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Central Florida SFGers - when do you start fall planting?

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Central Florida SFGers - when do you start fall planting?

Post  ksbmom on 8/24/2012, 10:06 am

Just wondering when others in my area start putting in their fall gardens? I am planting tomatillo, tomato and green pepper starts today (hoping that Tropical Storm Isaac follows that path westward and not toward us!) and broccoli, cauliflower, peas, beans, etc. in the next couple of weeks as I get the time. Am I on target or could I have planted earlier? I'm new to the whole growing-my-own-starts-from-seeds thing and never quite know when to start them so they'll be ready when I should plant them. It's been so hot and rainy that I didn't think it was wise to plant before now. We've had more rain this summer than I remember for quite a long time.
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not sure....

Post  hritter13 on 8/24/2012, 10:36 am

This is my first year gardening down here, but i'm getting ready to plant for fall, I still have some things that are staying from the spring and summer. Was planning to start this weekend but will wait because or our friend Isaac. I'm not sure if i'm early, late or just right but that's what i'm doing. Hopefully it'll work out. Very Happy
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Central Florida SFGers - when do you start fall planting?

Post  thebarley7 on 8/24/2012, 3:39 pm

Here is a great resource for Florida planting. It's gets frustrating reading garden books when we are opposite the rest of the country. Here are the recommendations from the University of Florida. Scroll to the end for the planting dates. I disregard the planting spacing "by rows" and all the ph and soil stuff since we are doing SFG's, but the timing of the planting is a great resource. Also gives the best varieties for Florida, which helps when buying seeds. At the bottom it gives the "dividing line" what is considered south, central, and north Fl.

I actually printed these out and put them in my SFG notebook that I take with me when I shop so I can get the right kind of seeds and plant at the right time.

My green bean seeds and corn sprouted in 3 days and were 12 inches high in 10 days. I followed the MelsMix and the UF planting guide and so far so good. I just can't believe has fast it all grows. Even started tomato's from seed. Never had success with that before.

Hope this helps! Have a great time gardening. I hope we don't get this hurricane pale

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/vh021


Donna from Cape Coral


Last edited by thebarley7 on 8/24/2012, 3:41 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : header wrong)
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Re: Central Florida SFGers - when do you start fall planting?

Post  ksbmom on 8/24/2012, 5:50 pm

Thanks, Donna! I actually have those charts printed out in my SFG book too! They are wonderful. I just get itchy to plant at the beginning of August but it's sooooo hot and rainy then I know I should wait, but I can hardly stand it. I planted two of my tomato starts this afternoon but the MM was so wet from all the rain that I was wringing water out of it! So I decided to wait for it to dry out a little bit before I put the rest of them in. Then I went in the house and the news was on with the info that they do expect Isaac to hit our area on Monday with 5-6 inches of rain Mad Hopefully their forecast is off.....
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Re: Central Florida SFGers - when do you start fall planting?

Post  Ericka2385 on 8/25/2012, 5:27 pm

I love the EDIS site, poke around for the information on local bugs and disease.

There is a book I had gotten at Lowe's that has lots of useful information for Florida Gardening. It's tan, has a drawn picture of a red flower, and says Florida on it. I forget the title. (It's sitting on my bookshelf in the other room, but let's face it, it's Saturday and I'm feeling lazy.)

As far as starting the fall gardens... (And let me say this is my first year at this) I started my tomato seeds WAY too early. I put them in the garden the first week of July and I have about two dozen green tomatoes. I was worried about disease from the humidity and the heat cutting down my chances for pollination. In the morning before the heat sets in, I walk through the plants and give each one a little shake, it seems to have been doing the trick since I haven't seen any bees.

I started pumpkins and watermelons a month ago, they're going pretty good too. The beginning of this month I sowed corn, beans, peas, cucumbers and squash. The pepper plants went in the ground at the same time. I'm waiting until the weather cools some more to do the broccoli and cabbage.

