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.

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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)

August in the Vegetable Garden

August06

The Busy Busy Starts This Month.

Need to get finished preparing your planting beds, containers, seeds planted in flats or pots for transplanting FAST!

It's still waaaay hot out there for your cool weather loving plants, but it is time to start getting your heat loving fall garden vegetables plants in the ground this month.  Some will be transplants and some will be seeds.

Next month you will plant the last of your warm weather plants (there still are a bunch of them that can go in the garden in September) and a LOT more of the cool weather plants. So be sure to have your veggie beds ready.

Most herbs can be planted now

Might try planting some Malabar spinach if you have a very warm protected area, or plant it in a container so that it can be moved to a warm/hot area later in the season

You can transplant fruit trees and bushes growing in containers into the ground  now

Out in the garden you can start planting the following veggies

WARM WEATHER PLANTS 

  • Beans - Pole - pole beans take a little longer to produce and they produce over a longer period of time so we plant them earlier than bush beans (seeds)
  • Corn (seeds)
  • Eggplant (transplants)
  • Southern Peas (seeds)
  • Peppers (transplants)
  • Pumpkin (seeds or transplants)
  • Summer Squash (seeds or transplants)
  • Tomato - last of the month (transplants)
  • Winter Squash (seeds or transplants)
  • Watermelon (seeds or transplants)
  • Sweet potatoes - IF YOU DO IT RIGHT NOW (slips or rooted cuttings)
  • Okra - IF YOU DO IT RIGHT NOW (seeds, pre-sprouted seeds, or transplants)
  • Malabar spinach - IF YOU DO IT RIGHT NOW like mentioned above (seeds or rooted cuttings)

COOL WEATHER PLANTS

  • Broccoli -(seeds or transplants)
  • Celery (seeds or transplants)
  • Collards (seeds or transplants)
  • Onion - Multiplier and Bunching (but not bulbing onions) (plants, seeds, sets)

July in the Vegetable Garden

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Chances are your garden is looking pretty pitiful about now.  The lovely rain, heat, humidity combined with the slower pace has made everything grow... plants as well as bugs and disease organisms. Rain has been a bit spotty this year so your garden may get a good watering then get a bit droughty and need watering, then rain, drought, water... Puts a lot of stress on your plants.

This isn't a bad thing though.  It's the end of our season and the timing is perfect.  It's a signal that it's time to start preparing for your fall and winter garden.  Seriously.

Fall planting starts in August.  There's just enough time to get prepared for it.

Rip out everything that's not healthy, growing well, and producing.

Add amendments to your soil to build it up - good stuff, organic matter… not chemicals.

Fluff that soil and keep it moist and let the microbes get to work making everything fertile.

Could try some solarization to kill off bad juju stuff in the soil (clear plastic on moist soil with the edges anchored down and left to 'cook' in the sun for 6 weeks or so)

I'm using the bacillus thuringiensis israelensis in my soil for nematodes (they're baaaaack.... no nematodes evident where I've used Bti) (click here to find out about purchasing)

It's time to be getting any seeds for plants you want in your fall/winter garden.  You will need to be starting them soon so that they will be just the right size for transplanting when the time comes - things like tomatoes and peppers and melons.

I've got LOTS of work to do out there and I knooooow you do too.  Remember to work early or late and stay hydrated and don't get too much sun - try a wide brimmed hat.  The right hat looks lovely on you ladies and a Panama hat is oh so handsome on you gents.

 COOL WEATHER PLANTS

  • Absolutely NONE

WARM WEATHER PLANTS

  • Okra (seeds or transplants)
  • Southern peas – black-eyed, crowder, purple hulled, yardlong (also called asparagus bean) (seeds)
  • Sweet potatoes (slips from potatoes or rooted cuttings)
  • Peanuts (seeds)
  • Malabar and New Zealand spinach – which aren’t spinaches but are good substitutes in hot weather (seeds or rooted cuttings)
  • Other miscellaneous TROPICAL fruits and vegetables that you may come across

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