This is the time of year to get back out into the garden!
Mrs. Survival Gardener and I tore out our snake bean bed on Sunday afternoon (it isn’t work for us… it’s a Sabbath break from real life!), along with some sweet potatoes, and got to work on our fall gardening.
Winter is a wonderful time to plant greens. Here are my favorites for the cool months ahead:
For winter root crops, I love to grow beets; however, they consistently do poorly for me. With that in mind, I plant them again and again, hoping for better results… but I don’t count on them. Garlic has done marginally for me as well. I need to try some new cultivars.
Here are the crops I know I can count on:
That’s about it. For delectable winter goodies for the table, here are the vegetables we like to plant:
Cabbage (red and green)
If we have beds that are just sitting around waiting for something better – or if they’ve done poorly and need a good kick in the seat of their sandy pants, we plant these guys:
Mustard (for kicking out nematodes)
Buckwheat (which expires with the frost but likes the cool before then)
You can turn most of those under to add fertility or just cut them down for the compost pile. In the case of the small nitrogen-fixers like lentils, chick peas and peas, I’ve also cut them back and planted other crops right in the middle.
This is also the season to start planting sugarcane for next year’s crop.
Finally, the fall is a good time to plant fruit trees and shrubs that are cold-tolerant. Persimmons, mulberries, peaches, pears, goumi berries, blueberries, blackberries, etc.: they love getting in the ground in fall then bursting into new growth in the spring.
So… what are you waiting for? Get out there and get planting your Florida fall garden!
It looks like I am on the right track this year! I am going to be planting beets also … have you mixed Borax in the dirt for them? I don't recall where I read it, but beets like/need boron. I really really want to make my own pickled beets this year.
Borax is a good idea – I should try that. I know it helps with broccoli. Overdo it, though, and you'll torch a bed for a while.
I hadn't heard about boron for broccoli … I should try that. I'll probably start very lightly, like one teaspoon in my two-gallon watering can. I actually have two or three broccoli plants that survived the summer.
I'm really looking forward to getting out and planting my fall veggies. I just need a break in the rain!
It's the mooooooost wonderful tiiiiiime of the year! (At least the rain brings edible mushrooms… I'm going bolete and chanterelle hunting this week.)
I live in zone 8B in south Alabama. I would add to your greens list one thing–Swiss chard. It does really well for me during this season of the year. I love it, and if I plant it in the right place (ie: semi shady) it will keep going strong well into the warmer weather.
I am enjoying your blog!
What type of soil do you have? I like the concept of chard but have had trouble with it growing as well as my other greens.
I may give mustard a try this year. Beets were a flop for me last year, but here I go again planting them. If nothing else, the row is ready and I can plant more turnips if the beets fail to grow. Loved the kale last year!
Mustard is really easy and the greens are marvelous steamed or boiled.
Mustard is an excellent cooked green – you'll like it.
I have decent luck with beets here (south of Ocala). I either plant them in really deep containers or in hugelkultur beds with lots and lots of compost. My only problem is too many pests eating up the greens. But I still get decent beet bulbs out of the deal.
Now if I could only get my broccoli to look anything like David's I'd be happy.
Mustard greens would be a good chop and drop plant around the peach trees to combat nematodes then.
Very cool post! I have a thorough list now! Thanks!
Sure thing, Natalie.
I am in Lecanto. I have good luck with winter onions and potatoes. Even though a hard freeze will knock the potatoes down they still produce and regrow stalks when it's warm again.