I've read a few different things about when to start, and I'm impatient (and super excited to get started), but I figured I'd go ahead and start/set out everything anyways. My thoughts were that either everything would have a good start on the grow season and produce for a longer period of time, or it would all succumb to disease and bugs and I'd still have time to replant and only be a few weeks behind 'schedule'. There was a small scare of what I thought was a disease on a tomato plant, but I really think it was transplant shock and I overreacted. So far my plants seem to be healthy.

Hopefully someone with more experience in our area will come along with when they plant and how it works for them.
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Re: Central Florida SFGers - when do you start fall planting?

Post  ksbmom on 8/25/2012, 6:21 pm

Well, I must admit that part of me gets really excited about getting out there and digging around and planting, but the other part says, "It's August and it feels like 120 degrees and I'm not going outside for anything!" Next year I'm going to start a bit earlier, though, just to see how far I can push it.

Of course now they are predicting storms from Isaac most of the first part of next week, and my MM is way too soggy to put anything in right now. Hopefully it will dry out soon sunny I am actually quite thankful for all the water seeing that a lot of the country is in drought.
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Re: Central Florida SFGers - when do you start fall planting?

Post  Ericka2385 on 8/25/2012, 6:36 pm

So far this year my MM has been draining like a pro. My fingers are crossed for the storm we have coming, and that the garden continues to drain as well as it has been so far. The heat can be a bit much here. I've actually woken up early on a Saturday to be out in the garden during the first hour the sun is up, and then gone back to sleep. sawing logs I'm crazy... But I must say, I'll take our July/August over anyone's winter any day. Me and the snow do not get along. No

Next year I want to try to 'summer over' my tomatoes and peppers. I'll put up burlap to shade them from the afternoon sun and prune everything back a bit. I'll start some plants inside just in case the heat kills them off, but why bother starting new plants when I already have some grown ones in the ground... I love FL.
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Reply with quote Report post to moderator or admin Lock post for new reports Re: Central Florida SFGers - when do you start fall planting?

Post  thebarley7 on 8/25/2012, 9:22 pm

@Ericka2385 wrote:I love the EDIS site, poke around for the information on local bugs and disease.

There is a book I had gotten at Lowe's that has lots of useful information for Florida Gardening. It's tan, has a drawn picture of a red flower, and says Florida on it. I forget the title.

I believe the book is called FLORIDA Gardener's Resource by Tom MacCubbin and Gloria Tasker. I agree, it is a great book.

This month I started my gardens for the first time. I planted tomato seedlings from the store, burying them along the stem like in the SFG book. I also planted tomato seeds right in the garden. I know it says it takes a long time for the seeds to grow but I figured that would get me into the second half of the winter. They did sprout in 3 days though. Can't believe you have tomato's already, Ericka! Good job. Do you know which seeds you used?

In two weeks and two days the green beans are shooting runners 3 ft long. I also planted cantaloupe, peppers, watermelon, corn, pumpkin, okra, collards, lima's, black eye peas, summer squash, zucchini, gourds, and today I put in one box of carrots, onions, corn, pinto beans, and green beans.

We eat a lot of beans and rice, so I soaked navy beans and planted them. I hope they grow. It was the kind from the grocery store, but I did some research and others have done it. Anyone have any luck with that?

I also put in sunflowers, just for fun. Any idea if I missed the boat on that one? In 75 days we will still have good weather, I hope there is enough daylight for them.

Now we wait and see if hurricane Isaac takes it all out. We are 2 miles from the coast and looks like we will take a pretty good hit Monday. I search and searched but there is nothing in Mel's book about SFG'ing in a hurricane.

Good Luck in central Florida ladies!

Donna
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Re: Central Florida SFGers - when do you start fall planting?

Post  Ericka2385 on 8/25/2012, 9:41 pm

@ Donna, I used a mix of seeds from Local Harvest and Baker's Creek. The varieties are Black Pineapple, Purple Cherokee, Orange Flesh Purple Smudge, San Marizano, Black Mauri, Yellow Pear, and Resentraube. I think I have tomatoes more because I started the seeds inside in the end of May, and less because I'm doing something right. They should be right on schedule. When I was planning I thought 15 plants would be too many, but now I wish I would have grown about 20.

