough to do any damage to my plants -- Not even the tropical plants I have, like my Papaya tree

I'd be more concerned about shading, as the sun can be more hazardous to your plants than anything. Lucky for me, my yard is surrounded by tall trees, so they get a healthy mix of sun and shade throughout the day.
Excellent points! Not sure why I was thinking that nighttime temps should be >55 degrees I have a lot of shade in my yard as well. A huge oak tree shades the whole back yard. Thanks for your post
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Old 02-13-2016, 11:17 AM
 
1,448 posts, read 2,159,422 times
Reputation: 2358
I am a very active gardener with an almost entirely-edible yard. People here are really over-simplifying. Plants need a lot more than just sun to do well. SFL particularly has horrifically bad soil, loaded with coral rock which is hard to dig in, that causes a very high PH that most edible plants hate. We also have extremes of temperatures that kill more temperate plants in the summer, and kill tropical plants in the winter. We also have extremes of flooding, and then drought, that kill plants. Additionally, SFL particularly has a huge number of aggressive pests that will kill your edible plants - among them aphids, spider mites, whiteflies, snails, caterpillars, birds, squirrels, deer, rats, iguanas, nematodes, and host of lesser known pests and diseases. Plus, if you live near the shore you have to be concerned about salt-tolerant plants due to salt in the soil, and if you're waterfront salt spray or salt water/brackish water flooding.

Moreover, while I live in an area that has TONS of honeybees, much of Florida is lacking in them due to the overuse of chemical pesticides and fertiliizers. So if you're growing anything that requires pollination, you may have trouble getting actual fruit in some locations if you don't hand-pollinate (like tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, melons, etc.)

What I have learned is that growing food in SFL is WAY more expensive than doing so up North. Yes, we certainly have a longer growing season, and in SFL it is year-round. But, you also have to factor in trucking in all your own soil, composting, watering during droughts, providing shade but not too much, netting to keep out birds and other pests, building up raised beds or mounds or using containers to avoid flooding, buying plenty of organic insecticide sprays and Sluggo (or something else to stop the snails).

It's certainly doable, but if it's more than just a hobby and you rely on that food, it quickly becomes a full-time job.

Why do you think it is that Florida has a large agricultural economy, and yet very little of the produce in our stores actually comes from Florida? It's in part because ornamentals are way easier to grow reliably here than good-tasting edibles. Even the citrus industry here has been repeatedly hit with devastating diseases.

If you have the money to bring in organic soil to get you started, and to create raised beds of some sort, you can still do very well and have plenty of fun. But just don't underestimate the time and money that goes into producing good crops here - Florida is NOT the Garden of Eden.

On the other hand, if you're just looking to grow some simple herbs, Florida has such strong sun that you can usually do so year-round indoors near a window - and you can even fruit things indoors! But without any beneficial bugs like ladybugs, they are even more susceptible to aphids and spider mites, etc. I have fruited strawberries, watermelon, and a bunch of other things indoors in FL with no grow lights, even in the winter, which I never could have done up North.

Just PLEASE do not dump chemicals all over your yard to grow these edibles. The chemicals cause cancer, totally defeating the point of growing and eating the vegetables in the first place. Additionally, the insanely high use of chemicals in Florida yards has contaminated our drinking water sources, bleached coral and killed fish in our ocean, killed off honeybees, and made for a very unsafe environment for both wildlife and humans to live in. They chemicals cannot be removed by water filtration. They do not magically disappear from the land, they just build up in the soil, and consequently in the cells of the plants we grow. When it rains, the chemical run-off goes right into local rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and the ocean, and poisons the things that live in the water, as well as the things that drink it or choose to swim in it for recreation.
The side of the container says DANGER and POISON for a reason - it's poison. Why would you spray poison on your food, and all over the yard you plan to live in? Illogical, right?



I can grow a far wider variety of things here in SFL than I ever could up North, and I can grow enough to eat off of and, with a lot of work, never have to actually buy almost any produce ever in a store (good thing, because our imported produce down here in extreme SFL is terrible AND expensive!). I love being outdoors and caring for all the plants. Lots of cool fruits grow here too, not just vegetables. But people who insinuate it's as easy as dropping a seed and waiting for the harvest are not giving you an accurate picture. Just as the sun and (usually) plentiful rain make it easier for plants to grow, so too do they make it easier for pests to grow and diseases to thrive. And the soil in most of Florida is absolutely terrible, far worse than you are likely used to in Wisconsin (except perhaps for the agricultural heart of the state). Temper your expectations - like for the rest of your move to FL. This is not paradise, it has trade-offs like anywhere else.

