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Fort Myers - Cape Coral area Lee County
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Old 02-04-2009, 02:10 PM
75 posts, read 186,568 times
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Thinking about relocating to this area of Florida. Any gardeners from there, need advice on how well veggie gardens grow and can I grow vegs in winter months? Do tomatoes grow all year? What type of soil do you have?
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Old 02-05-2009, 07:14 AM
Location: Hot, Humid SWFL
81 posts, read 200,849 times
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My wife loves her garden, and I've done more than my fair share of helping her out....Veggies grow VERY well here. However, if you're hoping for an organic garden, prepare for a full time job and a lot of frustration. Due to it's climate, Florida is home to many pests and garden destroyers that other areas don't experience. So, unfortunately, we've had to use chemicals and homemade concoctions to battle the little pests. However, due to it's climate, fruits and veggies grow excellent here as well. You can also grow things here in your yard that other places can only dream about. Along with the veggies, we also have a mango tree, banana plants, orange tree, and lime tree in our back yard. Some things, such as tomatoes, grow almost year round too. As of last week, we had tomatoes on one of our plants, and two of our Mexi-bell pepper plants were full of peppers.

We've had success with tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapenos, mexibells, japanese egglants, onions and okra. Like I said though, there are tons of pests/nematodes that will destroy your garden without daily TLC. Fire ants probably grow better here than plants, so be prepared for that nuisance. I don't think they eat vegetation though, they will just eat you while you're working in the garden.

For soil, we trucked in some soil from a local company (Forestry Resources). I don't know any chemical compositions, or anything like that. Sorry. I do know that many people here don't just plant things in their yards because the soil is too sandy. Most people will at least use a good bag of miracle gro or scotts before planting something. We built a raised garden for our veggies, that's why we had soil shipped in.
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Old 02-05-2009, 07:45 AM
Location: Ohio
1,217 posts, read 2,188,830 times
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Must respectfully disagree with jdub that gardeners MUST use chemicals. I grow tomatoes and only use organic pest control. I've had many pounds of tomatoes this year (plants full right now) and in previous years. I wouldn't eat a tomato I've grown if it had pesticide on it.

Yes Florida has many bugs that love to eat what you've so thoughtfully grown for them, lol, but organic gardening is not that difficult. Heck even Home Depot sells organic pesticides.

Nematodes and whitefly are the biggest problems for growing tomatoes in Florida soil. That's why I use large pots, some put in the ground and others above ground. Raised beds are fine but should have a barrier underneath because nematodes burrow UP to find the tasty roots they destroy, it doesn't take too long. I started with raised beds and changed to pots for tomaotes. Other veggies do fine in raised beds if nematodes don't like their roots.

NOW is the growing season. Don't wait til May or June, it'll get too hot too soon.

Two organic I use: Thuricide and Organicide.
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Old 02-05-2009, 12:52 PM
75 posts, read 186,568 times
Reputation: 47
Default Thanks!

I love to garden and so does my husband, nothing quite like fresh fruit and vegetables. Daily work on it is theraputic to me, love to get my hands into the dirt. The lemon and orange trees sound lovely. Here in Illinois on our place, we have had horses for over 30 years. On our land (hilly) it is all solid clay soil. Over the years I have added the leavings from the horse stalls, a mix of manure and sawdust, on top of that clay. LOL, perfect compost with a perfect ph of 7. All that is missing from this "soil" is bone meal. Add some of that and we grow GIANT vegetables and flowers. Everyone is astonished by the production and thinks we have green thumbs. Not so, just brown ones and callouses on our hands from scooping the horse stalls. I placed multiple bird houses around the garden, with holes just the right size for wrens. The wrens work hard in the garden each day too eating the bugs, lol.
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