Vegetable gardening in southwest Florida is a bit different than it is in most of the other parts of the country. Down here we start our seeds in September or October, giving way to December and January seedlings being planted out. The summer heat here is just too intense to plan on any real veggie gardening during the scalding summer months. Don't get me wrong, it can be done, it is just not as feasible.
South Florida winters are the perfect time to get going on tomatoes, peas, lettuce, spinach, bell peppers and celery. I have never tried melons here in winter, but perhaps they do well too.
Come the middle to end of Setember, try starting seed flats of the tomatoes and bell peppers. I start outside in a cool, mostly shady area next to the house. It faces south, but is protected from much direct sun and heat by a small forest of tall slash pines. If you can, gather rainwater to use on them.
Pot up pea seeds in early to mid∼October. Start up lettuce, spinach, and celery seeds in late October to early November.
Container gardening is a great way to go here too. Florida is certainly not famous for her soil. Making use of containers could be the simpler, better way to a bumper crop of yummy, home∼grown tomatoes or big, fat bell peppers minus that nasty wax!
By the way, good place to mention here is that spinach actually likes growing in sand, so preparing a direct bed on the soil itself is OK for this plant. Just be sure to fertilize it as necessary.
Liquid Fish emulision, kelp powders that you also liquify and use a foliar feedsings, are excellent choices for fertilizing your newly made vegetable garden.
Protect the tomatoes and bell peppers from any slight frosts you might get if in zone 9. Throwing a nice, light comforter over the topsof the plants and securing it at the base will work well. Make sure to remove it before the sun gets too high in the sky, it can overheat them and cause damage the next day if you forget.
I have several pages on this site that accompany this topic. These include Grow an Organic Garden, How to make your own compost, Gardening tips and tricks, Grow Bumper Crops of Tomatoes, and many others. Just thumb through the menu to your right.