For a deep dive into Vegetable Gardening in Central Florida, watch our YouTube of the webinar recording. If you are getting started with growing your own vegetables in Florida, choose a site that is full sun with access to water. Gardens can be grown in a variety of types of garden beds including in-ground, raised beds, and grow boxes. Vegetables prefer a rich loamy soil so loosen the soil and amend with compost to improve the soil fertility. start by reading the Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide, available in English and Spanish
Raised garden bed made from recycled materials. Photo: Tia Silvasy, UF/IFAS
Planting dates The spring vegetable gardening season in Florida runs from January to May. If you garden in the summer choose heat-tolerant varieties such as Seminole pumpkin, Everglades tomato, and Rattlesnake pole bean. Our summers get hot and rainy so many choose to take a break, grow cover crops, or solarize their gardens.    Seed starting Root crops and large seeds such as green beans, sunflower, peas, and squash are generally direct sewn after danger of frost has passed mid-February. Most others such as tomato, pepper, eggplant, broccoli, cabbage, and collards can be started indoors in seed flats and transplanted into the garden once the first true leaves appear.   Watering Keep the soil moist when germinating seeds and establishing vegetable plants. Some gardeners choose to observe their crops to hand water and others install drip irrigation or microsprays, on an automatic battery timer. As plants mature, a 2-3” layer of straw mulch can be used to prevent weeds and conserve soil moisture.  Fertilizer Fertilizer is used to supply nutrients to plants when they need them at establishment, flowering, and fruiting. Please note that vegetables are exempt from most fertilizer ordinances, gardeners should carefully apply fertilizers and follow best management practices. Mix fertilizers into the top layer of soil and water them in after application.  Mulch A light mulch can be applied to prevent weeds, such as straw, leaves, or pine straw. You can apply a 2-3″ layer of mulch to established vegetable gardens.  Pest Management Some vegetables attract a lot of pests so be prepared to spend some time on pest control. Scout your crops often to check for caterpillars, aphids, and other pests. Plant flowers to attract beneficial insectsfor example ladybugs eat aphids. If you need to spray, it’s best to use the least toxic pest control method first. Start by scouting for insects and identifying them. If you get a pest outbreak that requires a pesticide spray, use the least toxic options first. For example, Bacillus thuringiensis (or BT) is a biological pesticide that can be used for caterpillar control.   Follow Us! We have several ways to connect. Join our UF/IFAS Extension Hillsborough County FacebookYouTubeInstagramEventbriteBlogs, and Website If you have any questions, please contact the UF/IFAS Extension Hillsborough County at 813-744-5519 or email The University of Florida is an Equal Opportunity Institution.
by Tia Silvasy
Source: UF/IFAS Pest Alert Note: All images and contents are the property of UF/IFAS.
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