Happy Fall Y’all: Florida Fall Gardens

September 23, 2011

Pinebarren Goldenrod, Solidago fistulosa. Photos by Dan Culbert, UF/IFAS

Today is the first day of fall: A season of cool, crisp air, roasting marshmallows over bonfires and watching warm-colored leaves drift to the ground.

However, it is still mighty hot here in the Sunshine State. Not to mention dry – so much for bonfires. And the leaves here don’t change colors unless the tree they’re growing on is getting ready to kill over. Oh well – we can still enjoy goldenrods blooming along the highway and SEC football on the weekends! Those are two things that undoubtedly go hand-in-hand with Florida falls.

One thing that many Floridians don’t necessarily associate with this time of year is planting gardens. But there are numerous vegetables, herbs, and flowers that flourish in Florida this time of year. Did you know that Florida strawberries are planted in October? In fact, according to the Florida Strawberry Growers Association, Hillsborough County produces about 15 percent of the nation’s strawberries and virtually all the berries grown in the U.S. during the winter.

What to Plant 

IFAS’s easy-to-use Florida Gardening Calendar can help you determine what to plant in your fall garden and how to care for it.

Just like your mum – chrysanthemums and marigolds are annuals that flourish in the fall of the year and are idyllic autumn blooms. For more fall bloomers and how to care for them, click here.

Prefer veggie tales? Here are a few vegetables that you might consider planting in your fall garden:

  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Kale
  • Mustard Greens
  • Onions
  • Radishes
  • Squash
  • Turnips

Before you plant veggies, flowers or herbs, it is important to take into consideration current weather patterns and your location in Florida. What may be planted in October in South Florida, may not last through North Florida’s harsh winters. Take roses for example. I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose gardenbut this is the time to plant them in South Florida. According to IFAS, North Florida residents may want to wait until spring as repeated freezes are harmful to the root system.  Visit IFAS’s Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide to determine when and what you should plant this fall.

Where to Start

Remember to buy local when you are purchasing transplants. And be sure to purchase plants from registered nurseries. Don’t transport plants across state or national borders as they may be harboring pests, diseases or other plant material. If transported, these pests, diseases and other foreign plant material could potentially establish permanent homes in areas where they have no natural predators, becoming an invasive problem by competing with the established natural resources. Protect our natural resources, don’t pack a pest.

Possible Pests 

Although the humidity may have dropped a bit, don’t be surprised if you have any pests rooting around in your foliage.

Giant African land snail

Two pests to look out for are snails and slugs. The Veronicell sloanei species attacks a huge variety of Florida’s fall crops, including beans and peas, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots and lettuce. Another menacing snail to look out for is the giant African land snail. This invasive pest can grow up to eight inches in length and will not only eat nearly every crop grown in Florida, but will also eat plaster and stucco! This species has been recently identified in Miami-Dade County.

If you see an invasive pest in your area, such as the giant African land snail, or would like help identifying or eradicating any plant pests that worm their way into your garden, call us toll-free at 1-888-397-1517. You can also visit us online at http://www.freshfromflorida.com/pi/ for more information about Florida’s plant industry.

Enjoy the last of those summer crops and prepare for the bountiful fall harvest ahead! Click here for information about Florida’s seasonal availability and enjoy this yummy recipe for Fall Harvest Chowder. Even though the temperatures haven’t dropped off in our home state, jump into the spirit of fall by growing a fall garden.

Enjoy ag blogs? Here is another great resource about fall gardening in Florida: Fall Into Place.

Happy fall y’all!


One Response to “Happy Fall Y’all: Florida Fall Gardens”

  1. […] Happy Fall Y’all: Florida Fall Gardens (fldpi.wordpress.com) […]

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