April In The Vegetable Garden

Another winterless year for most of us.  Plants are loving it… so are the bugs and diseases.  With no cold weather kill-off, seems like they are getting a major head start.  Spider mites, thrips, aphids, powdery mildew, early blight – just to mention a few – have made themselves at home for many weeks already.

Though we didn’t have much in the way of winter this year, temperatures are remaining cooler for a little longer than usual (translation – we’re not heating up so fast).  Because of that, you could probably pull from the “March In The Vegetable Garden” list a little bit into April.  April’s list is stingy

Cool Weather Plants

  • NONE

Warm Weather Plants

  • Beans – bush, pole, lima
  • Cantaloupes
  • Okra
  • Southern peas – crowder, black-eyed, yard long…
  • Sweet potatoes
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March in the Vegetable Garden

WOW! No winter at all this year, for the most of us…

plants are aaaaall confused.

March plantings are not much different from February’s, but the important thing is this:

March is the last big planting month for the spring season.

With April’s warmth, the number of things you can plant drops drastically and then in May, June, and July there are really very few things you can plant at all… you need to have the plants growing already.  Heat and humidity will affect plant growth and productivity – and so will the bugs and diseases!!

So here’s the list for March

Cool Weather Plants

  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Collards
  • Kohlrabi
  • Lettuce
  • Mustard
  • Onion – multiplier, bunching
  • Peas
  • Radish
  • Turnip

Warm Weather Plants

  • Beans – bush, pole, lima
  • Cantaloups
  • Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant
  • Okra
  • Southern peas
  • Peppers
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Summer Squash
  • Winter Squash
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelon

Remember though, this is just a generic list.  At your house in your gardening, things aren’t going to be generic.  Yours may be warmer, cooler, sunnier, shadier, dryer, moister, more fertile, different pH, more organic matter, yadda yadda yadda… than the average generic garden.

Look around your garden world.  Observe what and where things are growing, sprouting, the color, the health, moisture, disease… and use this information combined with a little common sense to guide your garden planting decisions.

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1654303_10202097628856440_59878130_nSorta says it all, huh

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February in the Vegetable Garden

WOW!  Looks like we might have another winterless year (from about Orlando south anyway)… 2 in a row.

That’s good, but it’s bad.

Good because we get extra growth, don’t have cold damage dieback, soil flora and fauna grow faster building that good rich soil, planting season is extended, more time to enjoy the outdoors in our garden paradises…

Bad because no freeze means no killing off some of the bugs or at least slowing them down, and bad because it gives us a false sense of “Spring is here” so we plant and then get a frost or freeze that destroys our seedlings and transplants.  The fruit trees and bushes get confused and bloom when they shouldn’t, and there won’t be enough ‘chill hours’ that some fruits and berries need to produce or ripen fruit.  The greens don’t get that touch of frost/cold to make them sweet…

Regardless of whether we have any winter weather or not, there is a lot of planting to be done ind February.

This list is not carved in stone.  It is only the recommended list of the FL Extension Service — which means it’s general.  Your yard is not identical to their test plots.  Yours may be cooler, warmer, wetter, dryer, higher, lower, more sun, less sun, protected, exposed… and then there are the micro-climates all over the place. 

Experiment.  Chinese cabbage and spinach are not on the list for February, but I want to plant them.  So, I’ll find a spot in my yard that’s a little bit cooler and has a little less sun than the rest and plant some Chinese cabbage and spinach there.  If it works, GREAT!  If it doesn’t, nothing lost.  It’s worth the chance.

Need some hand-holding and what to do NOW in your vegetable garden help?
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Warm Weather Plants

  • Beans – bush, pole, lima
  • Cantaloupes
  • Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant
  • Peppers
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Summer Squash
  • Winter Squash
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelon

Cool Weather Plants

  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Collards
  • Endive/Escrole
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leek
  • Lettuce
  • Mustard
  • Onion – multiplier, bunching
  • Peas
  • Potatoes
  • Radish
  • Turnip
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Week by Week

It’s HEEEEeeeere!