This is my first year with a garden, mostly because it's my first year in a house. I think we actually had the garden started before all the boxes were unpacked... You know... Priorities... But I really have no idea what I'm doing...

Best of luck to everyone within reach of Issac. Luckily it would still be early enough with our late (if existent) frost date to have a good garden if it came down to that...
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Re: Central Florida SFGers - when do you start fall planting?

Post  jeffhbell on 9/12/2012, 1:20 pm

Both my neighbor and I started our fall planting last weekend. We live in Winter Haven, between Tampa and Orlando.

Just transplant plants that have a 60-90 day maturity asap. My fall garden is simply classic eggplants Big Boy tomatoes, Watermelon, and tonight, 2 types of green beans (60 day) from seeds.
http://i30.servimg.com/u/f30/17/50/38/71/2012-011.jpg

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Re: Central Florida SFGers - when do you start fall planting?

Post  ksbmom on 9/12/2012, 3:12 pm

You just described most of my garden! Heirloom tomatoes, eggplants, beans, watermelon and winter squash. Plus some herbs, and a bunch of volunteer mystery plants. I have several squares saved for onions but the feed store doesn't have the bulbs yet. Have you ever done carrots? The IFAS planting guide says to plant them in October, but last time I tried carrots they were very bitter. Of course, that wasn't in an SFG....

carrot
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Re: Central Florida SFGers - when do you start fall planting?

Post  jeffhbell on 9/12/2012, 4:07 pm

@ksbmom wrote:You just described most of my garden! Heirloom tomatoes, eggplants, beans, watermelon and winter squash. Plus some herbs, and a bunch of volunteer mystery plants. I have several squares saved for onions but the feed store doesn't have the bulbs yet. Have you ever done carrots? The IFAS planting guide says to plant them in October, but last time I tried carrots they were very bitter. Of course, that wasn't in an SFG....

carrot

I would go ahead and try carrots. Mine are always small. Make sure you do the seeds in at least 12 inches of Mel's Mix. ( This spring, I am trying carrots again, but in 12-15 inches of soil.) Carrots only need 1-2 sq inches each, so have fun and try them.
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Florida Gardeners! Yeah!

Post  binfordmj on 9/16/2012, 8:38 pm

I have been searching the web for other gardeners in Florida and I am so tickled to finally find some! This is a great website and I can see my time here will be great; and frequent!

I started my fall garden a week ago with seeds I planted a month ago. Took a bit to get the raised bed made & filled. At the time, I had never heard of SFG, so my medium is basic top soil and compost, a little bone meal and veggie fertilizer. But it is what I have been growing veggies in containers for two years so I don't expect to do too badly with the raised bed.

I had to replant my green beans as the transplants did not like being transplanted and promtly failed. But I hope I still have time to harvest some by Thanksgiving. The squash is already flowering.

Has anyone here grown sweet potatoes? I just harvested a crop I started in May. It was way cool! But I think I managed to keep the vines alive and wonder if they will grow another crop of sp?
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Re: Central Florida SFGers - when do you start fall planting?

Post  FreyaFL on 9/23/2012, 3:52 pm

I'm also in SW FL (another Cape Coralite? Laughing ) And, I'm just starting with SFG, though more accidentally. In an effort to start building soil onto my sandy lot and newly cleared garden area, I'd decided to go with using garden soil bags as my garden/planter system, this year anyway. Which brought me to this website. I wanted to maximize what I could grow without overdoing it and doing this using SFG guidelines seems perfect (I have the book on it's way now.) I also do a lot of self-watering containers (that this system should work perfectly for) and am expanding into aquaponics. Also perfect, I would think.

My efforts so far have 4 bags (I'm considering each bag to be worth two squares) planted. One has tomato plants I'd started last month (Tropic), another I direct sowed with bush bean seeds (is this too early for here?) And the last has summer squash seeds, one of zucchini and one of patty pan squash (in the five years I've been in FL I've so far had ZERO luck with summer squash. I'm hoping this time, though!) My garden area is expanding as I clear out the enormous quantity of weeds that grew over the summer and I've started other seeds to plant out (asian eggplant, banana peppers, several other tomato varieties, rat's tail radish). I'm curious as to what everyone else is growing.

