Hey guys, Fall is right around the corner. Yeah, it's still hotter than the sun outside, but trust me, it's right around the corner, or maybe down the street a little, then around the corner, and then take the next left and turn at the...
Well, you get the point.
But trust me, it's coming, and what does that mean for us gardeners in Central Florida? It means we have some work to do if we want to cash in on one of the best growing seasons in the Central Florida region. Fall or Autumn, as I like to call it, is a great time of year to plant all the annual veggies that can't tolerate our Florida summer sun. So, this is the time to start planning out your Fall setup. I, for one, have been occupying some beds for the latter part of the summer with cover crops like cowpeas. They keep your soil from eroding and losing nutrients and are nitrogen fixers, meaning they make your soil better than it found. Your garden beds, whether raised or in the ground, can be amended now with manure and or composts. Once the beds are ready for plants, we have to decide what to plant, and the great thing about the Fall is we have many options.
So what can we plant in the Fall in Central Florida? In short, everything.
Lettuce, kale, broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, carrots, onions, and potatoes will all flourish in Fall. Now we have to decide if we want to start things like cabbage, kale, and tomatoes from seeds or if we want to buy seedlings already started. If you are a new gardener, you probably should go to your local nursery or hardware store and get seedlings already started. You will get a faster harvest and have fewer risks of failure.
Some people will frown upon using starters. I definitely am not one of them. Gardening is hard enough, and if there are ways to make it easier, I'm all for them.
Now for the more confident gardeners, the next few weeks are the time to start planting seeds in starter containers. All your root crops will be directly seeded into your beds, like radishes, carrots, and onions.
One of the biggest mistakes people make at this stage, and by people, I mean me, is not labeling your containers. Pretty much every seedling in the brassica family will look identical initially. That's the kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, etc. So definitely label and do not put more than two seeds per pot. You will get much more vigorous seedlings if they are not overcrowded. I like to wait until about mid to late September to transplant these into my beds and, depending on the weather, even October.
If you are new to gardening, this is a great time to jump in. It is the easiest time to grow veggies in Central Florida. So don't just think about starting a garden, do it.
As I like to say, "get it in the ground" and do the research later.
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