The publications in this collection do
not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
research may be found on the
Electronic Data Information Source
site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.
Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
J. M. Stephens, Extension Vegetable Specialist
R. A. Dunn, Extension Nematologist
G. Kidder, Extension Soils Specialist
D. Short, Extension Entomologist
--.. G. W. Simone, Extension Plant Pathologist
Library mn ,_
MAR 2 9 19n
~"Forida Cooperative Extension Service
Ir,titute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
University of Florida, Gainesville
John T. Woeste, Dean for Extension
Among other benefits, successful vegetable gar-
dens offer their owners fresh air, sunshine, exercise,
enjoyment, mental therapy, nutritious fresh vegeta-
bles, and economic savings. Gardens may be grown
year-round in Florida, but spring is the preferred
season. Statewide there are over 1 million vegetable
gardens, averaging 300 sq. ft. and a retail value of
$300. While this guide provides recommendations
primarily for regular gardens, the information may be
useful in other common situations such as container,
organic, community, and market gardens.
Steps in Gardening
Site Locate the garden near the house for con-
venience on a site close to a source of water with at
least 6 hours of direct sunlight. With proper care,
vegetables may also be included in the landscape
among ornamental plants. Where possible, practice
site rotation for weed and other pest control. Coastal
sites are also suitable.
Plan Before planting, make a paper plan, includ-
ing vegetables you intend to plant, where, and when.
Use the centerfold "Planting Guide" to develop your
plan. Make a list of supplies, and then proceed early
to order or purchase.
Soil Preparation While most gardeners plant on
whatever soil type is available in the garden plot, you
may wish to improve your soil by bringing in topsoil
or a soil mix, or by applying liberal amounts of
organic materials. Spade or plow the plot at least 3
weeks before planting. Then rework the soil into a
fine firm seedbed at planting time. If soil fumigation
is needed, treat 1 to 4 weeks before planting (see
Organic Matter Most Florida soils benefit from
applications of various forms of organic such as
animal manure, rotted leaves, compost, and cover
crops. Thoroughly mix liberal amounts of organic in
the soil well in advance of planting, preferably at
least a month before seeding. Spread 25 to 100
pounds of compost or animal manure per 100 sq. ft.
if you do not expect to use inorganic fertilizer. Well-
composted organic may be applied at planting time.
Plow down cover crops at maximum growth.
Compost As a home garden composer you can
reduce the amount of yard waste going to land-fills,
while manufacturing your own compost. Composting
is easy, and yields a manure-like organic fertilizer/soil
conditioner highly beneficial on Florida's infertile
native soils. A small compost pile measuring 3'x3'x3'
(1 cu. yd), called a "compost unit," is easily made.
Construct a bin with sides made from treated
lumber, concrete blocks, wire or other durable mater-
Make successive 12-inch thick layers of plant
waste such as leaves, lawn clippings, shredded
branches, and wood chips.
Onto each layer, distribute one cup each of
dolomite and 6-6-6 fertilizer.
Moisten each layer, then keep pile moist.
After 3-4 weeks and every week thereafter,
thoroughly mix the compost pile.
Compost should be ready for use in 2 to 12
months, or when plant parts are decomposed.
Build larger piles by putting together several
units into a single bin.
Adjusting Soil pH The best pH range for gardens
on sandy soil is between pH 5.8 and 6.3. When the
soil pH is below 5.5, application of 2 to 3 pounds of
finely ground dolomitic limestone per 100 sq. ft. will
usually raise the pH sufficiently. Lime should be
applied only when its need has been established by
a reliable soil test such as the IFAS Home Lawn and
Garden Soil Test. Application of lime when it is not
needed may cause plant nutritional problems.
Lime needs are best met 2 to 3 months before the
garden is to be planted. However, lime may be
applied as late as 1 or 2 weeks before planting.
Make sure the lime is thoroughly mixed into the soil
to a depth of 6 to 8 inches, and then water to
promote the chemical reaction. Do not lime alkaline
soils. Instead, use garden fertilizer containing the
essential micronutrients lacking under alkaline
conditions. Applications of sulfur (1 lb/100 sq ft) to
slightly over-limed soils may be helpful, but are of
little benefit on soils with a natural pH above 7.0.