Oh, and binfordmj, sweet potatoes are awesome here. They will never die. You will have sweet potatoes forever now. Come the apocalypse, you will be able to taunt your neighbors with your yard filled with ninja sweet potato plants. Even if you "confine" them to a boxed in area, they will escape. Twisted Evil (I love my sweet potatoes. If you have any question about growing them, ask! The only thing I don't know is how to get rid of them. LOL)
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Re: Central Florida SFGers - when do you start fall planting?

Post  ksbmom on 9/23/2012, 4:55 pm

glad you\'re here to SFG FleyaFL! Your idea of planting in the bags is awesome!

You're right on time with the bush beans, at least in Central FL where I am it's time to plant them and I have bunches of squares going right now. My kids like to go out and eat them right off the plant and I usually don't have enough to go with a meal, so I put in a lot of them this time. I had to laugh at your experience with summer squash - in the last three years I've eaten exactly ONE zucchini (and it was very small). I have two plants going now that the squirrels were eating, but they seem to have gotten tired of them and now they are growing strong. BUT I know what has happened in the past, so I'm not counting on actually eating any squash....good luck with yours!

I would love to know how to do sweet potatoes. I was just reading about how to do regular potatoes in a garbage can and want to try it. Is this the time to plant sweet potatoes or do I need to wait? When you say they take over, do you mean huge areas of garden?
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Re: Central Florida SFGers - when do you start fall planting?

Post  FreyaFL on 9/25/2012, 8:40 am

Thank you for the welcome! I'm loving this forum and the positiveness from everyone. (I'm thinking gardeners are just happier people. Very Happy )

My bush beans have almost all sprouted! (Two holdouts of 16.) I'm glad to know that this is a good time for them. I do think my area is a little later than yours, but if you have them producing, mine should be okay for planting. (I hope.)

Sweet potatoes...There is a variety that is "more" bushing than others. This is what I have. "More" is relative, as these still put out runners. Still, comparing mine to my sister's, go with the relatively "more" bushing variety if you can. That said, these grow all year here in FL. Anytime you plant them is the right time. They take anywhere from 4-6 months to reach a good size, so a good idea is to have 3 areas where you can stagger harvest dates. (I've 2.) SPs send out long vines that will root (potentially at every leaf joint and make a potato from that root.) They also send out long roots underground that can make a potato at any point. If you don't watch them closely, they will do both and not only overgrow your garden, but sneak out and suddenly you'll see a sprout in the middle of your yard. Honestly, my sister's left the garden bed and ventured out in a 20 foot radius. They were digging monster-sized sweet potatoes everywhere (they just keep growing bigger if you don't dig them up.) And, everywhere you dig them, if you leave any bit of root behind, they will grow.

What I do: I generally cut the ends off my plants and root them in vases until I want to plant them out (giving me the semblance of control.) They'll grow in a vase like that for as long as they have water. If you forget to water them, they'll start looking a little ill (like two months later Shocked ) but will perk right up if you water them. They are actually very pretty in a vase and I just chop the roots off and remove more leaves to reroot if I'm not ready to plant them yet. They really are indestructible. And they are delicious. So, go for it. But do NOT put them in your "regular" garden!!! I like the ones under my peach tree. I put a slightly submerged ring around the tree, added a little compost, layered newspaper, wet it thoroughly, threaded 8 slightly rooted cuttings under the paper and around the tree, and mulch heavily. They grow lush and beautiful and then 4-6 months later, I dig them up and replant. It looks like a decorative ground cover. (Oh, and the greens are edible. I've not tried them, though my friend swears her chickens love it.)

Sorry for being so wordy! It's early. Embarassed
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Re: Central Florida SFGers - when do you start fall planting?

Post  ksbmom on 9/25/2012, 8:59 am

Wow! Thanks FreyaFL! I am definitely going to try the SPs (we have chickens too, so that's another bonus if they will eat the greens). Can you just use a store-bought potato or do you need a seed potato? Don't know if Home Depot would have any - their vegetable selection was pitiful this year.
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Central Florida SFGers - when do you start fall planting?

