“Oppositeville,” that’s what one of our farmer friends calls our area of the country. Most seed packets indicate that you should plant something like X weeks before last frost or XX after last frost date. Everything - seed packets, books, podcasts - they are all geared for areas with very different climates. Where does that leave us? If we want to grow a flower we haven’t grown before, first we see if we can tell from Instragram feeds of some Florida farmers when they were growing it. But in reality, that shows only the BLOOM time.
We grow most everything from seed, tuber, or corm, so we need to know when to sow. Looking at the temperature for germination on the seed packs is a good gauge, but if we stuck strictly to that, we would pretty much plant only in late fall, winter or very early spring. We need Fall flowers, so we have to sow some seed in July and August, and it’s hot, buggy, humid and really rainy here in July and August. So here in Central Florida we are planting the opposite of people in most of the country, and until we get a lot more experience, we are doing a lot of experimenting.
Of course, sunflowers and zinnia are a sure bet, so we can be pretty certain that when September 7th rolls around and we return to the Ocala Downtown Market, we will have flowers to sell.