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Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide

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Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide

Planting Pruning Irrigation Fertilizer Pests and Diseases Pests Diseases Weeds and Invasive Plants Weather Tools and Equipment Florida-Friendly Landscape Care Vegetable Gardening by Season A vegetable hand-picked from your own garden tastes better than anything you can buy in a store. And here in Florida, home gardeners can grow vegetables all year long. Home gardens are convenient and may encourage you and your family to eat more fresh vegetables. The choices are endless, with vegetables of all sizes, colors, and shapes. Start with a plan: decide what vegetables you want to plant, and where in your garden they’ll be located. Make sure your site gets plenty of sun (at least six hours) and is near a source of water. Get your soil tested to find out what nutrients it needs. Your county Extension office can help with this process. Purchase or start your own transplants or plant seeds directly in the soil. Water and fertilize as needed, and keep an eye out for pests. The most important thing when beginning is to pay close attention to planting dates. Where you live within the state will affect that—planting dates for North, Central, and South Florida are very different. For more month-by-month gardening tips, check out the Florida Gardening Calendar. Three different editions of the calendar provide specific tips for each of Florida’s gardening regions—North, Central, and South. Vegetable Gardening in Florida See all articles in the series UF/IFAS Sites Florida Gardening Calendar Vegetable Gardening UF/IFAS Publications Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide Central Florida Gardening Calendar North Florida Gardening Calendar South Florida Gardening Calendar Vegetables A – Z Spring There’s nothing like having homegrown vegetables right at your back door, and spring is the perfect time to prepare your beds for vegetables. If this will be your first vegetable garden, you may find Getting Started with Your Vegetable Garden very helpful. Spring crops include sweet corn, cucumber, tomato, watermelon, and several kinds of beans. For best results, choose varieties recommended for Florida. You can plant seeds directly in the soil, use transplants, or start your own transplants six to eight weeks before planting time. For spring gardens in North and Central Florida, the planting time for most frost tender plants is in March. If you plant earlier, be prepared to cover your tender vegetables to protect them from late frosts. Frost hardy vegetables may be planted much earlier. Of course, in South Florida, you can plant “spring” vegetables in the fall and winter, up until February or March. Plant early enough so that your vegetables have time to mature before the heat of summer kicks in. See Table 3 in the Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide for planting dates for specific crops. Summer What to Plant in July Click to see a full-size version See our full list of “What to Plant” infographics If you’re up for the heat and humidity, you can even grow vegetables in the summer. A handful of vegetables will do well in the summer heat, including sweet potatoes, southern peas, cherry tomatoes, and okra. Some spring crops like peppers and eggplant may continue into the summer. As long as the plants are healthy, there’s no need to remove them if they’re still producing fruit. If you prefer to give your garden a rest during the summer, take advantage of the summer sun to solarize the soil. This kills nematodes, weeds, and other harmful pests with heat. Read more about soil solarization. Fall What to Plant in October Click to see a full-size version See our full list of “What to Plant” infographics In Florida, fall is an excellent time to start a vegetable garden. Cool-season vegetables to plant in October include broccoli, lettuce, carrots, Brussels sprouts, and radishes. If you’re planting in an area already used for spring and summer crops, be careful to remove all dead or diseased plant matter, including roots. You may want to have your soil re-tested to check the pH level and to determine what nutrients you might need to add. Till your soil a few weeks before planting, and then add organic matter, such as cow manure or compost.
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Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide

