A successful Spring garden starts with growing the right kinds of vegetables that do well in the warm Spring season.
Spring quickly turns into a hot Summer here in central Florida so we have to plan differently from the rest of our friends in the U.S. Keep that in mind as you think about your favorite veggies.
Start planning your garden now!
Spring is a season of dreams and hopes, including dreaming and hoping for a great Spring garden! Valentine’s Day is a great reminder to order your seeds for a Spring garden but, remember, not all veggies do well in our hot Florida summer climate. Many people who browse the seed catalogs or stand in front of a rack of seeds, pick veggies simply because they like that particular vegetable. Your local store or seed source will sell you whatever you want, whether it’s the right season or not.
Remember! Our growing seasons are very different in central Florida from most of the U.S.
There are basically two growing seasons-Spring and Fall with Summer being our season as our dormant months. Very few vegetables can survive the heat and the pests that come with the heat and rain, so we just simply don’t grow stuff during that time! But, there are two exceptions to that rule-peanuts and Seminole Pumpkin. You can wait until one of your Spring veggies has been cleared out and plant those at that time but they can also be planted now if you have space. I’ll teach more about that in a later post.
Most of my seeds have been saved from the previous year as shown in this picture. I love to save my own seeds but some seeds cannot be saved from year to year. I’ll talk about that later this season, but for now, let’s start at the beginning!
Here is a list of veggies that are most likely to be successful in a Spring garden in central Florida.
Our family favorites for Spring are:
- Bush Blue Lake green beans
- Henderson Baby Lima Beans
- Several varieties of Tomatoes including Roma vf Italian and tomatoes on the vine (cluster tomatoes)
- Corn, preferring the hybrids Silver Queen and Golden Queen but heritage Bantam is a good choice
- Squash, yellow and zucchini. Absolute favorite is Golden Zucchini
- Cucumbers, salad variety, and pickle variety.
- Italian flat green beans
- Melons and Cantaloupe
- Herbs: dill, cilantro, parsley, several varieties of basil, oregano, parsley
Other vegetables that are also great for Spring:
- Fordhook bush lima beans or a similar stake variety
- Southern peas, i.e. black eye peas, zipper peas, etc. (Don’t confuse them with English peas-don’t plant them now! They like our Winter.)
- Peanuts. You can plant these after a crop has been cleared. (I always have peanuts in the garden!)
- Potatoes, any variety. Be careful. Buy certified or they can cause a disease to spread into your soil.
- Heritage Corn. There are varieties that are good, Bantam being the most prolific variety that I have tried. But, I have not found any that have the yield and sweetness of our preferred hybrids.
- Seminole Pumpkin. I like to plant this amazing vegetable after green beans are cleared out.
Where to order seeds:
The seed source that I believe has the best germination rate and sells varieties that do well in our climate is Southern Exposure Seed Exchange http://www.southernexposure.com/ Another favorite is Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds https://www.rareseeds.com but read the description carefully to determine if the climate the variety you are considering is suitable for our growing season. My experience with Baker Creek is that the germination rate is lower for some of the seeds but still quite acceptable. Both of these companies will send you a real catalog if you like to browse and read…..I love to read them and the articles they include. But, while you are waiting for the mail, please order your seeds now. Planting time is around March first, depending on the weather.
A word about heritage seeds
There are other heritage seed companies that I have chosen to shop less frequently because of the low germination rate. Sad, but true. However, heritage seeds should be preserved. Saving seeds is an aspect of organic gardening that is very rewarding. Once you learn how to save seed from a heritage variety, you can save your own seed and not have to purchase the seed again!
Give yourself the freedom to experiment with a new veggie or a new variety.
Save some space in your garden for experimenting and try a new veggie or a new variety of a favorite. Just remember that some experiments fail but that’s all part of the learning. For example, I discovered cranberry beans that way. Now I grow them for a kidney bean replacement. But I have also tried other beans and tomatoes that did not do well.
Remember to order your seeds now!
If you are ready to plant, hop over to my blog: https://seasonsofdevotion.com/learn-how-to-plant-seeds-for-a-successful-spring-garden/
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