Planning And Planting A Spring Garden In Florida

Springtime is the most popular time around the United States to grow a garden and it’s a busy time for Florida gardeners too. 

South and Central Floridians can begin starting transplants in January and February for the spring garden. North Florida gardeners should wait until February or March to begin starting transplants. The best vegetables to plant in a Florida garden in the springtime are Beans, Corn, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Seminole Squash, Tomatoes, and Watermelon. 

Use these dates as guidelines, each area is unique and the most important thing to know is that your goal is to avoid any temperatures that would cause damage to young and tender plants. These are temperatures below 33F. 

Read on to get more specific information about vegetable varieties and planting dates. 

What To Plant In Florida In Spring

Springtime in Florida is warm and it’s best to plant vegetables that enjoy the warm weather. 

BeansBush: Bush Blue Lake, Cherokee Wax, Contender, roma II
Pole: McCaslan, kentucky Wonder, Blue Lake
Lima: Dixie Butterpea, Early Thorogreen, Fordhook 242
Shell: Black Bean, Garbanzo, Navy, Pinto, Red Kidney
CantaloupeAmbrosia, Bush star, Honey Rock, Minnesota Midget
CornEarly Sunglow, Sweet Riser, Golden Bantam, How Sweet It Is, Silver Queen
CucumbersSlicers: Ashley, Marketmore 76, Poinsett, Sweet Success
Picklers: Boston, Eureka
EggplantBlack Beauty, Cloud Nine, Dusky Long, Ichiban
OkraAnnie Oakley II, Cajun Delight, Clemson Spineless, Emerald
PeasEnglish: Green Arrow, Oregon Sugarpod II, Sugar Snap, Wando
Southern: California Blackeye No 5, Hull, Pinkeye Purple, Texas Cream
PeppersSweet: Big Bertha, California Wonder, Sweet Banana
Hot: Ancho, Cayenne, Cheiro Roxa, Ghost Peper, Habanero, Jalapeno, Scorpion
PotatoesIrish: French Fingerlings, Gold Rush, Red Pontiac, Yukon Gold
Sweet: Boniato, Centennial, Beauregard, Vardaman
SquashSummer: Crookneck, Early White Scallop
Winter: Spaghetti, Early Butternut, Waltham
Pumpkin: Big Max, Calbaza, Jack Be Little, Jack O Lantern, Seminole Pumpkin
TomatoesDeterminate: Celebrity, Heatwave II, Tasti-Lee, Floragold
Indeterminate: Better Boy, Bonnies Best, Cherokee Purple, Delicious, Everglades (My Favorite), Green Zebra, Sun Gold, Sweet 100
WatermelonLarge: Charleston Grey 133, Crimson Sweet, Jubilee, Fl Giant
Small: Mickeylee, Sugar Baby

This is by no means a complete list of varieties that will grow in Florida. I’m positive that there are so many more. If you have grown a variety in Florida and you believe that it should be added to this list please email me. use the contact page on this site.

That will be a huge help to other Florida gardeners.

When To Plant Springtime Vegetables in Florida

“Springtime” will slightly change depending on which part of the state you live in. 

When I say springtime I really mean the time after the fear of temperatures below 33F have passed. This will be slightly different from place to place and from year to year. I will give you some dates below that will pair with specific vegetables and it’s your job to use your best judgement based on your location. 

I use the University of Florida and the plantmaps site to gather my planting date recommendations for North, Central, and South Florida. 

I hope this chart helps guide you to a successful spring garden in Florida.

BeansMar – AprMar – AprAug – Apr
CantaloupeFeb – AprJan – MarDec – Mar
CornFeb – AprJan – AprOct – Mar
CucumbersFeb – AprJan – MarSep – Feb
EggplantFeb – MarJan – FebAug – Feb
OkraMar – JuneFeb – AugJan – Mar
PeasJan – MarFeb – AugSep – Apr
PeppersFeb – MarJan – MarDec – Sep
PotatoesJan – AprFeb – JuneJan – June
SquashFeb – AprJan – AprAug – Mar
TomatoesFeb – AprJan – FebAug – Feb
WatermelonFeb – AprJan – MarDec – Mar

We still have chilly weather here in Florida around March but this doesn’t mean that you can’t start seedlings before that. You can start lots of warm-season vegetables in January and February as long as you provide protection from the random cold nights that will roll through. 

How To Care For Vegetables

The beginning months of spring(March and April)  are usually a bit on the drier side. AS we get into May we start to see more significant rainfall. Caring for your plants as they grow means paying attention to the rain fall. Vegetables like Tomatoes, corn and watermelon are all heavy drinkers. 

Bunch a drunks!

Just kidding, they love to stay hydrated. If there is no rain in your forecast you should water your plants daily.

On top of watering saily you should also be on a set fertilizer schedule. For most plants during the spring you can use a balanced fertilizer, something like this 2-5-3 Jobe’s organic fertilizer is perfect for lots of spring vegetables.

If you are using a granular fertilizer like the one mentioned above you should use it monthly. Put it on your calendar so that you know when to fertilize again. 

However, if you are using a fertilizer that you mix with water, I’ve found that using those bi-weekly has given me great results. Those fertilizers don’t seem to sit as long with the plants which require more frequent use. 

Common Springtime Pests in Florida

Aphids are one of the more common pests you will see in Florida. They are small and round, usually found on the undersides of leaves. They feed on the young tender growth and stems of your plants. 

Ahpids and Ants on a watermelon

They make a sweet honeydew substance that ants love. For that reason, you will normally find ants crawling on your plants if they are infested with Aphids. If you catch them early, you can just crush aphids with your fingers or use a strong spray of water to get them off of your plants. But if they are out of control a spray of Neem oil will take care of them. 

Tomato Hornworm

Another common pest is the tomato hornworm. You will find this alien looking caterpillar on your tomato plants eating all of it’s leaves. Hand picking these off is the most organic and natural way to control these guys. As with any other caterpillar you can control these chemically with a spray of B.t. 

Whiteflies on a pepper plant

White flies are another common pest you will come across in the Florida garden in the spring. THey look exactly like how they sound like they would. Like tiny white flies. Like aphids, they also appear on the underside of the leaves. Handle these guys with Neem oil as well. 

Other common pests you will see are:

  • Cutworms
  • Armyworms
  • Leaffooted insects

Starting a Garden In Spring In Florida

Spring is an exciting time to garden in Florida. We can plant many family favorite vegetables like Beans, Corn, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Seminole Squash, Tomatoes, and Watermelon. 

The best time to plant is anytime between January and March.

If you prefer to start your seeds indoors and transplant them outside you can get a jumpstart on the season. However, you can always wait until the fear of frost has passed to plant seeds directly into the garden.

Lookout for common pests such as aphids, hornworms, and whitflies. 

The key to having a successful garden in Florida is planting Florida friendly varieties and planting them at the right time of year.

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I've been gardening in Florida since 2014. I'm an FNGLA certified horticulturist and a Permaculture design apprentice. I just want to share my love and passion of growing plants with other in the state of Florida to help them grow beautiful gardens.

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