The growing season seems to end as the Florida rain and heat rolls in with June. Some gardeners are taking the summer off, but when you choose the right plant for the right place, you can grow vegetables all year in Florida – even in June.
Sweet potato, okra, southern peas and ornamental peppers are a few vegetables you can grow now. I am growing jing okra, I recently planted pigeon pea and I have two native bird pepper plants waiting to be transplanted. If you miss growing greens, try tropical varieties like Brazilian spinach or Malabar spinach. I am growing both.
If you got a late start this year, remember that your patio can be a haven for young perennials, like peppers. Shelter young plants from the blazing heat and Florida monsoons. Pinch off their flowers to encourage branching and new growth. Transplant them when the weather is more temperate. You’ll have stronger, more productive pepper plants.
If your Spring garden was a bust, don’t give up. Your success relies on giving your plants what they need. While you seek refuge from the Florida heat and rain this summer, research plant requirements and site conditions. Use the Florida vegetable Gardening Guide https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/vh021 and the Central Florida Gardening Calendar https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep450 for planning. The more you know, the more you will be prepared for establishing a successful fall garden.
June can be the right time for the right plant, but it’s also a good month for planning. It’s a time for gardeners to be inspired — not defeated. I am not taking a break from gardening this summer. I have a salsa garden to plan and seedlings waiting to be fed. To the gardeners who say it’s too hot to garden in June, are you really taking a break or just getting started?
For horticultural assistance, call the extension office at 813-744-5519. We hope to “see” you via Zoom at our upcoming workshops: composting, microirrigation and rainwater harvesting. See the calendar of events at http://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/hillsborough/upcoming-events/.
Jacqlyn Rivas is the Water Conservation Program Coordinator as part of the Florida-Friendly Landscaping at the University of Florida/IFAS Extension Hillsborough County.