It’s November 21 and you had a really busy summer… and fall hasn’t been much better… so you’re wondering to yourself, “Dang, did I miss the bus on my fall garden – is it too late to plant a garden???”
Fortunately, it’s not ALL THE WAY too late, provided you live in Florida.
Normally, I urge folks to direct seed their plots, rather than buying transplants. This late in the year, however, there’s no time for that. You need to get on down to a nursery or feed store, bust out your wallet and nab a few transplants. They’re still selling them locally here in North Florida – I know, because I almost missed the bus myself this year. Life has been hectic, I’ve been traveling and writing, I’ve taught some classes… and next thing I knew, my garden wasn’t ready. I hit the store, grabbed some cheap 9-packs, and voila – instant garden.
Forget about plants like tomatoes, bush beans and squash unless you live in a frost-free region of the state. Nothing like that will handle the cold. However, broccoli, cabbage, mustard, kale and cauliflower will. See what’s on sale and nab what you can.
You can also take this window to plant some garlic cloves. Just break a head of garlic apart and plant the pieces. Easy. Other seeds that will still work include peas, mustard and fava beans – though some of these guys may wait until spring to produce anything. That’s okay – just call it an early start. I broadcast a big bed of mustard a few weeks ago and it’s coming up in fluorescent green sprinkles:
On warm days, your cold-hardy crops will grow… and on cold days, they won’t. There’s no telling where the winter will take us – you may get an early harvest or something a little later on. If you plant nothing, however, you’ll get nothing.
So get out and get planting before it really is too late to plant a garden!
About a month ago I planted broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, radishes, collards, Ethiopian kale, russian kale, and some mustard greens in a heavily-mulched hugelkultur bed. It's been interesting to see the differing growth rates. The radishes are already full-size, the Ethiopian kale is almost full-grown, followed closely by the mustard greens. The collards are at about a quarter to a 3rd of their mature size. The Russian kale is still struggling along at baby size, and the broccoli, cauliflower and spinach are just infants with silver-dollar-sized leaves. Remember this if you are in a situation to need food fast: Radishes and leafy brassicas FTW.