Fall Vegetable Gardening

Planning and setting up your fall vegetable garden is about the last thing most people want to think about during heat of our Florida summer, but it’s important to be prepared if you want to have a successful vegetable garden during our cool season. Growing vegetables year round is a possibility; however, most crops do best when started at certain times of the year. Planning is key to a bountiful harvest.

In central Florida, summer or warm season crops are best planted in late February or early March and again in early September. Tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants should generally be planted as starter plants in 4” pots, whereas faster crops like cucumbers, summer squash, and beans can be direct seeded or started as small transplants. If you want to start your own seeds, add on the necessary growing time to the optimal planting time to determine when to start your seeds. Cool season crops like lettuce, cooking greens, broccoli, carrots, radishes, etc. are generally best started between late October and February. Some faster crops can be planted multiple times over the winter.

Now is the time to prepare your vegetable beds. Our kitchen garden contains raised beds as this allows us to better control the soil. Our native soils are often too poor to retain the amount of nutrients that vegetable plants need, so planting in ground becomes challenging. Raised beds allow us to add good quality soils, composts, composted manures, and other amendments that provide desired macro and micro nutrients, moisture, and more.

Determine how much space you have to work with, and then prioritize the types of vegetables you’d most like to grow. It’s important to not overcrowd plants to minimize disease. Square foot gardening is a method often used to determine how many of each vegetable can be grown in the amount of space you have. Also keep in mind that climbing and vining vegetable like pole beans, cucumbers and tomatoes will need support like sturdy trellises or fences. Incorporate these on the north sides of the beds so they don’t shade out the other plants.

Vegetable Gardening in Florida Series

Gardening in Raised Beds

Solutions for Your Life, Vegetable Gardening in Florida