Finding the best area to start your garden and getting the soil, fertilizer, and watering system ready for a bountiful garden.
Here is part 2 of our 4 part series in discussing how to get ready for your fall vegetable garden in Florida.
Vegetable planting in your own garden is definitely an exciting event to look forward to. Visions of harvesting sweet corn, ripe and red tomatoes, plump and healthy broccoli, squash and cauliflower as well as crispy green peppers can be a source of happiness and motivation for you to plant.
Planting in Fall is particularly favorable for vegetables that prefer damper conditions or cooler temperatures. During this season, many insects are getting ready to hide from winter and the climate is milder. Getting your garden ready for Fall planting in Florida needs some hard work and begins in finding the best area to start raising your crops. Knowing where in your garden to plant your vegetables is very important to be able to come up with the best harvest results.
Find a well-drained area in your garden close to the water source as well as in a setting with no less than 6 hours of direct sunlight. If possible, interchange your garden from area to area to control pest invasion and soil diseases.
Before planting your fall vegetables, make a plan, which consists of the name of vegetables you intend to grow, planting dates, and location. Use a planting guide to list vegetable seedlings, which are easy to transplant and which are not. Those that are hard to transplant must be directly seeded into your garden.
In preparing the soil, you can improve the garden plot by adding organic matter such as compost, animal manure, commercial soil mixes, and rotted leaves. Plow or turn the soil at least 3 weeks before the day of planting. You may rework the topsoil on the day itself, into a firm and smooth surface. Also, another important thing is the soil pH, the best range for a vegetable garden is between 5.8 to 6.3 pH.
Another phase in preparing your garden for fall vegetable planting is covering the soil with a plastic sheet, grass clippings, straw, or something protective that will help in keeping the soil warm once the temperature begins to drop later in Fall. This can also help in suppressing weed invasion.
Fertilizing your soil is also needed to have a bountiful harvest. In Florida, gardeners use commercial synthetic fertilizers aside from organic composts. They find it appropriate to use fertilizer grades at 10-10-10.
Your water system or irrigation is likewise important in preparing for your fall vegetable garden. Vegetables cannot bear standing water from irrigation or from too much rainfall, but need moisture from soil in order to produce and grow. The frequency of watering your garden will depend on the type of soil and age of the crop. For instance, young plants require regular but light supply of water, while ripening crops demand more water, but not often. Save water through the use of organic matter, mulch, and effective methods like drip irrigation. You can create a small depression along the base of the plants in order to temporarily store the water until it is absorbed by the soil.
There is much to do to prepare for a Florida, Fall vegetable garden but the reward of healthy, delicious tasting vegetables will be well worth the effort.
Please look out for the 3rd part of our 4 part series, next week on Getting Ready For Your Fall Vegetable Garden in Florida – Part 3, which is “Planting and Maintaining Your Garden to Maturity”.