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Old 12-16-2011, 02:30 PM
 
80 posts, read 145,909 times
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I read that your tomatoes are now ripe in a previous post. I would love ripe tomatoes! Is the garden season in FL all year round or do you plant at certain times if the year like we do in the north? Are there some veggies that you can not grow in FL that are grown in the Midwest?
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Old 12-16-2011, 07:35 PM
 
Location: Tampa
1,236 posts, read 4,222,420 times
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Tomatoes are hard to grow in Florida, especiallly in the summer with all the bugs/worms, and heat that attack them. Yes, we do have growing seasons for various vegetables. Winter crops are lettuce, herbs (easier to grow in winter), strawberries, carrots, cabbage, collard greens, etc. Fall is another time to grow certain plants such as onions, scallions, etc.

When I lived in NJ, all I had to do was plant my tomato plant and water. It just did it's own thing. Here in Florida, you have to baby it and still struggle. You have to investigate for tomato hornworms every day. Nematodes are another bothersome pest that attack the roots of your plants. Weeds grow ferociously. In the summer time, it is just too hot for me personally to be out weeding my garden on an almost daily basis.

Apples do not do well in Florida. I know you said vegetables. As I stated before, tomatoes don't do very well here. You won't see commercial tomato growers because tomatoes are high maintainance here. An individual homeowner may fair better. Still, I gave up growing them in the summer. I do have a cherry tomato plant that never quit. It is about 2 years old, and I find some growing. That plant has been so ignored. It is surprising how well it has done with the neglect I have given it. I don't even feed it.

My neighbor has a huge garden. She grows everything from okra, eggplant, hot and bell peppers, tomatoes (though she has given up on them too), lettuce, string beans, herbs, etc. She put a fence around her garden because the deer helped themselves.
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Old 12-16-2011, 08:01 PM
 
Location: FL
1,711 posts, read 2,781,760 times
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I don't have a problem with tomatoes. I get them already started, a flat of about 12 plants 8" high and stuck them in the ground and fertilized them with Black Kow, they came out great, no pest problems either.

I don't think I've ever seen asparagus grown in FL
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Old 12-16-2011, 08:41 PM
 
817 posts, read 2,018,644 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annaegel View Post
Tomatoes are hard to grow in Florida, especiallly in the summer with all the bugs/worms, and heat that attack them. Yes, we do have growing seasons for various vegetables. Winter crops are lettuce, herbs (easier to grow in winter), strawberries, carrots, cabbage, collard greens, etc. Fall is another time to grow certain plants such as onions, scallions, etc.

When I lived in NJ, all I had to do was plant my tomato plant and water. It just did it's own thing. Here in Florida, you have to baby it and still struggle. You have to investigate for tomato hornworms every day. Nematodes are another bothersome pest that attack the roots of your plants. Weeds grow ferociously. In the summer time, it is just too hot for me personally to be out weeding my garden on an almost daily basis.

Apples do not do well in Florida. I know you said vegetables. As I stated before, tomatoes don't do very well here. You won't see commercial tomato growers because tomatoes are high maintainance here. An individual homeowner may fair better. Still, I gave up growing them in the summer. I do have a cherry tomato plant that never quit. It is about 2 years old, and I find some growing. That plant has been so ignored. It is surprising how well it has done with the neglect I have given it. I don't even feed it.

My neighbor has a huge garden. She grows everything from okra, eggplant, hot and bell peppers, tomatoes (though she has given up on them too), lettuce, string beans, herbs, etc. She put a fence around her garden because the deer helped themselves.
Florida produces more tomatoes than any other state in the nation. Ruskin tomatoes are famous.
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Old 12-16-2011, 08:46 PM
 
Location: Tampa
1,236 posts, read 4,222,420 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin from Tampa View Post
Florida produces more tomatoes than any other state in the nation. Ruskin tomatoes are famous.
You're kidding! There was a whole article about how difficult it is to grow tomatoes in Florida. I am glad to hear some people are successfully growing tomatoes! Do your tomatoes recquire a lot of work? Mine did.
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Old 12-16-2011, 10:01 PM
 
817 posts, read 2,018,644 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annaegel View Post
You're kidding! There was a whole article about how difficult it is to grow tomatoes in Florida. I am glad to hear some people are successfully growing tomatoes! Do your tomatoes recquire a lot of work? Mine did.
"Commercial Acreage. Fresh-market tomatoes are produced in every State in the Nation, with commercial-scale production in about 20 States. National fresh-market tomato acreage has been trending lower over the past several decades. California and Florida each produce fresh-market tomatoes on 30,000-40,000 acres—almost two-thirds of total U.S. fresh-tomato acreage (a share that has not changed much since the 1960s). Ohio, Virginia, Georgia, and Tennessee round out the top six in terms of area planted.
Production. U.S. fresh field-grown tomato production has trended higher over the past several decades with the most substantial growth occurring during the 1980s. As they have for decades, Florida and California annually account for two-thirds to three-fourths of all commercially produced fresh-market tomatoes in the United States. Including processing, Florida is the second-largest tomato-producing State; except for 2008, it has been tops in producing fresh-market tomatoes for decades. Florida's season, October to June, has the greatest production in April and May and again in November to January."- ERS/USDA Briefing Room - Vegetables and Melons: Tomatoes


Actually, California may produce more, but see above, taken from the USDA.

Ruskin is famous for its tomatoes...

Ruskin Tomato & Heritage Festival. Ruskin, Florida.