I can't give you many specifics on what to grow in the part of FL you're moving to, because it is too different from where I live and I don't know enough about the specific conditions. Here in the Southernmost County, I have to grow almost exclusively tropicals, most of which don't even have English names because they are common to other parts of the world and not well known in the US. I have a brief window in which to grow more temperate crops, and that window has very unreliable temp and rain conditions, so is not something I can count on being successful every year. (Kind of like people in Wisconsin trying to grow a tropical vegetable in the summer - it might not work out every year.)



I encourage you though to learn to compost if you don't already. It's super simple due to the high heat and rain in FL, should NEVER smell or attract pests if you're doing it right, and will vastly reduce the garbage you have to throw. I only have to throw a single bag at most maybe 4 times a year, but that is in part because I'm vegetarian so there is no meat that has to be disposed of. Composting will greatly help your vegetables to thrive and to taste better, as well as to be more nutritious (although it may take you a year or more to get much soil out of it), and once you're used to it it's even easier than remembering to throw out the trash! If you also mulch your own yard waste, that can save a lot of time and money and keep your plants happy. A $130 chipper/shredder will do wonders! And if you keep your yard trimmed year-round for mulch, you don't have to worry about severe pruning in time for hurricanes, which can cost a ton in permits and professional labor.

You can also consider making a rain barrel (use an organic mosquito dunk in it to prevent mosquitoes), if the cost of watering gets too high during our dry season (winter/spring). It's a fairly simple project that makes a lot of sense in FL given our climate.
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Old 02-15-2016, 09:06 AM
 
Location: Milwaukee Area of WI
1,886 posts, read 1,299,133 times
Reputation: 1988
Quote:
Originally Posted by FromCTtoFL View Post
Really?? That's fantastic! I wasn't sure about South Florida. I am dying to plant some veggies this year. I'm going to do some container gardening b/c we live in a rental, plus I can control the soil better that way. Believe it or not, I think its still too cold here to plant anything. We've been in the 40's at night.

CindyRoos - I feel so guilty complaining about the 40s, you guys are ridiculously cold up there right now! Hope ur staying warm
It was a high of 9 last Saturday. Ugh
I just can't do another winter here.............
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Old 02-15-2016, 09:13 AM
 
Location: Milwaukee Area of WI
1,886 posts, read 1,299,133 times
Reputation: 1988
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fredesch View Post
I don't do many edibles, but a guy at the home and garden show said Florida has 3 vegi seasons. A spring warm weather season starts in March and runs through August. Only a few things like okra will take August weather. The second warm season vegi season (seed starting) on August 15. October or November starts the cool vegi season. Only chance to do stuff like lettuce.

Fruit like banana, dragon fruit, citrus, papaya, mango and avocados are possible here. Just don't expect to grow lilacs, tulips and things that need a chilling period. My wife bought a student sized fridge to provide chilling for daffodils that nature won't provide down here.
Thank you for the information
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Old 02-15-2016, 09:15 AM
 
Location: Gorgeous South Florida
499 posts, read 416,848 times
Reputation: 749
Quote:
Originally Posted by CindyRoos View Post
It was a high of 9 last Saturday. Ugh
I just can't do another winter here.............
I know! I still have family in the CT. It was 5 degrees below zero yesterday morning and very windy. My poor mom was miserable! She just could not get warm. It was 70, sunny and gorgeous here, I felt so guilty!
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Old 02-15-2016, 09:53 AM
 
Location: Milwaukee Area of WI
1,886 posts, read 1,299,133 times
Reputation: 1988
Quote:
Originally Posted by StarfishKey View Post
I am a very active gardener with an almost entirely-edible yard. People here are really over-simplifying. Plants need a lot more than just sun to do well. SFL particularly has horrifically bad soil, loaded with coral rock which is hard to dig in, that causes a very high PH that most edible plants hate. We also have extremes of temperatures that kill more temperate plants in the summer, and kill tropical plants in the winter. We also have extremes of flooding, and then drought, that kill plants. Additionally, SFL particularly has a huge number of aggressive pests that will kill your edible plants - among them aphids, spider mites, whiteflies, snails, caterpillars, birds, squirrels, deer, rats, iguanas, nematodes, and host of lesser known pests and diseases. Plus, if you live near the shore you have to be concerned about salt-tolerant plants due to salt in the soil, and if you're waterfront salt spray or salt water/brackish water flooding.