Post  thebarley7 on 9/25/2012, 1:17 pm

Hi FreyaFL and welcome!

Seriously?? Sweet potatoes in Cape Coral? I'm jealous Wink What do you use for soil? I'd LOVE to grow sweet potatoes. Do you start yours from grocery store potatoes or order them from somewhere?

I pulled up my first summer squash and burned them two weeks ago. Lots of little squashes, full of worms. Planted them last week again, put panty hose and hair clips around the stems to keep the worms out. Read somewhere to cover the stems so I thought I would try it. Full of stink bugs too. Almost decimated my cucumbers. So everyday for 4 days I would take out the shop vac and vacuum those little suckers up. Haven't seen any in two weeks now.

My first crop went in on 8/17. My blackeye peas are doing great as well as the lima's. Noticed little ears of corn growing this morning. I also have a few golfball sized watermelon and one pumpkin. I think with all the humidity and rain we have had I am having a lot of blossom end drop on my pumpkins, a few plants just up and died. Have a few large cucumbers, lots of little ones. Just trying to keep the plant healthy in all this rain.



Planted last week, lettuces and cabbages, onions, carrots, english peas, garlic, and more cucumbers for pickling. All but garlic have sprouted and so far so good.

Doing another round of planting today. I think you are right on track for southwest Florida planting. I'm hoping next month will be less humid and things will grow easier. I'm finding sevin dust, a shop vac, and panty hose to protect the plants are my best friends right now. Can't use the sevin dust when things are blooming, it will kill the bees, so been washing that off. I'll have to be more careful next time.


[img][/img]

anyhow, I'd love to know how you are doing the sweet potatoes. Are you in the Cape? PM me if you want. would love to keep track of how your garden is doing here in sw fl. maybe we can compare notes Very Happy

Hi there ksbmom,

How are the squirrels??? Didn't know they would eat the garden, except maybe the corn. affraid How do you handle the squirrels? I actually have feeders for them and the oak trees are full of acorns. Maybe they will leave me alone???

Donna, Cape Coral
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Re: Central Florida SFGers - when do you start fall planting?

Post  ksbmom on 9/25/2012, 1:28 pm

Hi Donna! Loved the picture of your cukes - I tried them in the spring for the first time and they did miserably. One tiny, bitter cuke and then the whole plant died. Same with the watermelon and winter squash. We did our big fall planting over the last 3 weeks and things are looking really well so far. I took some advice from this thread and put in radishes with the squash - hoping it will help. I may try the panty hose thing - do you put it over the flowers and hand pollinate, or do you wait for a fruit to form and then cover it? I'll try anything! I'm also spraying weekly with baking soda and soap to try and prevent the powdery mildew that took out my zucchini last season. The squirrels seem to have gotten tired of my garden (although a fox walked through the other night, judging by the tracks. Probably the same one that ate my two geese!). They are quite fond of our screened porch now. They climb up and then get up on the roof from there. I think there are acorns on the roof that they are after. My neighbor used to "take care" of them because they ransack his bird feeders.
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Re: Central Florida SFGers - when do you start fall planting?

Post  Ericka2385 on 9/25/2012, 1:46 pm

I've had a problem with stink bugs on my squash lately. My goal for today was to find a non-pesticide way to control them. The flowers are open, so I'm worried about the bees, and we have a ton of lizards and I worry about them getting the pesticides on them, or eating a bug that succumbed to the spray. I love my lizards. The thought of vacuuming them never occurred me to me, and I have the perfect little hand vac to do it. What a great idea, thank you.

My tomatoes are in full bloom, my beans are starting to sets pods. The peppers have their first flowers, and that's exciting. My corn is doing something, I have no idea what, but I need to get on figuring that out. The squash flowers are opening, but it seems like I can't get a male and female flower open at the same time. I also need to get on figuring that.

Now I'm going to go vacuum up some stink bugs!!!
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pantyhose and handi vacs....

Post  thebarley7 on 9/25/2012, 3:02 pm

Hi again ksbmom,

I may try the panty hose thing - do you put it over the flowers and hand pollinate, or do you wait for a fruit to form and then cover it?

