Veggies in a sub-tropical climate?
Hi, I'm new to the community, new to gardening, and new to this part of the country, so feel free to roll your eyes at me, because I'm clueless. I recently moved to a house in south Florida (Zone 9b, almost at the edge of 10a) and this is my first time actually having a yard, as I was a condo dweller before in Michigan. I've always wanted to grow vegetables and herbs, but I didn't think my first opportunity to grow them would be in a sub-tropical climate. I'm having a bit of difficulty finding good sources for gardening in this area of the country. The year round heat and sandy soil are much different from what I'm accustomed to up north. I'd love to grow northern staples like garlic, peppers, zucchini, tomatoes, and lots of herbs (both for cooking and my bunny's greens). I've noticed in magazines that they are telling people in northern climates to plant garlic now. Is it totally ridiculous for me to think that I can get it to grow and produce bulbs down here? I'm guessing not having that cold cycle means this is pretty much impossible, but I love the idea of homegrown garlic since I use a lot of it. I'm also interested in hearing anyone's experience with growing vegetables and herbs in this kind of climate. What is easy for a beginner, and what should I give up on? They are selling tomato plants right now at the gardening stores, so I guess down here fall is the proper time to plant them? I've been attempting to grow parsley and cilantro from seed, and so far only the cilantro has germinated. The directions on both seed packets say this is *not* the time to be planting them in my zone, but it's in the 80's and sunny, so why the hell not? Feel free to point me to any good, non-intimidating books for a noob like me. I try not to come to communities and start asking a bunch of stupid questions, but I'm overwhelmed here. :)