Contrary to popular belief it is not possible to grow everything anytime in South Central Florida. The seasons are distinct and make it imperative for newcomers to check with their University of Florida Extension Office here in Sebring to ensure they have the best chance of growing healthy vegetables and ornamentals. Plants that have evolved from northern climates often require “chill time”. Meaning they must have cool temperatures for a certain length of time to activate their growth mechanisms. Plants have hormones just as people do and if they aren’t activated by cool temperatures, stunted growth or even death will result.
Some good examples of this reliance on cool temperatures are; peaches, apples and plums. These fruit trees ordinarily require way more “chill hours” than we get here in Sebring, however, thanks to extensive hybridization and grafting there are several varieties of each that do exceptionally well here now. Check some of these hybrids out as a replacement for citrus destroyed by “citrus greening”.
A common complaint at the Extension Office help desk concerns tomatoes not doing worth a hoot in the summer. Again, this is caused by heat. Most, if not all tomatoes will not fruit or fruit poorly when night time temperatures stay above 70 degrees. Cherry, grape and everglades tomatoes seem to fruit better than the large varieties but will still be below par.
The Extension Office here in Sebring, located at: 4509 George Blvd. can give the homeowner a leg up on what, when, and where to plant your garden but more importantly what not to plant.
Written by Highlands County Master Gardener Volunteer : Charlie Reynolds on 05/19/2016
For more information visit us at: 4509 George Blvd. Sebring, FL 33875 or call us at: 863-402-7151
Master Gardeners are here to assist you M-F from 9:30am-3:30pm
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