I wait until the watermelon is growing, about the size of a large pea, then I cover them. I use knee high hose cut into pieces and hair clips from the dollar store. When they are bigger I slip them into the toe of the pantyhose and use the rest to hang it up and tie it off onto the trellis. I think I saw one here on the forum somewhere.

Another way I use hose is I split the hose longways, used the little clips, and covered the stems of the new squash plants. Maybe that will keep the moth off and I won't get the worms this time. I am going to try the baking soda soap thing for the mildew. Would you share the recipe?

I've had a problem with stink bugs on my squash lately. My goal for today was to find a non-pesticide way to control them....... The thought of vacuuming them never occurred me to me, and I have the perfect little hand vac to do it. What a great idea, thank you.

A handi vac would be great. I only have a shop vac..... just about sucked the entire plant out of the ground the first time I used it! Shocked I'll have to get me a handi vac for sure. But it did work. I tried poison, even sprayed it right on the little buggers. They just took a bath in it and asked for a rinse.... Be sure you dump those buggers into soapy water to kill them when you empty the vac. Never seen such a resilient bug.

So now I vacuum my garden and dress my plants. I thought the garden was suppose to get me out of the housework..... Laughing
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Re: Central Florida SFGers - when do you start fall planting?

Post  FreyaFL on 9/25/2012, 3:12 pm

Fun thread! So, sweet potatoes again... Donna, I originally bought a plant at ECHO, but have since just been using cuttings from the ends of ones growing. I give away many of these. (I'm a sweet potato pusher.) And, if you want to do a suspicious meetup in a parking lot, I'm willing to pass along half a dozen or so cuttings to you, too. Twisted Evil However, for those not near me, here is a site that shows how to get many slips from a store bought potato: ((Oops, I can't post links yet so google: sweet potatoes food skills and it'll take you to a site called "Food Skills for Self-Sufficiency" (I don't feel there is any need to first pot the slips after they have started roots. Really. These will grow.)) This second site is good for making us sandy soil Floridians feel good. (They love nutrient-less, sandy soil and lots of heat.) ((Google tropical permaculture sweet potatoes) Good luck to everyone starting them!

I am going to go add radish seeds to my summer squash spots. I so hope this works! And, Ericka, I love my lizards (and bees), too! So, I'll remember about vacuuming stink bugs for if/when.

ksbmom...I'd also like the recipe for the baking soda and soap for powdery mildew. Is it working? That's one of the things that's killed my summer squash or cantaloupes in the past.

I need to plant some more seeds. I'm being very inspired!

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Re: Central Florida SFGers - when do you start fall planting?

Post  Ericka2385 on 9/25/2012, 3:59 pm

Since we're on the topic of potatoes...

Are there any good nurseries y'all have found?? I really don't like the idea of buying potato starts online. I bought some garlic and walking onions online, but only because it seems like I cannot find a good spot here in Central FL. Maybe I just need to keep my eyes peeled for some of the varieties I want when they're in the store and use the same method in the website referenced by FreyaFL.

I was all excited to go vacuum stink bugs, but there were none in the garden. By the way, I do hope anyone reading this is sworn to secrecy not to tell my husband I used 'excited' and 'vacuum' in the same sentence. Isn't it funny how housework is more fun in the garden? lol!

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Re: Central Florida SFGers - when do you start fall planting?

Post  thebarley7 on 9/25/2012, 4:02 pm

Ericka..... waaay too funny.. rofl
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Re: Central Florida SFGers - when do you start fall planting?

Post  ksbmom on 9/25/2012, 4:38 pm

Now that I've stopped laughing at Erika, Razz here's the recipe for the baking soda/soap thing (I got it from this thread: What do you use for disease control/prevention?). Sorry - I obviously haven't figured out how to post threads! 1 quart water, 1 tsp. baking soda and a few drops of dish soap. I spray weekly and it seems to help - can't say that it prevents it all the time, but controls pretty well (if I don't get lazy and stop spraying every week!).

Erika, do you get funny looks from the neighbors when you take your vacuum out to the garden? Shocked
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