Summer Vegetable Gardening in Central Florida
It never works out well!
I’m amazed how many people ask our office or on social media why their vegetable plants look so bad here during the summer. “My tomatoes have black leaves, what is this insect, what is wrong with my kale and what should I spray on this to save it” are among the most common questions I see this time of year. The answer is simple- there are only a few crops that can be successfully grown in Central Florida between mid-June and mid-August.
You notice I say successfully. Fighting insects, diseases and harvesting low quality produce should not be considered a success- especially since all those crops can be grown and harvested here if done at the right time of year. This is not New York or Minnesota. You should plan on having all your cool season crops harvested by the end of March and warm season spring crops by the middle of June. The University of Florida has a vegetable gardening guide that lists ideal planting times by region in Florida:
When the summer rains and humidity start, and the insect populations build, no amount of insecticides, shade cloth or fertilizer will overcome Florida’s summer. Much better to wait until fall, start fresh plants and have a successful harvest.