Week by Week

You asked “What can I plant right now?”

The Month by Month chart you get when you sign up for the newsletter is a good start, but you need something more detailed… You need to know what to plant and do today!

Week by Week is it.

Each week you get a downloadable and printable (so you can carry it with you to use in the garden, then put it in a notebook for notes and a record) check sheet that lists:

  • Seeds to plant, where and how

  • Plants to plant, where and how

  • Container garden planting

  • Maintenance you should be doing

  • Garden related chores to tend to

  • Things to try

You also get  in-depth info on the how’s and why’s of what you’re doing

Week by Week
is a monthly subscription program

Introductory price is $5 a month.  Subscribe now and lock in at the introductory price for as long as you stay subscribed.

Join us NOW…

Click on the “Subscribe” button

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January in the Vegetable Garden

New year, new things, new plans… Soooooo excited!  I can feel down in my gardener’s bones that it’s going to be a good one.

This month we can get a few warm weather things into the garden – BUT BE PREPARED TO PROTECT THEM!  We’re far from being out of the woods for some plant killing weather – frost or even a freeze.

Warm Weather Plants (shoot for the end of the month rather than the beginning)

  • Eggplants
  • Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelons

Cool Weather Plants

  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Chinese Cabbage
  • Collards
  • Endive/Escrole
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leek
  • Lettuce
  • Mustard
  • Onion – multiplier and bunching, but not bulb
  • Peas
  • Potatoes
  • Radish
  • Turnips
  • Garlic
  • Spinach isn’t on the “official” list but you could try it anyway

Next month the planting really breaks loose!

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December In The Vegetable Garden

 

DSC_0459

Cool weather seems to be having a hard time coming to Central Florida Zone 9 this year.  We’ve had a few chilly days… but that’s been about it, just chilly.  Normally, we should be getting our first frost within the next couple of weeks… Sooner for the northern parts of Zone 9a and later for Zone 9b – particularly the southern parts.

Use the map to find your zone then the chart to find your average expected first frost date.

FL Hardiness Zone Map

 

floridamap

 

 

 

 

first and last frost FL

All the things you can plant in your garden this month will not be bothered by frosts or even a freeze.  BUT, if you have any warm weather plants in your garden, THEY WILL NEED PROTECTION!

At Central Florida Gardening we build a temporary greenhouse (a frame with construction plastic over it and a flap for the door — lots and lots of duct tape… LOTS!) and then heat it with strings of Christmas lights.  Works GREAT!

This kindimgres

 

NOT this kindimages

 

Warm Weather Plants

  • NONE (but next month there will be)

Cool Weather Plants

  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Chinese Cabbage
  • Collards
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leek
  • Lettuce
  • Mustard
  • Onion – bulb, multiplier, bunching
  • Peas
  • Radish

 

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November in the Vegetable Garden

If you didn’t get finished with your October planting, you get a reprieve this month.  What you can plant is exactly the same as last month.

Other planting things are going on this month too.  Its a good time for planting trees – they grow their root systems over the winter and are ready to leaf out come spring.

Many herbs like the cooler weather and are good to plant now. Some of those include:

  • Cilantro
  • Dill
  • Parsley
  • Fennel
  • Garlic
  • Oregano
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Thyme

Lots of harvesting is going on this month.  There are obvious things like your warm weather veggies and many of your tropical-ish fruits like papayas.  But, don’t forget your citrus.  Though it’s still green colored or mottled green and orange, and doesn’t look ready to eat, it is ripe.  Citrus needs a certain amount of cold for the color of the peel to turn orange or yellow (the cold breaks down the green colored chlorophyll allowing the orange or yellow color to show).  The only way to know for sure is to pick one and try it.