Moreover, while I live in an area that has TONS of honeybees, much of Florida is lacking in them due to the overuse of chemical pesticides and fertiliizers. So if you're growing anything that requires pollination, you may have trouble getting actual fruit in some locations if you don't hand-pollinate (like tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, melons, etc.)

What I have learned is that growing food in SFL is WAY more expensive than doing so up North. Yes, we certainly have a longer growing season, and in SFL it is year-round. But, you also have to factor in trucking in all your own soil, composting, watering during droughts, providing shade but not too much, netting to keep out birds and other pests, building up raised beds or mounds or using containers to avoid flooding, buying plenty of organic insecticide sprays and Sluggo (or something else to stop the snails).

It's certainly doable, but if it's more than just a hobby and you rely on that food, it quickly becomes a full-time job.

Why do you think it is that Florida has a large agricultural economy, and yet very little of the produce in our stores actually comes from Florida? It's in part because ornamentals are way easier to grow reliably here than good-tasting edibles. Even the citrus industry here has been repeatedly hit with devastating diseases.

If you have the money to bring in organic soil to get you started, and to create raised beds of some sort, you can still do very well and have plenty of fun. But just don't underestimate the time and money that goes into producing good crops here - Florida is NOT the Garden of Eden.

On the other hand, if you're just looking to grow some simple herbs, Florida has such strong sun that you can usually do so year-round indoors near a window - and you can even fruit things indoors! But without any beneficial bugs like ladybugs, they are even more susceptible to aphids and spider mites, etc. I have fruited strawberries, watermelon, and a bunch of other things indoors in FL with no grow lights, even in the winter, which I never could have done up North.

Just PLEASE do not dump chemicals all over your yard to grow these edibles. The chemicals cause cancer, totally defeating the point of growing and eating the vegetables in the first place. Additionally, the insanely high use of chemicals in Florida yards has contaminated our drinking water sources, bleached coral and killed fish in our ocean, killed off honeybees, and made for a very unsafe environment for both wildlife and humans to live in. They chemicals cannot be removed by water filtration. They do not magically disappear from the land, they just build up in the soil, and consequently in the cells of the plants we grow. When it rains, the chemical run-off goes right into local rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and the ocean, and poisons the things that live in the water, as well as the things that drink it or choose to swim in it for recreation.
The side of the container says DANGER and POISON for a reason - it's poison. Why would you spray poison on your food, and all over the yard you plan to live in? Illogical, right?



I can grow a far wider variety of things here in SFL than I ever could up North, and I can grow enough to eat off of and, with a lot of work, never have to actually buy almost any produce ever in a store (good thing, because our imported produce down here in extreme SFL is terrible AND expensive!). I love being outdoors and caring for all the plants. Lots of cool fruits grow here too, not just vegetables. But people who insinuate it's as easy as dropping a seed and waiting for the harvest are not giving you an accurate picture. Just as the sun and (usually) plentiful rain make it easier for plants to grow, so too do they make it easier for pests to grow and diseases to thrive. And the soil in most of Florida is absolutely terrible, far worse than you are likely used to in Wisconsin (except perhaps for the agricultural heart of the state). Temper your expectations - like for the rest of your move to FL. This is not paradise, it has trade-offs like anywhere else.

I can't give you many specifics on what to grow in the part of FL you're moving to, because it is too different from where I live and I don't know enough about the specific conditions. Here in the Southernmost County, I have to grow almost exclusively tropicals, most of which don't even have English names because they are common to other parts of the world and not well known in the US. I have a brief window in which to grow more temperate crops, and that window has very unreliable temp and rain conditions, so is not something I can count on being successful every year. (Kind of like people in Wisconsin trying to grow a tropical vegetable in the summer - it might not work out every year.)



