Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Florida Fall Veggie Garden - Are You Ready?

It's almost that time of year! 

I start mumbling about maybe extending the above ground 
veggie garden out another 6 x 15 feet and my hubbie has a deer-in-the-headlights look.

No seriously, I look forward to the Florida growing season with the same anticipation that a kid waits for the holidays, and this is why.

Plenty of home grown, delicious produce. The planting season has only just started here in my backyard paradise.

But I've been busy already.

For the third year running I planted Lemon Boy tomato seeds. These are seeds that I harvested from last year's crop. I just can't say enough about the Lemon Boy tomato. Every year I promise myself the Lemon Boy is the only tomato crop I am going to plant, but every year I keep trying with different Heirloom and Hybrid types. Determinate and Indeterminate. That's a gardener for you, we're eternal optimists - if we were not, we'd give up the first year the lubbers wiped out the beans, the cabbage worm the brassicas, and white fly decimated the eggplants.
Three weeks ago, I planted Bush Beans both in the vegetable bed and in a pot and they are doing really well. I bought these from Seeds Of Change. They are 100% certified organic Provider Snap Bush Bean. We loved them last year - crisp, nutty flavor, yum!

You need to plant a lot though, we only harvested maybe 5 or 6 every 2-3 days and frankly I could have eaten them every night. So, this year, I'm staggering the planting of the beans every 3 weeks.

On the covered patio, I'm trying two new varieties of tomatoes this year. This is Phoenix - a hybrid determinate.

Tip: If you have a covered patio to put your tomatoes on until they get a little bigger, bury half a banana in with them and watch them shoot up! If you plant them in the garden with the banana, the raccoons will find it and dig the whole thing up.....been there done that.

The tomato on the right is Rutgers - an heirloom and according my handy-dandy 'The Complete Idiot's Guide to Heirloom Vegetables'..."a determinate, New Jersey heirloom....produces large, 8-ounce fruits with good flavor...great for slicing or canning.....60-100 days to harvest."

Now I'm not sure if an heirloom from New Jersey (it's cold up there, isn't it?) is going to make it through a Zone 10 Florida Fall and Winter season, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.

I prefer to grow Indeterminate tomato varieties usually. Determinate types, fruit all at once and then wither away. Hopefully these two will provide us with some tomats by November, by which time the Lemon Boy will be well on its way to setting fruit....ooh I just can't wait!

I also prepared a vegetable bed that appeared to be infested with nematodes. Black plastic to the rescue. I'll let the soil cook for about 4-6 weeks and then plant onions, cauliflower and cabbages in here.
Last but not least, I got my egg shell water ready to sprinkle over tomato seedlings. The shell water provide calcium.

Tip: use egg shells, crushed a little bit and just soak in water for a week (I refrigerate mine).

There's my update, what's going on in your Florida fall garden?


  1. What an inspiring post. Now you've got me really excited about planting season too! I want to try some of your tricks--the eggshell water and the banana fertilizer.

    1. Thanks for visiting Leslie! I just popped over to your blog page, the post about that old house is great...keep up the good work and take us along with you on your travels and field trips.

  2. I grew Lemon Boy for the first time (I'm from South FL but live in NY- zone 5B) and LOVE them. A new favorite for sure!


    1. Hi Preppy! I Know, once Lemon Boy has it's hooks in you it becomes the new tomato favorite for sure, and it's so easy to grow.

  3. Oh Dawn, I admire your tough nature to get out in this horrid heat!!! I have some plants in my yard that are live or die without Mommas attention for the whole summer kind of plants! Some are still with me!!! LOL. No plans for any vegetable gardening this year as I just do not have the time with my grandkids here daily. I want to spend some time doing my beloved embroidery, if I can. I know it seems like so fuddy duddy, but I like it. I like to carry some around with me! LOLOL. Such a nerd! Anyway, I shall look forward to seeing your upcoming garden this season, and if I should be brave and decide to plant up my 12 or so 5 gallon pots, I will surely share! Good luck and have tons of fun!!!!!
    xoxo- Julie

    1. Hi Julie. I don't think I could blame you for wanting to stay in the ac with your grandkids and your favorite hobby! Think of me from time to time while I'm spraying myself from head to toe with insect repellant, marching forth into the 90 degree heat to endure another weekend of battling the weeds, hoe in one hand shovel in the other. LOL!!!

  4. This is the second year in a row that my tomato seedlings have really struggled. I lost all by BHN 640s. . . .very frustrating. This morning I bought a few plants from our organic growers at the farmer's market. I'll have to add Lemon Boy to my list for next season. Every year I'm so close to throwing in the towel on tomato growing, but just can't bring myself to give up ~ especially after posts like this! :-)

    1. Hi Elizabeth, yes I agree it can be very frustrating to have a lousy growing season. And then we manage to get a few garden fresh tomatoes warmed by the sun and ready to eat and we're hooked again!


Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read my blog and leave a message. Happy Gardening!

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