toddlermom
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Florida--am I too late?

Hi everyone,
I've been slowly researching ways to start a raised bed vegetable garden in my backyard in Tampa Bay, Fl. I have a huge backyard with no shade.
I'm a total novice. I have no supplies, nothing. :P
I want to do a small raised bed. I've looked online about covering the ground with cardboard to kill the weeds and then adding soil. However, how long after I do this can I then start to plant seeds?? No one seems to mention this step online. I'm super excited about starting a Florida fall/winter garden, but now I am worried that I waited too long and I won't have time now!? :x
Thanks!!
Anyone else in Florida?

ButterflyLady29
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Location: central Ohio

Re: Florida--am I too late?

I'm not in Florida but I've done raised beds. You can plant right after filling the bed. And depending on what you plant you should have plenty of time. Here in the cold frozen north it's still too hot to plant many fall crops, like lettuce, radishes, and spinach.

toddlermom
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Re: Florida--am I too late?

ButterflyLady29 wrote:I'm not in Florida but I've done raised beds. You can plant right after filling the bed. And depending on what you plant you should have plenty of time. Here in the cold frozen north it's still too hot to plant many fall crops, like lettuce, radishes, and spinach.
So I don't need to give it time for the cardboard to decompose?? That is great, then!

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applestar
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Re: Florida--am I too late?

In spring when the soil is has thawed but is still cold -- around 50°F at most, I felt that 6 weeks is a good period of time to wait for planting. However, the ground is warm or hot now, so decomposition, etc. microbial activity happens very quickly. I'm thinking 3-4 weeks might be sufficient to plant as deep as the cardboard (started plants like tomatoes and peppers). Just cut an X in the cardboard to plant as deep as you need.

But if you can spend a little money to get weed-free soil and amendments to the depth of 6 inches above the cardboard, you could start sowing seeds -- I would still wait about a week to let the blended soil mix settle though.

The idea is that, by the time the seeds sprout and roots grow down to the cardboard, the soil below will be ready.

Important consideration is to put down some compost or compost activator under the cardboard, and also in this heat, to keep the bed moist and not let it dry out. I do wonder if it might be too hot to expect earthworms to be active.
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imafan26
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Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Florida--am I too late?

It depends on what part ot Florida you live in. Miami is snow free and you can plant year round. Cover the ground with the cardboard to kill the grass. I would add compost and manure about 6 weeks before planting

The University of Florida has a monthly garden calendar for North, Central and Southern Florida.
https://solutionsforyourlife.ufl.edu/law ... /calendar/
They also have a vegetable garden and landscape garden guide
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/vh021

The University of Florida has useful information on specific plants and pests online. I use the site a lot since Hawaii and Miami have similar climates and we can grow some of the same plants. The biggest difference between us is the soil. Mine is a red clay oxisol and Florida has sandy soil.

I would still get a baseline soil test so you can get recommendations on how much organic matter and fertilizer you need to use. Most soil tests will give you conventional fertilizer requirements unless you ask for organic recommmendations.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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