Florida gardeners can grow vegetables gardens year-round, though springtime is when everything restarts its growing season. Warm weather is beginning to return, with temperatures not yet reaching their hottest peak. Where you live within the confines of the state will determine when you can start your spring vegetable garden. Since cooler weather remains longer, gardeners in North Florida should plant between March and April. Plant Central Florida gardens between February and April and plant South Florida vegetable gardens between early February and March. The cooler temperatures permit growing cooler-season crops such as pole beans, collards, corn and cucumbers.
Plan your garden, including what types of vegetables you are growing, supplies required and the required size for your garden plot to ensure proper spacing of the plants. Consider your current temperatures when selecting vegetable types. The University of Florida provides a list of what vegetables are appropriate to plant at various times of year in their article "Florida Vegetable Gardens" and is linked in the resource section.
Choose a site in your Florida landscape that receives full sunlight for the vast majority of the day and has good drainage. Spring vegetable gardens in Florida require sunlight for the majority of the day to perform best, regardless of the variety of vegetable planted.
Clear the garden site of grass, weeds, branches, stones and any other unwanted debris. Spray the area with a non-selective herbicide that does not remain in the soil for extended periods. Do not water the area for four to five days to allow the vegetation to die. Remove the dead weeds, water the area daily, and wait two weeks before planting your seeds or transplants.
Apply organic material to the soil approximately two weeks prior to planting, as Florida soil is sandy lacking nutrients. Apply compost or manure at a rate of 25 to 100 pounds per 100 square feet. Dig or till the compost or manure into the soil to a depth of approximately six inches.
Fertilize the garden’s soil with an 8-8-8 or 15-15-15 fertilizer two weeks prior to planting, as Florida soils can utilize the extra nutrients. Apply at a rate of four pounds per 100 square feet of garden soil. Work the fertilizer into the soil approximately two inches and water the garden site thoroughly.
Mound the soil up in your garden, creating raised beds and rows in which to plant your seeds or transplants. This will allow for best drainage. Place your rows east to west to ensure maximum sunshine.
Place your vegetable plants or seeds into the soil. Plant the vegetables at their specified depth and distance. Write down what you planted on a wooden/plastic plant marker, so you will know what is growing where.
Water the garden, making sure the water reaches the vegetable’s roots and covers the planted seeds. Depending on your local Florida weather conditions, water the garden daily, keeping the soil moist. Place mulch, pine needles or straw around the base of your plants to help retain moisture.
Fertilize the vegetable garden every week with a liquid 10-10-10 fertilizer.