June in the Vegetable Garden

Arlington-Fire-07-27-15

Summer 'officially' starts this month and so does the Hurricane Season... June is a month of waiting... waiting for it to reeeallly get hot, waiting to see if we'll have any hurricanes, waiting for those afternoon thunderstorms and hoping they're not too violent, waiting to harvest, waiting for your soil solarization to work, waiting for the right time to start seedlings for the fall garden (our second spring), waiting waiting waiting...

There isn't much to plant this month so your time will be best spent doing maintenance and preparatory things like tool repair/sharpening, soil solarization, composting, building and preparing new beds, gathering the seeds that you want to plant in your fall garden...

Here is what you can plant while you wait

Cool Weather Plants

  • NONE

Warm Weather Plants

  • Okra (seeds and transplants)
  • Southern Peas - black-eyed, yard long, crowder (seeds)
  • Peanuts (seeds)
  • Sweet Potatoes (slips)
  • New Zealand and Malabar Spinach (neither of which are really spinach) (seeds and transplants and cuttings)

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May in the Vegetable Garden

It's here, the summer slump... technically it's here anyway.  There may be a slump in what you can plant in your May vegetable garden and for the next few months, but there is absolutely no slump in what needs to be done in the garden.

Lots of other things are happening in the May vegetable garden(s) too. Lots of harvesting going on, egg laying by garden friendly creatures: lizards, birds, snakes, frogs and toads- usually the toads start singing and mating after the first rain in May.

The heat and humidity starting in May is going to put a real damper on the garden.  It will be interfering with pollen viability which will lower production, and it creates an environment that bugs and disease totally love.  It is best if you do not work in your garden when it is wet because the chances of spreading disease goes waaaaaay up.

Be on the lookout for fungus... particularly powdery mildew!

Here's the skimpy planting prospects for May vegetable garden (and June and July!)

COOL WEATHER PLANTS

NONE

WARM WEATHER PLANTS

  • Okra
  • Southern peas (includes black-eyed, yard long, crowder...)
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Malabar and New Zealand spinach (not really spinach but a good substitute)
  • Peanuts
  • Maybe squash
  • Maybe watermelon
  • Maybe mustard and turnip (for the greens) - After you pick them they will need to spend some time in the refrigerator or freezer to give them some sweetness and good flavor

Some advice:

  • Don't work in the heat of the day
  • The high humidity is dangerous for you too because your body can't use sweat evaporation to keep you cool
  • If parts of your May vegetable garden are in shade part of the day, work in the shaded areas and then move with the shade (for example, my whole garden is in shade in the early morning.  Sun first appears at the west side then moves across the garden to the east side.  So, I start my gardening on the west side and then as the sun creeps in, I follow and stay in the shade as it moves over to the east side.
  • Stay hydrated
  • Wear a hat (some sun is very very good - vitamin D3 production - but too much should be avoided)
  • Use some bug repellant (something natural like citronella - get a little bottle of citronella essential oil from a health food store, put a couple of drops on the palm of your hand, rub your hands together, then rub your hands all over the exposed parts of your body - ankles, arms, neck, face, hair... works for me)
  • Take breaks
  • Get a hammock

April in The Vegetable Garden

April Showers

Another near 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. With Summer coming on, rain, humidity and heat will be adding to the bug and disease arsonal.

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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
  • Malabar spinach

March in the Vegetable Garden

WOW! NO WINTER AT ALL THIS YEAR, FOR THE MOST OF US...

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 garden, 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.

February in the Vegetable Garden

WOW!  Looks like we might have another relatively winterless year (from about Orlando south anyway)... 5 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, ripen and sweeten fruit - including citrus.  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 in 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.

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/Escarole
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leek
  • Lettuce
  • Mustard
  • Onion - multiplier, bunching
  • Peas
  • Potatoes
  • Radish
  • Turnip

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 might not have had any 'winter' yet, but we're far from being out of the woods for some plant killing weather - frost or even a freeze... ya just never know.

Links to some seed companies online

http://www.johnnyseeds.com/

https://exchange.seedsavers.org/page/landing

http://parkseed.com/

https://www.richters.com/

http://www.artisticgardens.com/index.aspx

https://www.superseeds.com/

https://bountifulgardens.org/departments/281

http://www.territorialseed.com/

https://www.botanicalinterests.com/

WARM WEATHER PLANTS (GET SEEDS STARTED IN POTS SO THAT THEY WILL BE READY TO TRANSPLANT INTO YOUR GARDEN IN 4-6 WEEKS)

  • 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!

December In The Vegetable Garden

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One of the blessings of living in Central Florida is that we can garden all year round.

One of the curses of living in Central Florida is that we can garden all year round.

December is no different... almost identical to November plantings so let's get to it:

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

November In The Vegetable Garden

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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.  It's 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 these 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 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 collapse 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

October in the Vegetable Garden

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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, the ones already growing in your garden 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 (seeds)
  • Broccoli (seeds or transplants)
  • Brussels Sprouts (seeds or transplants)
  • Cabbage (seeds or transplants)
  • Carrots (seeds)
  • Cauliflower (seeds or transplants)
  • Celery (seeds or transplants)
  • Chinese Cabbage (seeds - does not transplant well)
  • Collards (seeds or transplants)
  • Kale (seeds or transplants)
  • Kohlrabi (seeds or transplants)
  • Leek (seeds or transplants)
  • Lettuce (seeds or transplants)
  • Mustard (seeds)
  • Onion - bulb, multiplier, bunching (seeds or transplants or sets)
  • Peas (seeds)
  • Potatoes (seed potatoes or chunk of potato with an eye)
  • Radish (seeds)
  • Spinach (seeds or transplants)
  • Turnips (seeds)
  • Garlic (clove)
  • Strawberry (plants)

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.

September in the Vegetable Garden

Can you feel a difference in the weather yet... you know, that "autumn's coming" thing.

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Lots of work to do in the September... in addition to major planting.  All the heat and rain and humidity has made it unpleasant to work outside.  The consequences are weeds and disease and bugs and soil in dire need of amendment, maybe even some waterlogged areas.  All things that have to be dealt with before you can get those September seeds and plants in the ground.

Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 12.35.21 PM

Here's the vegetable planting list for September's garden:

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)

  • Beans - pole, bush, lima (seeds)
  • Corn (seeds)
  • Cucumbers (seeds or transplants)
  • Eggplant (transplants)
  • Southern peas (seeds)
  • Peppers (transplants)
  • Summer Squash (seeds or transplants)
  • Tomatoes (transplants)

Cool Weather Plants

  • Broccoli (seeds or transplants)
  • Cabbage (seeds or transplants)
  • Celery (seeds or transplants)
  • Collards (seeds or transplants)
  • Endive/Escrole (seeds or transplants)
  • Kale (seeds or transplants)
  • Leeks (seeds or transplants)
  • Lettuce (seeds or transplants)
  • Mustard (seeds)
  • Onion - bulb, multiplier, bunching (seeds, plants, sets)
  • Peas (seeds)
  • Radish (seeds)
  • Turnips (seeds)