Fertilizing Unless very large quantities of organic
fertilizer materials are applied, commercial fertilizer
is usually needed for Florida gardens. Gardeners find
it convenient to use commonly available fertilizer
grades such as 6-8-8 or 15-15-15. Be sure to include
micronutrients if soil pH is above 6.3. The quantities
shown below are usually sufficient.
Broadcast the indicated amount of fertilizer over
the entire garden plot 1 to 2 weeks before planting.
Band the other portion at planting time in 1 or 2
bands each 2 to 3 inches to the side of and 1 to 2
inches below the seed level or plant row.
In addition, during the growing season, it may be
necessary to sidedress 2 or 3 times with appropriate
fertilizer at half the banded rate shown in the table.
On mineral soils, a grade such as 15-0-15 may also
be used for side-dressing at 1/2 to 1 oz. per 10 ft. of
row. Sidedress just beyond the outside leaves.
If a different fertilization recommendation accom-
panies your soil test, use those specific recommenda-
tions rather than the general ones given here.
Amount to apply
Fertilizer 100 sq ft 10 ft of row
Soil Grade (broadcast lb.) (banded oz.)
Sand, marl 6-8-8 2-5 5
rock, or 15-15-15 1-2 2
Organic 0-12-20 1-2 2
Irrigation and Drainage Provide sufficient drain-
age of excessive rainfall from your plot, while arrang-
ing for irrigation during dry periods. Irrigation
frequency depends upon your soil type; sandy soils
need 2 or 3 waterings a week. Conserve water by
using mulch, organic matter, and techniques such as
drip irrigation. Make a slight depression at the base
of plants to hold water until absorbed by the soil.
Weed Control The primary purpose of cultivation
is to control weeds. Weeds are easier to control
when small. In gardens, practical weed control is
best accomplished by hand-pulling, hoeing, mechani-
cal cultivation, or mulching. Chemical herbicides are
not suggested; however, multipurpose soil fumigants
Most Florida soils contain nematodes, microscopic
worms that can seriously reduce growth and yield of
most vegetables by feeding in or on their roots.
Nematode damage is less likely in soils with high
levels of organic matter and where crops are "rotated"
so that the same members of the same family are not
planted repeatedly in the same soil. Excessive
nematode populations may be reduced temporarily by
soil fumigation (see below) or by "soil solarization."
Soil fumigation is treatment of soil with a liquid
(metam-sodium or metam: Vapam, VPM and Fume-
V) that vaporizes at normal soil temperatures so that
the chemical fumes spread through soil pores. Soil
should be prepared 2 to 3 weeks before treatment; a
waiting period of 2 to 4 weeks is needed afterward to
allow the chemical time to work and dissipate.
Metam may be applied in concentrated form by
pouring it into furrows and covering quickly, or in
water via a hose-end sprayer or sprinkling can. The
usual rate of application is 1 pint of metam/50 sq. ft.
of soil area, but always follow the specific instructions
on the label of the product to be used. Covering the
treated area with a plastic sheet can double the
effectiveness of metam fumigation. Note: Approxi-
mately 16 gal. water/50 sq. ft. should be sprinkled on
the treated area before covering.
Exclusion Purchase only disease-free plants.
Look carefully for common symptoms of diseases.
Avoid gross movement of infested soil.
Eradication Certain soilborne diseases (e.g. damp-
off, root and stem rots, and wilts) are controlled by
soil fumigation prior to planting (see Nematodes).
Where fumigation is not used, crop rotation can slow
or prevent the incidence of certain soilborne diseases.
Avoid growing vegetables of the same family repeat-
edly in one area. Watch for early disease symptoms.
Remove first diseased leaves to slow spread.
Resistance Choose adapted varieties with resis-
tance or tolerance to the diseases common in your
Protection Plant fungicide-treated seed. Dust
untreated seed with a captain or thiram fungicide.
Many common diseases can be controlled with
either chlorathalonil, maneb, or mancozeb fungicide.
