Fall Gardening in Central Florida

October is a transition month for weather and for gardening. While everyone up north is harvesting and gearing up for the cold and snow, we Floridians are planning our gardens. Well at least I am. I have found that vegetable gardening here in Central Florida is challenging to say the least.

We had gardens most of our married lives in Michigan. We grew so much food gardening that I canned and froze the excess. This has never happened here in Florida. The soil is sandy. It takes quite a bit of work to bring the soil up to par. Once we get the soil looking good we battle heat, bugs, fungi, and snails.  Then comes the freezes. Right now, we are battling way to much rain and snails.

I prefer to use raised beds to garden and Chris prefers adding top soil and cow manure. We work together to find a balance. He plans the garden in the ground and we work it together. I use planters for lettuce, basil, and hopefully some strawberries or whatever I choose in my planters.

We started some tomato plants, some basil plants and a planter of salad greens. Chris has planted some cantaloupe, broccoli, tomatoes, and  zucchini squash. I’ve been warned not to plant certain things early because the heat will kill them, but we have had frost kill them all before. I’m talking even covered with cloth, frost killed all of my plants.

We are working on improving the soil and weed control now. I found an amazing bug killer mixture that works. I even saw bugs fly off of the plants when I sprayed them with this mixture. Pepper plants that had no leaves left on them are now getting leaves. We do have a fungus on the cantaloupe plants. Neem oil will be purchased as everything I am reading says it works to kill all fungi. It is supposed to kill insects too.

It has been a week since I started this post. Now the cantaloupe is pretty much gone and snails are the ban of my existence. Most home remedies for getting rid of them will not work as they will draw fire ants. This weekend I will begin removing the snails by hand. We have some Diatomaceous earth and I have begun saving my coffee grounds to get rid of the nasty creatures. It has been raining consistently since we planted the garden. If the rain ever ends I plan on setting some beer baits out to get rid of them.

Every year we plant or garden and every year I am so embarrassed and disappointed in it. Hopefully this year I will have some awesome pictures of a garden I can be proud of.


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