About Central Florida Gardener

Welcome and thank you for visiting Central Florida Gardener. Florida is a unique state in which to garden. It can be frustrating but also rewarding for gardeners who persevere. This blog was created as a resource for Florida gardeners, both new and experienced, in search of information specifically for Florida gardens.

You are invited to participate by leaving your comments, suggestions, tips and recommendations relevant to Florida gardening - don't be shy! Thank you for dropping by to learn more about gardening in the Sunshine state. I look forward to hearing from you! Susan

Friday, October 30, 2009

Florida Garden Blogs

Fortunately, I just keep coming across more and more Florida gardening blogs. It seems we Florida gardeners were a little slow to start blogging but we’re picking up steam now. Here’s a mixture of 10 very different blogs.

Gardening Under the Florida Sun - The title grabbed my eye immediately. It does make it sound so romantic doesn’t it? Although there’s nothing romantic about gardening in Florida in mid-August :-). Dani, the owner of this blog, grows some great looking vegetables in her central Florida garden.

John’s Bromeliads - If you love bromeliads this is the blog for you. John’s got a wide variety in his Gulf Coast garden and tons of photos on his blog.

Northeast Florida Paradise - This Jacksonville gardener is stretching the limits - but very successfully, I might add - of growing tropical plants in northeast Florida.

I Like Rare Plants - Eric in south Florida has a hankering for the rare and exotic tropical beauties. You can even purchase seeds from his stock.

Liz and the Professor - Her subtitle “ Life is a Breeze in the Florida Keys” says it all. Gorgeous and colorful photos.

Faithie P - Faith who lives in Clearwater is taking a different approach to her garden blog. She’s documenting all the new stuff she learns about gardening in central Florida.

My Edible Yard - Ara is growing and sharing information on her south Florida organic urban kitchen garden.

The Dirt - Co-writers Penny Carnathan and Kim Franke-Folstad of the Tampa Tribune keeps readers posted on the latest “garden” happenings in the Tampa area with their humorous posts.

Florida Friendly Plants - Riverview Flower Farms keeps gardeners updated on the latest and best producing plants for Florida.

Tom’s Digs - Tom MacCubbin, retired Orange county extension agent, continues to mentor central Florida gardeners with some of the best plant information around.

If you’ve got a Florida garden blog that’s not included on our list, please leave a comment with a link, so we can include yours as well.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Is anyone up for a field trip?

It involves plants and lots of them, at that. Penny Carnathan at the Tampa Tribune has arranged for a behind-the-scenes tour of Riverview Flower Farms on Saturday, October 31st.

I’m sure you're all familiar with Riverview Flower Farms. Their plants sit in the prettiest pots at your local H.D., and they have lots of beautiful flowers or colorful foliage. They grow a large variety of Florida-Friendly plants, many of which are my favorites - Purple shower Mexican petunia, bulbine and St. Bernard's lily just to name a few. And they’re always experimenting with new varieties to see what performs best in our sometimes temperamental climate.

See Penny’s blog post for more information and be sure to let her know if you plan on attending.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Upside Down Tomatoes! Yes or No?

Those snazzy upside tomato planters, such as the Topsy Turvy, seem to be all the rage these days when it comes to growing tomatoes. But do they really work?
I purchased a homemade planter for $10 from my local tomato guy , who grows and sells seedlings of 100 different varieties several times each year. He’s a great guy to have in town because I can try different varieties every season. I dropped by his nursery to pick up a Black Cherry tomato but the only ones left were in these upside down baskets, so I decided to give it a try.

His baskets look great and seem to be producing a nice supply of tomatoes. Mine (see photo), however, looks limp most of the time and is a little beaten up by the wind. It also hasn’t set much fruit. One difference is that he had all his baskets in rows together and they were surrounded by a jungle of a garden. My planter is out in the open and doesn’t get much protection from the wind. On a positive note, It will be nice to be able to pick up my basket and bring it indoors once colder weather arrives. That’s assuming it’s still alive by then.

The verdict is still out for me, but I’m strongly leaning toward the traditional method of growing my tomatoes in the ground as my favorite. What about you? If you’ve grown your tomatoes upside down, in a container you purchased or made, leave a comment and, let us know your results.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Preparing for Holiday Blooms

With Christmas only 12 weeks away (Yes, I know no one wants to be reminded of this) it's time to make sure your Christmas cactus' get the care they need in order to bloom for the holidays.
As the days become shorter, it's important for Christmas cactus to get at least 12 hours of uninterrupted darkness. So, if necessary move your cactus to a spot where outside lights will not disturb their internal clock.
Give them one last feeding of fertilizer for the year and water only when absolutely necessary, and you'll be able to enjoy their beautiful blooms during the holidays.