Powdery mildews can be controlled with triadimefon,
sulfur or benomyl, and rusts with sulfur or ziram.
Control bacterial spots with basic copper sulfate plus
maneb or mancozeb.
Sprays are generally more effective than dusts.
Begin control efforts early. Follow product labels for
vegetable clearances, rates, and interval of application.
Scout the garden twice weekly for insect damage.
Spray only affected plants. Follow label directions.
The following materials are effective against the
insects as indicated.
Soil-inhabiting insects, including mole crickets,
wireworms, cutworms, ants, etc., can be controlled
with a broadcast pre-plant application of diazinon.
Baits containing Dylox or diazinon are exce
cutworms and mole crickets. Use metald'
Col. potato beetle
Fruit, horn, pinworms X
Melon, pickle worms
Mexican bean beetle
Squash vineborer X
B.t.* Carbaryl Malathion
*Bacillus thuringiensis (Biotrol, Dipel, or Thuricide).
**Soap Safers is one of several commercial products. Can also.,
use 4 tbs. liquid dish detergent/gal. water.
Consider all pesticides as potential poisons. They
should be applied strictly according to manufacturers'
precautions and recommendations. Always wash
vegetables from garden thoroughly before using. Use
pesticides only as necessary to control insects and
diseases and stop applications during the harvesting
season. Apply in late afternoon or early evening to
avoid killing bees and reducing pollination. Store
pesticides in their original labeled containers. Keep
them out of the reach of children and other irrespon-
sible persons. See also Circular 375, Organic Vege-
The listing of specific trade names here does not:
constitute endorsement of these products in prefer.
ence to others containing the same active chemical
This publication was produced at a cost of $1,756.50, or 10.9 cents per copy, to provide
information about growing vegetables in Florida. 2-16M-90
COOPERATIVE EXTENSION SERVICE, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA, INSTITUTE OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES, John T
Woeste, director, in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture, publishes this information to further the purpose of the
May 8 and June 30, 1914 Acts of Congress; and is authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to
individuals and institutions that function without regard to race, color, sex age, handicap or national origin. Single copies of extension
publications (excluding 4-H and youth publications) are available free to Florida residents from county extension offices. Information on bulk
rates or copies for out-of-state purchasers is available from C.M. Hinton, Publications Distribution Center, IFAS Building 664, University of
Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611. Before publicizing this publication, editors should contact this address to determine availability.
ting Guide for Vegetable Gardens by J. M. Stephens
Seed/plants Seed Planting dates in Florida (outdoor) Trans- Pounds Days
per 100' Spacing n depth plant- yield to
Crop Variety1 of row Rows PI inches North Central South ability3 per 100' harvest Plant family /Crop comments
Warm Season Vegetables
Beans, snap Bush Blue Lake, Con- 1 Ib. 18-30 1-2 Mar-Apr Feb-Apr Sept-Apr III 45 50-60 Legumlnosae Fertilize at 1/2 rate used for
tender, Roma, Harvester, Aug-Sept Sept other vegetables. Seed Inoculation not essential
Provider, Cherokee Wax most soils.
Beans, pole Dade, McCaslan, Kentucky 1/2 lb. 40-48 1-2 Mar-Apr Feb-Apr Aug-Apr III 80 55-70 Leguminosae See Beans, snap. Support vines.
Wonder 191, Blue Lake Aug-Sept Aug-Sept
Beans, Lima Fordhook 242, Henderson, 2 lb. 24-36 1-2 Mar-Aug Feb-Apr Aug-Apr III 50 65-75 Leguminosae See Beans, snap. Provide trellis
Jackson Wonder, Dixie Sept support for pole varieties. Control stinkbugs
Butterpea, Florida Butter which Injure seeds in pods.
(Pole), Sieva (Pole)
Cantaloupes Smith's Perfect, Ambrosia, 1/2 oz 60-72 2 1-2 Mar-Apr Feb-Apr Aug-Sept III 150 75-90 Cucurbitaeceae Bees needed for pollination.
