Have you ever heard the saying, "Things are different in Florida"? Well they are, like the start of a new gardening year. For sure, now is time to begin nine months of great vegetable gardening.
Yes, we start these during the hot times so they can grow and begin to form their harvests during the early fall months. Many of these crops need about 90 days to fruit and be ready to eat. One it seems everyone wants to plant is the tomato. It is very critical transplants are set in the garden from mid August through early September. Peppers and eggplants should be given this early start too.
Not all crops are on a strict schedule. Some like beans, squash and cucumbers have a longer planting time. These can be planted into early October. But keep in mind the days become shorter and cooler as we head into fall. These conditions slow the crops and may extend their growth into the much colder time of the year. The average first frost occurs in mid December, a time when you want these crops to be completing their harvests. Following are tips we all need to be a success with our next garden.
- Improve the soil with compost, garden soil or potting soil
- Work in manure if you want to add nutrients to the garden soil. Fertilizing can begin at any time after planting.
- Plantings usually get a liquid fertilizer application one week after the transplants are in the ground or seeds have germinated.
- Continue feedings every 3 to 4 weeks with a garden fertilizer or use a slow release product as instructed on the label.
- Add an old hay, leaf, compost or similar mulch to the surface of the soil.
- Weeds are best pulled by hand or hoed out as needed.
- Check daily for pests and treated as needed. Normally only natural insecticidal soap, spinosad, copper fungicide or similar products are needed to control pests.
Below are the crops you should be starting soon. A new fall cool season garden is started in October and another warm season garden in March.
Mid August plantings include lima bean, snap bean, corn, cucumber, eggplant, pepper, southern pea, rhubarb, squash, and tomato; October crops include broccoli, cabbage, celery, collard, endive, lettuce, mustard, onion, radish, strawberry and turnip