Time to Get Growing

If you happen to be a transplant from the North, your mind probably isn’t turning to vegetable gardening at the moment. We lived most of our lives in an area where you carefully monitored the weather, longing for the frost-free date when you could safely plant your tomatoes. Then, in early September, you monitored the weather again, this time for the first killing frost that would officially finish the vegetable gardening season.

Well, that’s all different here in SW Florida!

I’m having a difficult time adjusting my head to this fact, in spite of living here for some 22 years or so. I did better this year and actually had the vegetable garden started in February. It was a huge success, for the most part. Then I did the unthinkable. I planted a second crop of my favorites. It was a total failure! The only plants that thrived were the weeds. I learned the hard way that our hot, humid, rainy summers are not what the vegetables want. If they sprout, they quickly succumb to mold, mildew and the wide variety of bugs that all adore the summers here. I even managed to screw up a crop of okra, which is supposed to do well in our summers!

And now it’s time to Get Growing again. Late August should have seen me planting tomato seeds, as well as most other plants we normally transplant into the garden. I should be starting to transplant them out NOW. Instead, my more or less Yankee brain is just now getting itself wrapped around the idea of planting the seeds.

Not to worry. It will take 4 to 6 weeks to get the seedlings big enough to transplant. Seeds germinate quickly in this weather, so I should be able to get caught up… unless we have more of the horrid freezing weather we had last year!

Today I will be planting two or three varieties of tomato seeds, peppers (both sweet and hot varieties), broccoli and other cole crops. If time and energy permits, I will be planting green beans, too.


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