Hey everyone I moved to Southwest Florida and looking for like minded people. I am new to the area please PM me if you are looking for help in the yard. I am trying to learn more about this growing zone.
we have two distinct growing seasons, spring (the dry season) and fall (the rainy season). some of the plants you grew up north can and will survive the winter, like cabbage, carrots, strawberries, and onions. but its better to work with (and eat!) plants that do grow well here, like peanuts, cowpeas, sorghum, sweet potatoes, and other long-season things that like heat.
a lot of the growing information online for south Texas/Louisiana/Mississippi/Alabama/Georgia is true for Florida as well.
Do not trust Lowe's and Home Depot. they will put northern varieties of fruits next to, or without including, the southern varieties, and it is very easy to pick up a plant that won't grow here.
Forget about apples/crabapples/most pears/most peaches/plums/apricots/most pawpaws... These wonderful fruits tend to require more chill time than we get, so while they will grow beautifully, they will not set flowers.
There are a ton of other things that make up for our lack of apples... like Loquats! Gingers! Cannas! Oranges! Limes! Blueberries! i make a tasty candied orange peel. Muscadine grapes are not like up north grapes, but make a great wine ( http://www.lakeridgewinery.com/ ).
Where abouts are you located? My mum has a place in port charlotte (just south of Sarasota). She can grow avocado, bananas, kiwi, and papaya where she is. There is a great nursery there in port charlotte called MRT. It's huge, and has a large variety of fruittrees. I have my eye on a barbados cherry tree from that nursery. Also the USF botanical gardens have spring and fall sales, and the spring sale is right around the corner. It's worth the drive for a day trip.
I am near Ft. Myers now. Where are you? Because that information is great! Really appreciate it! Port Charlotte is not far at all from me and I am trying to set something up with ECHO. (On my phone can't attach link but will when on the computer) are you nearby?