Edisto 47, Planters Feb-Mar (65-75)
Jumbo, Summet, Super Market
Corn, Sweet Silver Queen, Gold Cup, 2 oz 24-36 1 1-2 Mar-Apr Feb-Mar Aug-Mar 111 115 60-95 Gramineae Separate super-sweets from stan-
Guardian, Bonanza, Florida Aug Aug-Sept dard varieties by time and distance. Sucker
Staysweet, How Sweet It Is removal not beneficial.
Cucumbers 1/2 oz 36-60 1 1-2 Feb-Apr Feb-Mar Sept-Mar III 100 50-65 Cucurbitaceae Bees required for pollination.
Slicers Poinsett, Ashley, Sprint, Aug-Sept Sept (40-50) Many new hybrids are gynoeclous (female flow-
Sweet Success, Pot Luck ering). Monoecious varieties have M/F flowers.
Picklers Galaxy, SMR 18, Explorer
Eggplant Florida Market, Black 50 pits 36-42 24 1/2 Feb-July Jan-Mar Dec-Feb I 200 90-110 Solanaceae Stake your eggplants. Expect to
Beauty, Dusky, Long Tom, 1 pkt Aug-Sept Aug-Oct (75-90) harvest well into summer.
Okra Clemson Spineless, Perkins. 1 oz 24-40 6- 1-2 Mar-July Mar-Aug Feb-May III 70 50-75 Malvaceae Produces well in warm seasons. Okra
Dwarf Green, Emerald, Blondy -Aug-Sept is highly susceptible to root-knot nematodes.
Peas, 1/2 oz 30-36 2 1-2 Mar-Aug Mar-Sept Aug-Apr III 80 60-90 Leguminoseae See Beans, Snap. The cowpea
Southern Blackeye, Mississippi curculio is common pest. Tiny white grub infests
Silver, Texas Cream 40, seeds in pods.
Snapea, Zipper Cream,
Peppers, 100 pits 20-36 12 1/2 Feb-Apr Jan-Mar Aug-Mar I 50 80-100 Solanaceae Mulching especially benglicial.
Sweet Early Calwonder, Yolo 1 pkt July-Aug Aug-Sept (60-80) Continue care of peppers well into summer.
Wonder, Big Bertha, Mosaic virus a common disease pest. Most small-
Sweet Banana, Cubanelle fruited varieties are attractive, but hot.
Hot Hungarian Wax, Jalapeno
Potatoes, 100 pits 48-54 12 Mar-June Feb-June Feb-June I 300 (120-140) Convolvulaceae Sweet potato weevils are a
Sweet Porto Rico, Georgia Red, serious problem. Start with certified-free trans-
Jewel, Centennial, Coastal plants. Use vine cuttings to prolong season.
Pumpkin Big Max, Funny Face, Con- 1 oz 60-84 36 1-2 Mar-Apr Feb-Mar Jan-Feb III 300 90-120 Cucurbitaceae Bees required for pollination.
necticut Field, Spirit, Aug Aug Aug-Sept (80-110) Foliage diseases and fruit-rot are common.
Summer Early Prolific Straightneck, 1-1/2 oz 36-48 2 1-2 Mar-Apr Feb-Mar Jan-Mar Ill 150 40-55 Cucurbitaceae Summer types usually grow on
Dixie, Summer Crookneck, Aug-Sept Aug-Sept Sept-Oct (35-40) a bush while winter squash have vining habit.
Cocozelle, Gold Bar, Both male and female flowers on same plant.
Zucchini, Peter Pan, Sundrops, Common fruit rot/drop caused by fungus and
Scallopini, Sunburst incomplete pollination. Crossing occurs but results
Winter Sweet Mama, Table Queen, 1 oz 60-90 3 1-2 Mar Feb-Mar Jan-Feb III 300 80-110 not seen unless seeds are saved.
