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Square Foot Gardening Forum
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new to sfg in the south tropical region Toplef10new to sfg in the south tropical region 1zd3ho10

Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

new to sfg in the south tropical region I22gcj10new to sfg in the south tropical region 14dhcg10

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Post  moe 7/6/2012, 9:50 pm

Hello everyone. I live in sw florida (Pt Charlotte,Fl) I am in the process of getting things ready for the up coming growing seasons. I do have three water melon, 2 hot pepper plants, 3 okra and 1 tomatioe growing in 2 - 4 ft square boxes. I did not use mells mix just horse manure compost. I do have two of the okra growing in buckets and they are not doing well. strong plants but getting to much water. I am going to build another box and replant them. I do have three 55 gallon blue barrels hooked up for rain water and i do water everything with rain water. I have mels book on the way and maybe here tomorrow. I think the biggest problem i'm going to have is compost/five types. i was thinking i can get horse, cow and probably chicken manure but the mushroom and worm castings are going to be tuff. I was thinking maybe get some worm and mushroom compost and make tea from each and spray plants every two weeks. mushroom tea one week and then worm casting tea the next week. i was going to substute those two items in the compost with something, any ideas? thanks moe:D
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Post  walshevak 7/7/2012, 8:08 am

Welcome Moe.

You are in an area that has the Black Kow product available, Black Kow, Black Hen and Black Velvet Mushroom. All of these are good work horses for the SF garden. Add the well rotted horse manure and a forest fines compost and/or cotton compost and you will be started. A seafood blend might be available. I hope some of the FL folks will speak up and let you know. You idea of worm casting tea is good. Most of us have to use commercial composts when building our first beds.

Then start your own compost pile of kitchen scraps, grass clippings, leaves, any uncomposted manures you can get, coffee grounds, and all the other stuff you can find listed in some of the compost threads. Your own is all you will need from then on.

Another good practice is to start your own worm bins, also a thread on the forum. Worm castings are powerful and do make a great tea for keeping up the nutrients in the garden.

Kay

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Post  moe 7/7/2012, 5:18 pm

thanks for the information, I have seen black cow compost but nothing else. We dont have nurseries here and will have to take a trip to fort Myers for \Sarasota. Just replanted two of my okra they were in buckets and we have been getting rain in the afternoon the last couple of days and they wern't doing well. I put them in a homemade above ground planter I made this morning out of wooden crates (they were used for corn,very light wood) i found behind publix (if you don't know thats a supermarket here), and I could not let them go to waist so I made an above ground planter that is just shy of 2 ft square. I purchased the okra seeds (heirlome) an it did say anything about spacing. so i'll have to wait and see the results. I'm not watering anything today because of the rain. and they are calling for rain again today, this afternoon. Anyway I just got my sfg'ing book by mel and need to get into it. thanks for the information-Moe Very Happy
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Post  givvmistamps 7/10/2012, 11:32 pm

Welcome Moe! I would suggest you look for a hydroponics store. That's where I found everything I needed for MM, though I have to travel down to Gainesville for it. Well worth the trip, especially since I have to go down to see my dr there every so often anyway. They were telling me I need to get my seeds started now for the fall plantings, so my son and I will make a project of it. Gotta replace the tomatoes I lost to Debby. Rolling Eyes
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new to sfg in the south tropical region Empty Hello Moe from Cape Coral

Post  thebarley7 8/23/2012, 6:34 pm

I put in a few boxes two weeks ago, plus some container gardens. I used mels mix in the boxes and some of the containers, and manure enriched soil in a few conatiners, as a test. I see why mels mix is recommended, the plants in it are far superior than the others.

The mels mix soil sprouted in just 3 days and at 10 days were 12 inches high. Everything is doing great. I have corn, cukes, cantaloupe, watermelon, summer squash, black eye peas, lima, okra, eggplant, collards, pumpkin, gourds, green beans, and tomato (from seeds and transplants). The mels mix makes ALL the difference. I found mushroom and organic cow compost at Lowes. A different variety of cow at Home depot. And I use what I have in my barn, which is mostly horse but has had chicken, pigs, and goats all in the past. There is a place called forestry resources in Cape Coral that has medium grade vermiculite in 3 cubic ft. bags for around $15.00. Might be worth the trip here to get that. Our home depot has big bags too, but a bit more expensive.The university of florida has a planting guide of what months to plant what, using north-of and south-of highway 70 as a guide.

