Everyone wants to have a successful garden. You see pictures in the magazines and seed catalogs of smiling gardeners reaping baskets full of their bountiful harvest. You want to be just like that.
And then you try to grow in Florida.
Its too hot and too wet. The bugs are everywhere and fungus grows on everything. You stick it out and at the end of the season get 8 green beans and one tomato. What went wrong?
Florida is difficult, no lie. But with the right amount of knowledge, you can be a successful gardener.
The secret is simple. It’s not always your gardening skills (or lack thereof) causing those small yields. You have to first select the correct variety of plant for the region you are in. You want heirlooms that originated from where you are growing or from other climates that are similar so that they are naturally adapted. If you are in Florida, that means selecting varieties that are heat and mildew resistant and that originate from the Southeast.
A perfect example is the tomato. If you buy a tomato seed or cutting from a big box store, you are likely to get one of the larger beefsteak varieties. These do great in a longer, cooler, growing season, but plant those here and they will split from the heat before they mature. Choose a southern heirloom, like the Cherokee Purple, and this small to medium size fruit will have plenty of time to develop before the heat ruins it.
The second secret is knowing when to plant everything. Again, the garden centers tend to promote the Northern planting schedule which means starting your vegetable garden in April. In Florida though, if you start in April you won’t have enough time to harvest anything before it gets too hot in May and June.
To make it even easier, I’ve attached a planting schedule for Central Florida so you will know what to plant and when. So get out there. Let’s have some successful gardens this fall!