I encourage you though to learn to compost if you don't already. It's super simple due to the high heat and rain in FL, should NEVER smell or attract pests if you're doing it right, and will vastly reduce the garbage you have to throw. I only have to throw a single bag at most maybe 4 times a year, but that is in part because I'm vegetarian so there is no meat that has to be disposed of. Composting will greatly help your vegetables to thrive and to taste better, as well as to be more nutritious (although it may take you a year or more to get much soil out of it), and once you're used to it it's even easier than remembering to throw out the trash! If you also mulch your own yard waste, that can save a lot of time and money and keep your plants happy. A $130 chipper/shredder will do wonders! And if you keep your yard trimmed year-round for mulch, you don't have to worry about severe pruning in time for hurricanes, which can cost a ton in permits and professional labor.

You can also consider making a rain barrel (use an organic mosquito dunk in it to prevent mosquitoes), if the cost of watering gets too high during our dry season (winter/spring). It's a fairly simple project that makes a lot of sense in FL given our climate.
Awesome AWESOME INFO!! Thank you SO much!!
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Old 02-29-2016, 05:48 PM
 
11 posts, read 13,312 times
Reputation: 10
I too am interested in moving to Florida from Colorado. Does Florida have any particular regions dedicated to Agriculture? Are there particular counties that produce a lot of the state's crops?
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Old 02-29-2016, 06:12 PM
 
Location: Ormond Beach, FL
1,363 posts, read 1,402,934 times
Reputation: 1252
There is commercial horticulture all over inland Florida. Besides food crops there are lots of annuals, tropical (house plants) plants, orchids... grown here. Beware of problems like citrus greening, palm tree and banana diseases and other pests ravaging Florida before you decide to start a citrus grove, coconut plantation or lettuce farm.
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Old 02-29-2016, 06:15 PM
 
1,448 posts, read 2,159,422 times
Reputation: 2358
Quote:
Originally Posted by kmimi View Post
I too am interested in moving to Florida from Colorado. Does Florida have any particular regions dedicated to Agriculture? Are there particular counties that produce a lot of the state's crops?
Yes, and it is very easy to look up Florida's agriculture and learn more. But, what might be harder to find is the fact that different areas of FL allow you to grow very different plants. There are microclimates within general regions, and it can get kind of complicated. The widely available information about Florida's agricultural industry will not help you figure out what you can grow where, because growing something at home is very different from trying to grow crops on a mass scale, and for profit.

So unless you intend to be a mass farmer (really a terrible industry to get into nowadays anyway), I would focus first on what areas you are considering moving to, and then find out what you can grow in each one. Keep in mind, if you're dedicated, you can grow anything ANYWHERE. I know people who successfully grow tropical plants in the Arctic Circle, as an example. The other tip I could give you if that if you are drawn to tropical plants specifically, and don't want to keep them all indoors or work hard to keep them alive, for the most part Southern Miami-Dade like Homestead, and Monroe County/Keys are your only options. Key West ideally. Many tropical plants sustain damage or can even die with temps at or below 60F. But most still want a lot of consistent rain and humidity, and the Keys do not do that well.

For subtropical and warm-temperate plants, you can do well in most of the rest of the state with no problem. Be aware that freezes happen in FL - even in Miami, but never in the Keys - and plant accordingly.
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Old 02-29-2016, 06:33 PM
 
Location: Ormond Beach, FL
1,363 posts, read 1,402,934 times
Reputation: 1252
Quote:
Originally Posted by StarfishKey View Post
The other tip I could give you if that if you are drawn to tropical plants specifically, and don't want to keep them all indoors or work hard to keep them alive, for the most part Southern Miami-Dade like Homestead, and Monroe County/Keys are your only options. Key West ideally. Many tropical plants sustain damage or can even die with temps at or below 60F. But most still want a lot of consistent rain and humidity, and the Keys do not do that well.

For subtropical and warm-temperate plants, you can do well in most of the rest of the state with no problem. Be aware that freezes happen in FL - even in Miami, but never in the Keys - and plant accordingly.
You can grow tropicals farther north if you are really close to the ocean. You have to know your microclimate or be willing to loose plants.
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