Edibles Vegetables Fruits Ornamentals Houseplants Trees and Shrubs Trees Shrubs Palms and Cycads Vegetable Gardening in Florida Series Gardening is a great form of exercise and provides a great way to relax, which is good for your mental health. Plus, with fresh vegetables just a few steps away from the dinner table, it’s more likely that you’ll eat them every day. These days many people are concerned with eating food that’s fresh, in season, and locally grown. Having your own vegetable garden is definitely the simplest way to ensure all three. Growing your own vegetables can definitely save you money, if done right. It is possible to spend a lot of money on your garden buying seed, tools, fertilizer, and other items you may need. The trick to saving money in this endeavor is keeping costs down while maximizing your garden’s yield. And remember, too, that the first year you have a vegetable garden is probably going to be your most expensive one. The typical garden is more cost-effective each year you cultivate it. Read Planting Your Vegetable Garden for more information about getting the most savings out of your garden. It’s tastier to grow your own—vegetable varieties grown in the home landscape often have a much more savory flavor than the vegetables found in grocery stores, which are bred for looks and shelf-life more than taste. You can incorporate flowers, herbs, and fruits into your vegetable garden to make a beautiful statement in any landscape. Planting Your Vegetable Garden Getting Started with Your Vegetable Garden Designing Your Vegetable Garden Hydroponic Vegetable Gardening Vegetable Gardening: Site Selection Selecting Vegetables for Your Garden Vegetable Gardening by Season Mulching Your Vegetable Garden Selecting a Fertilizer Applying Fertilizer Watering the Vegetable Garden Vegetable Garden Questions
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Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide

The most important thing when beginning is to pay close attention to planting dates. Where you live within the state will affect that—planting dates for North, Central, and South Florida are very different. For more month-by-month gardening tips, check out the Florida Gardening Calendar. Three different editions of the calendar provide specific tips for each of Florida’s gardening regions—North, Central, and South.
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Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide

Other than the farm, I'm kept busy lecturing about and promoting organic gardening all around South Florida. I also teach organic horticulture at Miami-Dade Community College (the Kendall campus). Many people proclaim that you can't be organic in the tropics. But my wife and I like to think that we, along with other local organic growers, as well as Organic Gardening magazine, are partially responsible for the change in attitude towards “organic in the jungle”.
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Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide

Before planting, draw a garden plan that includes the name, location, and planting date(s) of the vegetables you want to grow. Use the planting guide (Table 1) to develop your plan. Make a list of supplies and order or purchase seeds early if you intend to grow your own transplants. The planting guide lists which vegetable seedlings transplant easily and which do not. Vegetables that are difficult to transplant should be seeded directly into the garden or started in containers first.

Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide

You can plant seeds directly in the soil, use transplants, or start your own transplants six to eight weeks before planting time. For spring gardens in North and Central Florida, the planting time for most frost tender plants is in March. If you plant earlier, be prepared to cover your tender vegetables to protect them from late frosts. Frost hardy vegetables may be planted much earlier. Of course, in South Florida, you can plant “spring” vegetables in the fall and winter, up until February or March. Plant early enough so that your vegetables have time to mature before the heat of summer kicks in.
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South Florida is the first stop for many bird species after spending the winter in the Caribbean or Latin America. The flight across the Straits of Florida is long, so the birds arrive very tired and in need of refueling. Some will stay until fall, others will continue northward as weather permits. Be sure to provide them with clean water. Many people plant rue near bird feeders and baths. The smell of rue is said to repel cats. Be warned, though, that some people are skin sensitive to rue.
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A vegetable hand-picked from your own garden tastes better than anything you can buy in a store. And here in Florida, home gardeners can grow vegetables all year long. Home gardens are convenient and may encourage you and your family to eat more fresh vegetables. The choices are endless, with vegetables of all sizes, colors, and shapes.

In Florida, fall is an excellent time to start a vegetable garden. Cool-season vegetables to plant in October include broccoli, lettuce, carrots, Brussels sprouts, and radishes.
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I come from a family (and culture) of gardeners. I was born in Cuba, but I've lived in the United States since I was 3 and started gardening at the age of four. I grew both vegetables and ornamentals. All my gardening was done organically—by default. I didn't know there was any other way, I just knew we couldn't buy bug sprays, fertilizer, etc. My wife and I own a small farm in Redland. We grow over 30 types of tropical and temperate fruit, row-crops, herbs, microgreens, and ornamentals. We're certified organic, of course, and blessed (or cursed!) with a 12-month growing season, so there's always something to grow or harvest.

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9 Photos of the "Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide"

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