Days are getting noticeably cooler (despite an expected high of around 90 today here in Orlando) and many CFG Newsletter readers are worried about how much cold their veggies can take.  In general, none of your warm weather plants can tolerate freezing temperatures or even a touch of frost (frost can happen when temps are above freezing)

All of your cool weather plants can take frost and some freezing… some more than others.  It’s amazing to visit your garden in the morning after a frost/freeze and see everything stiff as a board.  The plants will appear translucent and you may expect them to collaps into a pile of mush once they warm up.  But they won’t.  Just leave them alone and after they thaw they’ll be good as new… for the most part.  Some of the leafy ones like lettuce may get the equivalent of ‘freezer burn’

Plan to protect your tropical-ish plants soon.  Get ready to move them or cover them at any hint of frost in the forecast.  We don’t expect any until December, but you never know.

Warm Weather Plants

  • NONE!

Cool Weather Plants

  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Chinese Cabbage
  • Collards
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leek
  • Lettuce
  • Mustard
  • Onion – bulb, multiplier, bunching
  • Peas
  • Potatoes (only if VERY protected)
  • Radish
  • Spinach
  • Turnips
  • Garlic
  • Strawberry

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Frost sensitive (Harvest these plants when the temperature dips to 32°F or less)
Tomatoes
Cucumbers
Hot peppers
Sweet peppers
Eggplant
Beans
Basil
Nasturtiums
Melons
Summer squash
Nasturtium
Sunflower

Somewhat frost hardy (These crops may survive temperatures as low as 28°F)
Lettuce
Arugula
Chard
Escarole
Endive
Cabbage
Nicotiana

Very frost hardy (Don’t rush to harvest these; they’ll be fine at 28° or colder)
Leeks
Scallions
Chives
Brussels sprouts
Broccoli
Kale
Parsley
Beets
Carrots
Winter squash (plant will die but the squash will be fine)
Pumpkins (plant will die but the squash will be fine)
Sage

 

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October in the Vegetable Garden

 

harvest-14417_640

Barely seems like it’s autumn out there in your garden yet, but it is.  A little crisper, a little dryer, and a few degrees cooler. We can’t tell a lot of difference but the plants can.  They notice the days are shorter and that the temperatures are moving smidgeon by smidgeon toward the cooler side of the mercury and it gets all kinds of little plant hormones flowing in preparation for ‘winter’

What does that mean for you?  Too late to plant any of those warmth loving veggies – unless you plant them where you can provide extra heat and light, such as in containers in an enclosed space, but they should have a flush of blooming and producing… which equals some ramped up harvesting for you.

This month will see a lot of landscape vegetation starting to decline and that translates into material for your compost pile.

So lets just get to it…

Warm Weather Plants

  • NONE!

Cool Weather Plants

  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Chinese Cabbage
  • Collards
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leek
  • Lettuce
  • Mustard
  • Onion – bulb, multiplier, bunching
  • Peas
  • Potatoes
  • Radish
  • Spinach
  • Turnips
  • Garlic
  • Strawberry

Though potatoes aren’t on the official list of things that can be planted (the official list says January and February) I know a lot of people plant them now– worth the experiment if you have sprouting potatoes in your kitchen.

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September in the Vegetable Garden

Last year at this time it was waaaay wetter and maybe a little teeny bit cooler.

Planting this year’s fall garden is going to be a bit different than last year’s.  Since we virtually had no winter this year, bugs and diseases have had the opportunity to flourish… but so have your plants.  There has been a TREMENDOUS amount of healthy growth going on in people’s gardens – our place looks like a jungle and some plants have grown HUGE!

With the weather being a bit dryer, fungal diseases don’t seem to have been as much of a problem as they’ve been the last few years… YAY!!!

Warm Weather Plants

(This is the last month for planting these — best to get them in the ground as early in the month as possible… like NOW)

Because we have been a little warmer and dryer than last year you might want to attempt planting some of the August warm weather plants.  Be sure to plant them in such a way that you can protect them if we get a frost or freeze before they’re ready for harvest.

  • Beans – pole, bush, lima
  • Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant
  • Southern peas
  • Peppers
  • Summer Squash
  • Tomatoes

Cool Weather Plants

  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Celery
  • Collards
  • Endive/Escrole
  • Kale
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce
  • Mustard
  • Onion – bulb, multiplier, bunching
  • Peas
  • Radish
  • Turnips
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