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.
On June 19th, Mike Ball and Phil Gonsiska conducted an endangered plant rescue at a site slated for development near Clermont. The site was a ten-acre, slightly overgrown scrub remnant. Penny Cople, of Breedlove, Dennis, and Associates, Inc., showed them to several scrub plums (Prunus geniculata).
Spending time outside is always great, especially if it’s relaxing with friends and family. However, what’s not so great is the annoying bugs that fly around, especially mosquitos! Not only do they make obnoxious noises, but they can also ruin a great evening by making you all itchy. Here are some great plants you can add to your backyard to help repel mosquitos!
St. Lucie County is seeking volunteers to assist in the removal of exotic and overgrown vegetation at the county’s Lakela’s Mint Preserve to protect the endemic Lakela’s Mint population on Saturday, June 3 and Saturday, June 17 from 8 to 11 a.m.
Kathleen Elementary’s garden began as an idea by Danielle Emmons, Science Coach, to extend the classroom beyond the walls of the building. She wanted to integrate experiential learning opportunities for the 4th grade Science classes.
Jane Henderson, Lynn Hamel, JoRene Nevitt and Carol Livezey had not met before joining our volunteer family; however, through their volunteer efforts a wonderful friendship has been cultivated. Edward Bok was a huge proponent of volunteerism and he described in his autobiography the idea of service to others as the “third period” in his vision for a successful life. It is with great joy we share Jane, Lynn, JoRene and Carol’s own words describing how volunteering at Bok Tower Gardens can be a transformative experience.