Fall Vegetable Gardening in Northeast Florida
Fall vegetable gardening in Northeast Florida is an opportunity to grow cool-season veggies including broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, carrots, kale, lettuce, radishes, spinach, and Swiss Chard. Earth Works has available seeds and seedlings to get your Fall vegetable garden started and here are a few tips for green thumb level success.
IMPORTANCE OF SOIL
Good soil is essential for successful veggie gardening. “To the frustration of many gardeners, Florida’s “soil” is mostly sand,” according to the University of Florida. “This gray, fine soil is called Myakka, (pronounced My-yakah), an Indian word for “big waters.” Only found in Florida, Myakka covers the majority of the state—more than 1½ million acres—and is actually our official state soil.”
Compost is our model for good soil. We recommend Wild Earth Soil Mix, a nice dark rich, light-weight compost mix that’s perfect for growing your vegetable garden in and sold by the bag and yard. We’d additionally recommend amending garden bed soil with Espoma Organic Biotone Starter plant food containing mycorrhizae that help root development, nutrient uptake, and support. We have a variety of additional soil amendments, including earthworm castings. We have specialty soils with bat guano and other excellent veggie gardening enhancements.
WHERE AND HOW TO PLANT VEGETABLES?
Unless farming a large garden plot consider utilizing raised garden beds for vegetables that allow for better containment of gardening soil mixes, composts, manures, and other soil amendments. Raised beds tend to have higher soil temperature that’s less compacted with better drainage.
How deep should seeds be planted? “In general, seeds should be planted at a depth of two times the width, or diameter, of the seed,” according to The Spruce. “For example, if you have a seed that’s about 1/16 inch thick, it should be planted about 1/8 inch deep. The classic “quarter-inch” planting depth found on many seed packets is too deep for many small seeds.” Planting seeds too deep reduces germination rates and the vigor of seedlings. After placing your seeds at the appropriate depth, lightly pat down the soil to prevent the seeds from washing away during watering and rain.
We recommend succession planting, which is the staggered planting of seeds anywhere from 7 to 21 days so that your crops don’t ripen all at the same time. “Succession planting is most important for determinate crops, which are crops that produce all of their fruit (or edible material) at once,” according to the University of Minnesota. “Indeterminate tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, and peppers will continue to produce fruit off of the same plant, so you don’t need to worry about succession planting with these crops. Similarly, you can typically harvest multiple times from herb plants and they will grow back.”
PEST PREVENTION AND FERTILIZATION
Protect your crops from caterpillars and other insects that like to eat our vegetables and ornamentals with the beneficial bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis available from Monterey and Thuricide. Another beneficial bacterial agent is Spinosad which likewise kills garden pests and is available in Capt. Jack’s Dead Bug Brew. Our recommendation to effectively treat fungal outbreaks in the vegetable garden is Copper Fungicide by Bonide.
Boost your Fall vegetable gardening success with once per week fertilization with Organic Neptune’s Harvest Fish Emulsion liquid fertilizer.
For comprehensive solutions to your specific lawn, garden, and landscaping needs, contact Earth Works of Jacksonville online and at 904-996-0712. Earth Works operates a retail Garden Center/Plant Nursery in Jacksonville and provides landscaping, hardscaping, water features, lawn care service, lawn spraying, and drainage solutions.
We proudly serve clients in Northeast Florida, including Jacksonville, Ponte Vedra Beach, Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, Jacksonville Beach, Nocatee, St. Johns, Fleming Island, Orange Park, Middleburg, Green Cove Springs, Amelia Island, Fernandina, and St. Augustine.