I know growing down here is a challenge, but I can say I have never seen anything like what I am growing now with the mels mix. It holds water like crazy in our hot sun, even feels different. That is going to be the key to your success. I can make my soil for about $30.00 per 4x4 box.

Good luck on your gardening! Hope this hurricane doesn't wipe out everything Shocked donna b.
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Post  Pepper 8/24/2012, 1:46 am

Welcome Moe. Try Lowes for the black velvet mushroom compost.
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Post  SWFLgardener 11/12/2012, 5:15 am

I am new to sfg in the Buckingham/Lehigh area, I was a little concerned if peat moss & vermiculite would hold too much water with all of the rain we get... good to hear it is working for others in this area! A friend & I were discussing if it might be better to use perlite here instead of vermiculite (so the soil drained well & didn't retain too much moisture). Any thoughts on that?
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Post  camprn 11/12/2012, 7:35 am

Hi there, I use perlite just fine. It's cheaper and easier to find and it is approved by Mel, the originator of the SFG method.

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Post  thebarley7 11/12/2012, 9:10 am

I am new to sfg in the Buckingham/Lehigh area, I was a little concerned if peat moss & vermiculite would hold too much water with all of the rain we get... good to hear it is working for others in this area! A friend & I were discussing if it might be better to use perlite here instead of vermiculite (so the soil drained well & didn't retain too much moisture). Any thoughts on that?

Hi there swflgardner,

Welcome to the area, I have 5 acres in N. Cape so I'm sort of close to you. I have used vermiculite in my Mels Mix all summer and no problem. Now that we have to hand water, I wish it held more water. I get the medium grade in 4 cubic foot bags at Forestry Resources for around $17.00.

We have several people from Cape Coral, NFM, Lehigh, running a thread called "Central Florida SFGers-when do you start fall planting?". Not sure how we landed there, but join us on that thread to get some local advice..... sunny

donna
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Post  quiltbea 11/15/2012, 1:29 pm

I'm reading the Southern state and Florida posts now since we are making the big move the summer of 2014 to the Panhandle area. Verrrrry interesting and so different. I can hardly wait to garden from Sept and for 9 months or longer instead of only 4 or 4 1/2 months between freezes. Thanks for all the info and tips I'm learning.
Hope to see more pictures of ongoing winter gardens. It sure would help this northerner thru a bleak, gray, cold, freezing winter.
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Post  Beau 11/17/2012, 10:11 pm

Hello to you from Pensacola. I do not know where in the Pan Handle you will be relocating to, but I will be happy to help with a great Co-Op and organic Gardening group if it is in the Pensacola area.
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Post  quiltbea 11/17/2012, 11:42 pm

Hey Beau, I don't believe we'll be too far apart. At this point in time the area is Santa Rosa Beach.
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Post  Beau 11/18/2012, 8:12 am

That is such a beautiful area. I am north in the Perdido Key area. You will have an amazing growing season there. The University of Florida IFAS Extention has some very specific regional planting guides and time to harvest that are much more accurate for our area than general zone 8 information.

Enjoy!
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Post  johnsonjlj 1/24/2013, 8:44 pm

@quiltbea wrote:I'm reading the Southern state and Florida posts now since we are making the big move the summer of 2014 to the Panhandle area. Verrrrry interesting and so different. I can hardly wait to garden from Sept and for 9 months or longer instead of only 4 or 4 1/2 months between freezes. Thanks for all the info and tips I'm learning.
Hope to see more pictures of ongoing winter gardens. It sure would help this northerner thru a bleak, gray, cold, freezing winter.

Quiltbea, you'll be gardening in reverse when you move to Florida! I live in northcentral Florida, just north of Gainesville. Right now you plant late spring and into the fall, but when you move here you'll probably take part of July & August off- it's just too hot and the bugs too invasive! I started my fall garden at the end of September and have been growing all winter- broccoli, cabbage, carrots, lettuces, spinach, swiss chard, and collard greens.
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