Butternut, Spaghetti (70-90)
Stake Floradel, Solar Set, Mana- 70 pits 36-48 1 1/2 Feb-Apr Jan-Mar Aug-Mar I 200 90-110 Solanaceae Staking, mulching beneficial. Flow-
lucie, Better Boy, Chelsea 1 pkt Aug Sept (75-90) ers self-pollinated. May drop If temperatures too
Ground Walter, Sun Coast, Flor- 35 pits 40-60 3 1/2 200 high or low, or if nitrogen fertilization ex-
america, Flora-Dade, Duke 1 pkt. cessive. Florida varieties have best disease
Container Florida Basket, Florida resistance. Some serious problems are blossom-
Petite, Florida Lanal, end rot, wilts, whitefly, and leafminers.
Patio, Cherry, Sweet 100
Large Charleston Gray, Jubilee, 1/8 oz 84-108 4 1-2 Mar-Apr Jan-Mar Jan-Mar III 400 85-95 Cucurbitaceae Due to space requirement, not
Cnmson Sweet, Dixielee July-Aug Aug Aug-Sept (80-90) suited to most gardens. Suggest small Ice-box
Small Sugar Baby, Minilee, 48-60 1 types. Plant fusarium wilt resistant varieties.
Mickylee Bees required for pollination.
Seedless Fummy 48-60 1
Cool Season Vegetables
Beets Early Wonder, Detroit 1 oz 14-24 1/2-1 Sept-Mar Oct-Mar Oct-Feb I 75 50-65 Chenopodiaceae Beets require ample moisture
Dark Red, Cylindra -at seeding or poor emergence results.
Broccoli Early Green Sprouting, 100 pits 30-36 1/2-1 Aug-Feb Aug-Jan Sept-Jan I 50 75-90 Cruciferae Harvest small multiple side-shoots
Waltham 29, Atlantic, (1/8 oz) (55-70) that develop after main central head Is cut.
Green Comet, Green Duke
Cabbage Gourmet, Marion Market, 100 pits 24-36 1/2-1 Sept-Feb Sept-Jan Sept-Jan I 125 90-110 Cruciferae Buy clean plants to avoid cabbage
King Cole, Market Prize, 1/8 ozs (70-90) black-rot, a common bacterial disease that
Red Acre, Chieftan Savoy, causes yellow patches on leaf margins. Keep an
Rio Verde, Bravo eye out for loopers.
Carrots Imperator, Chantenay, 1/8 oz 16-24 1/2 Sept-Mar Oct-Mar Oct-Feb II 100 65-80 Umbelliferae Grow carrots on a raised bed for
Nantes, Gold Pak, Waltham best results.
Hicolor, Orlando Gold
Cauliflower Snowball Strains, Snowdrift, 55 pits 24-30 1 1/2-1 Jan-Feb Oct-Jan Oct-Jan I 80 75-90 Cruciierae Tie leaves around developing flower-
Impenal 10-6, Snow Crown, (1/8 oz) Aug-Oct (55-70) head at 2-3 inch diameter stage to prevent dis-
White Rock coloration.
Celery Utah Strains, Florida 150 pits 24-36 1/4- Jan-Mar Aug-Feb Oct-Jan It 150 115-125 Umbelliferae Celery requires very high soil
Strains, Summer Pascal (1/8 oz) 1/2 (80-105) moisture during seeding/seedling stage.
Chinese Michihili, Wong Bok, Bok 125 pits 24-36 1/2-1 Oct-Jan Oct-Jan Nov-Jan I 100 70-90 Cruciferae Bok Choy is open-leaf type, while
Cabbage Choy, Napa (1/8 oz) (60-70) Michihili and Napa form round heads.
Collards Georgia, Vales, Blue Max, 100 pits 24-30 1/2-1 Feb-Mar Aug-Apr Aug-Feb I 150 70-80 Cruciferae Tolerates more heat than most
Hicrop Hybrid (1/8 oz) Aug-Nov (40-60) others crucifers. Harvest lower leaves.
Endive/ Florida Deep Heart, Full 100 pits 18-24 1/2 Feb-Mar Jan-Feb Sept-Jan I 75 80-95 Compositae Excellent ingredient in tossed
Escarole Heart, Ruffec Sept Sept salads.