I grew tomatoes last year in a home garden, and the plants took off, but all I got was small green fruit. I didn't know what I was doing though...but I basically just left the plants alone, and I also grew them in the summer, which is the worst time to grow them.
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Old 12-16-2011, 10:05 PM
 
451 posts, read 846,354 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annaegel View Post
You're kidding! There was a whole article about how difficult it is to grow tomatoes in Florida. I am glad to hear some people are successfully growing tomatoes! Do your tomatoes recquire a lot of work? Mine did.
Tomatoes are difficult to grow in Florida. But Kevin from Tampa is right, Florida is one of the leading tomato-growing states in the nation. The problem is that the soil here is quite sandy, to the point that there aren't enough nutrients to produce a heavy yield. Also, bugs and diseases are a huge problem. So what do commercial growers do? First, they fertilize the hell out of their soil to a level that is not healthy to the environment or the fruit. Second, they buy insecticide-resistant seeds. Third, they spray the hell out of their crops with nasty insecticides. Fourth, some commercial farmers even rely on unpaid slave labor or barely-paid migrant workers to farm their land. Last, they pick their tomatoes early before they are edible and gas them with more chemicals to change their color and force-ripen them before delivering them to the grocery store.

However, if you can find yourself a hydroponic tomato, some of which are grown in Tampa, Plant City and the surrounding areas, you're getting an amazing, largely pesticide-free fruit. Likely without slave labor either. They're grown either under shade houses or full-scale greenhouses and they are the finest produce money can buy, some of which are even organically produced using aquaponic or other chem-free methods.

Oh, and the whole "slave labor" thing isn't a joke, it's a real phenomenon in our own state: The Trouble With Tomatoes: Slave Labor (and That Cardboard Taste) | The Nation

As an individual, you can grow tomatoes on your property in two growing seasons. During the summer, don't expect your plants to fruit, and if they do, don't expect them to ripen without being destroyed. In the spring or in the fall, you can grow some stunning tomatoes if you're willing to give them the care they deserve.
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Old 12-17-2011, 04:54 AM
 
Location: Sunny Florida
7,136 posts, read 11,479,116 times
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Good morning! I've only been in Florida for six months now, so I am still learning about Florida gardening. It's quite a bit different from gardening in the Midwest and I'm no expert by any stretch of the imagination. I've read a couple of books and talked to my neighbors, but that's it so far. Initially I just planted flowers and flowering shrubs because I enjoy the color. Then I planted a navel orange tree and Meyer lemon tree in hopes of getting fruit in the years to come. I planted two Roma tomato plants in October, when a neighbor suggested it, and they have been doing remarkably well. I had to prop them up because they are so laden with tomatoes. I did use MiracleGrow potting soil and have fertilized the plants once, but that's all I've done. The tomatoes are really good and I'm hoping they keep bearing, but we'll see. It's all a grand experiment at this point.
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Old 12-18-2011, 05:52 AM
 
Location: Hernando County, FL
8,488 posts, read 18,669,643 times
Reputation: 5397
Quote:
Originally Posted by thethinktank View Post
Tomatoes are difficult to grow in Florida. But Kevin from Tampa is right, Florida is one of the leading tomato-growing states in the nation. The problem is that the soil here is quite sandy, to the point that there aren't enough nutrients to produce a heavy yield. Also, bugs and diseases are a huge problem. So what do commercial growers do? First, they fertilize the hell out of their soil to a level that is not healthy to the environment or the fruit. Second, they buy insecticide-resistant seeds. Third, they spray the hell out of their crops with nasty insecticides. Fourth, some commercial farmers even rely on unpaid slave labor or barely-paid migrant workers to farm their land. Last, they pick their tomatoes early before they are edible and gas them with more chemicals to change their color and force-ripen them before delivering them to the grocery store.

However, if you can find yourself a hydroponic tomato, some of which are grown in Tampa, Plant City and the surrounding areas, you're getting an amazing, largely pesticide-free fruit. Likely without slave labor either. They're grown either under shade houses or full-scale greenhouses and they are the finest produce money can buy, some of which are even organically produced using aquaponic or other chem-free methods.

Oh, and the whole "slave labor" thing isn't a joke, it's a real phenomenon in our own state: The Trouble With Tomatoes: Slave Labor (and That Cardboard Taste) | The Nation

As an individual, you can grow tomatoes on your property in two growing seasons. During the summer, don't expect your plants to fruit, and if they do, don't expect them to ripen without being destroyed. In the spring or in the fall, you can grow some stunning tomatoes if you're willing to give them the care they deserve.
Esta brook wrote this article almost immediately after his book maligning the Florida tomato industry came out.

How the Florida Tomato Industry Went from Being One of the Most Repressive Employers to the Most Progressive | Food | AlterNet

The Florida Tomato Growers Exchange signed the agreement with CIW months before his book came out so I guess he had to give the credit where it is due.

As far as fertilizer, California and all the corn and wheat producing states use a ton more nitrogen fertilizer than Florida.
Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio use 2,3 and 4 times as much nitrogen fertilizer than Florida. Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma and others use more. Even Washington and Wisconsin use just about the same as Florida.
I am not looking to claim the fertilizer used does not have a huge impact on the environment but to make comments about Florida's use as if it is an anomaly from all the other farmers across the nation is just wrong.

I have not had much problems with tomatoes or any other vegetables on my property. I use compost in the garden, water regularly and never really have any problem with insects.
While Florida does have sandy soil it also varies widely from area to area and some regions have a good organic makeup to the soil making it good for planting.
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Old 12-19-2011, 05:29 AM
 
Location: Sunny Florida
7,136 posts, read 11,479,116 times
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I picked more tomatoes yesterday. The plants look a bit scraggly, but the tomatoes are delicious.
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