Fall Vegetable Planting in Florida
Unlike many areas of the United States, Florida gardeners have the ability to grow vegetables year-round. As with all regions of the country, certain vegetable varieties grow better when planted at certain times of year. Vegetables are broken into two categories depending on their tolerance to outdoor temperatures. Warm-season crops grow better planted during warmer times of the year. Cool-season crops grow better planted during the cooler temperatures of fall and winter. Cool-season crops suitable for Florida gardens in fall include beets, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower.
Draw up a vegetable garden plan. Include vegetable varieties, their required spacing and how many plants you are growing of each variety. This will help in designing a garden of the appropriate size to house the vegetable plants.
Clean the planting site, removing all weeds and grasses. Select a location for the vegetable garden that receives full sunlight throughout the day. Cooler North Florida gardeners can situate their vegetable gardens on the southern or western sides of their house, as they are the warmest locations.
Amend the vegetable garden's soil with organic materials. Use approximately 25 to 100 lbs. of organic materials such as compost or manure for a 100-square-foot garden. Dig the organics into the soil to a depth of approximately 6 to 8 inches.
- Draw up a vegetable garden plan.
- Clean the planting site, removing all weeds and grasses.
Amend the vegetable garden's soil with fertilizer, using a blend specific to your Florida soil type. Use a 6-6-6 blend for sandy or marl soils, an 8-10-10 blend for rocky soils and a 9-0-9 blend for clayey soils, as recommended by the University of Florida. Apply 2 to 3 lbs. for every 100 square feet of garden space and dig it down into the soil approximately 6 to 8 inches.
Create your rows or mounds in the garden, considering which vegetables you are growing. Vegetables such as winter squashes prefer singular mounds, whereas greens grow fine planted in rows. Mound the garden soil up and pack it down with your hands, to build the row or mound.
- Amend the vegetable garden's soil with fertilizer, using a blend specific to your Florida soil type.
Plant your vegetable transplants or seeds into the garden, according to package recommendations on spacing and depth. North Florida gardeners can plant beets, carrots, Chinese cabbage, strawberries and spinach starting in October. Central and South Florida gardeners can plant those same vegetables starting in October.
Water the vegetable seeds and transplants immediately after planting. Saturate the soil. Keep the garden soil moist, but not wet, while the vegetables are growing.
Apply additional fertilizer while the vegetables are growing. Use a water-soluble blend specific to vegetables, applied according to package instructions. Broadcast another application of the granular fertilizer you amended the soil with, applied at half strength and beyond the vegetables' foliage, as recommended by the University of Florida.
- Plant your vegetable transplants or seeds into the garden, according to package recommendations on spacing and depth.
- Use a water-soluble blend specific to vegetables, applied according to package instructions.
- Diagnose and treat any pest problems as soon as you notice them. Use products safe for use on the particular crops you are growing and apply it according to the label's recommended rates.
For over 25 years, Joyce Starr has owned businesses dealing with landscape & design, lawn maintenance, specialty herbs and a garden center. She holds certificates in landscape design and xeriscaping. Starr shares her passion for nature in her writing, publishing articles on horticulture, outdoor recreation, travel as well as business.