Kohlrabi Early White Vienna, 1/8 oz 24-30 1/2-1 Mar-Apr Feb-Mar Nov-Feb I 100 70-80 Cruciferae Both red and green varieties are
Grand Duke Oct-Nov Oct-Nov (50-55) easily grown.
Lettuce 100 pits 12-24 1/2 Feb-Mar Sept-Mar Sept-Jan I 75 50-90 Compositae Grow crisphead type In coolest
Crisp Minetto, Great Lakes, Sept (40-70) part of season for firmer heads. Sow seeds very
Fulton, Floricrisp shallow, as they need light for germination.
Butterhead Bibb, White Boston Intercrop lettuce with long-season vegetables.
Leaf Prize Head, Ruby, Salad Bowl
Romaine Parris Island Cos,
Mustard Southern Giant Curled, 1/4 oz 14-24 1/2-1 Jan-Mar Sept-Mar Sept-Mar II 100 40-60 Cruciferae Consider planting In a wide-row
Florida Broad Leaf Sept-May system.
Bulbing Excel, Texas Grano, 300 pits 12-24 1/2-1 Sept-Dec Sept-Dec Sept-Nov I 100 120-160 Amaryllidaceae Pant short-day bulbing varie-
Granex, White Granex, or sets, 1 (110-120) ties. Vidalia onions a result of "Granex" vari-
Tropicana Red oz seed eties. For bunching onions, Insert sets upright
Bunching White Portugal, Evergreen, 800 pits 12-24 1 2-3 Aug-Mar Aug-Mar Sept-Mar I 100 50-75 for straight stems. For multipliers, divide and
Beltsville Bunching, or sets, (30-40) reset.
Perfecto Blanco, Shallots 1-1/2 oz
(Multipliers) seed 18-24 1/2-3/4
Parsley Moss Curled, Perfection 1/4 oz 12-20 1/4 Feb-Mar Dec-Jan Sept-Jan II 40 70-90 Umbelliferae Root parsley popular, too.
Peas, Wando, Green Arrow, 1 Ib 24-36 1-2 Jan-Mar Sept-Mar Sept-Feb III 40 50-70 Leguminoseae Edible podded type represented
English Laxton's Progress, Sugar Snap by "Sugar Snap" variety.
Potatoes Sebago, Red Pontiac, 15 Ibs 36-42 3-4 Jan-Mar Jan-Feb Sept-Jan II 150 85-110 Solanaceae Plant 2-ounce seed pieces with
Atlantic, Red LaSoda, eyes. Do not use table-stock for seed.
Radish Cherry Belle, Comet, Early 1 oz 12-18 3/4 Sept-Mar Sept-Mar Oct-Mar III 40 20-30 Cruciferae The winter type (Dalkon) grows
Scarlet Globe, White well In Florida, too.
Icicle, Sparkler, Red
Spinach Virginia Savoy, Dixie 1 oz 14-18 3/4 Oct-Nov Oct-Nov Oct-Jan II 40 45-60 Chenopodiaceae Grow during coolest months.
Market, Hybrid 7, Blooms-
Strawberry Florida 90, Tioga, Dover, 100 pits 36-40 1 Sept-Oct Sept-Oct Oct-Nov I 50 (90-110) Rosaceae Plant short-day varieties. Grow as
Florida Belle, Douglas, Tufts an annual crop started in the fall.
Turnips Japanese Foliage 1/4 oz 12-20 1/2-1 Jan-Apr Jan-Mar Oct-Feb III 150 40-60 Cruciferae Grow for roots and tops. Broad-
(Shogoin), Purple Top Aug-Oct Sept-Nov cast seed In wide-row system or single file.
White Globe, Just Rite
Other varieties may produce well also. Suggestions are based on avail performance, and pest resistance. Days from seeding to harvest, values in parenthesis are days from transplanting to first harvest.
2North: north of State Road 40; Central: between State Roads 40 and 7 th: south of State Road 70. 5To practice crop rotation, group family members; avoid planting family members following each other.
'Transplantibility categories: I, easily survives transplanting; II, survives wit ; III, use seeds or containerized transplants only.