When Should I Start A Garden In Florida?

What is the best time to start a garden in Florida?

The best time to plant and start a vegetable garden in Florida is usually in September and also again in March. The exact timing will vary depending on where you are in the state and what you want to plant. In Florida, we have two main growing seasons, in the Fall and in the Spring.

If you want to plant things like Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale, and spinach the best time to plant in Florida is in the fall time. For things like Cantaloupe, Corn, Peppers, and Okra the ideal time is spring. There are a few vegetables that will grow outside of these growing windows. Continue reading for charts with planting times for specific vegetables and areas of the state.

What Area Of Florida Do You Live In?

Florida is a really long state. We actually have 7 different Usda agricultural zones in our state (8a – 11a). Northern Florida experiences regular freezes and south Florida is damn near a tropical paradise.

The part of the state that you live in will drastically change your planting times for certain vegetables. I like to keep things simple when it comes to breaking down parts of the state. I like to think in North, Central, and South instead of zone 8b.

Cities from Jacksonville down to Ocala fall into north Florida. While cities like Orlando and Tampa are classified as central Florida. South Florida is all of Florida below state road 70, this includes cities like Miami and West Palm beach.

When To Plant Vegetables In Florida

Use the chart below based on your location to determine your ideal planting times for lots of common vegetables in Florida.

VegetableNorth FloridaCentral FloridaSouth Florida
BeansMar-Apr & Aug-Sep Feb-Apr & Aug-Sep Sep – Apr
Beets Aug – FebSep – FebOct – Jan
Broccoli Aug – Feb Sep – Feb Oct – Jan
Aug – Feb Sep – Feb Oct – Jan
Cabbage Aug – Feb Sep – Feb Sep – Jan
Carrots Aug – MarAug – MarSep – Mar
Cauliflower Aug – FebSep – FebSep – Jan
Collards AnytimeAnytimeAnytime
Corn Feb – AprJan – AprOct – Mar
Cucumber Feb – Apr & Jul – AugJan – Mar & SepSep – Feb
Eggplant Feb – Mar & AugJan – Feb & Aug – SepAug – Feb
Kale Aug – FebSep – FebSep – Jan
Kohlrabi Sep – MarOct – MarOct – Feb
Lettuce Jen – Feb & Sep – OctSep – FebSep – Feb
MustardAug – FebSep – FebSep – Jan
OkraMar – JunFeb – AugJan – Mar & Aug – Oct
Onion Sep – MarAug – FebSep – Mar
Mar – JulyFeb – AugSep – Apr
Jan – MarNov – FebNov – Feb
Peppers Feb – Mar & July – AugJan – Mar & Aug – SepAug – Feb
Jan – FebNov – FebOct – Jan
Mar – JunFeb – JunDec – Sep
Radish Sep – MarSep e MarOct – Mar
Spinach Sep – MarSep – MarOct – Feb
SquashFeb – Apr & Aug – SepJan – Apr & Aug – SepAug – Mar
Swiss Chard Sep – MaySep – MaySep – Mar
Tomato Feb – Apr & Jul – AugJan – Feb & Aug – SepAug – Feb
Turnip Aug – FebSep – FebSep – Jan

The above dates are just guidelines. The planting windows will vary depending on the year. Some years are colder than others while other years are hotter than others. You will need to use your best judgment when it comes to planting your seeds.

The dates above have been chosen because they give the ideal stretches of weather for most vegetables. The best weather for vegetables will be frost and freeze few and free from our hellish summer heat.

Florida Friendly Vegetable Varieties

Look at the chart below for Florida’s recommended vegetable varieties. This is not an all-inclusive list. I’m sure there are some varieties of vegetables that grow well that are not on this list.

I’m always trying new varieties of vegetables and I encourage everybody to do the same. We will never know if we don’t try.

ArugulaAstro, Speedy
Beans, BushBush Blue Lake, Cherokee Wax, Contender, Roma II
Beans, PoleMcCaslan, Kentucky Wonder, Blue Lake
Beans, Lima Dixie Butterpea, Early Thorogreen, Fordhook 242
Bans, Shell Black Bean, Garbanzo, Navy, Pinto, Red Kidney
Beets Cylindra, Detroit Dark Red, Early Wonder, Tall Top
Broccoli Early Green, Packman, Waltham
Brussels Jade Cross, Long Island Improved
Cabbage Copenhagen Market, Savoy, Red Acre, Wakefield
Cantaloupe Ambrosia, Bush star, Honey Rock
Carrot Chantenay, Danvers, Impertor, Nantes
Cauliflower Brocoverde, Snowball
Celery Utah
Collard Georgia Southern, Morris Heading, Vates
Corn Early Sunglow, Sweet Riser, How Sweet It Is, Silver Queen
Cucumber,Slicers Ashley, Marketmore 76, Poinsett, Sweet Success
Cucumber, Pickle-rs Boston, Eureka
Eggplant Black Beauty, Cloud Nine, Dusky Long, Ichiban
Kale Lacinato, Red Russin, Winterbor
Kohlrabi Early White Vienna,  Purple Vienna
Lettuce, Butter Ermosa, Bibb, Tom Thumb, Buttercrunch
Lettuce, LooseleafBlack Seeded Simpson, Red Sails, Oak Leaf, Salad Bo-wl
Lettuce, Romaine Parris Island Cos, Outredgeous
Mustard Florida Broad Leaf, Giant Red, Southern Giant Curled
Okra Annie Oakley II, Cajun Delight, Clemson Spineless, Emerald
Onion Chippolini White, Matador Shallot, Granex, White Libson
Pea, EnglishGreen Arrow,  Oregon Sugarpod II, Sugar Snap, Wando
Pea, SouthernCalifornia Blackeye No 5, Hull, Pinkeye Purple, Texas Cream
Peppers, Sweet Big Bertha, California Wonder, Sweet Banana
Pepper, Hot Ancho, Cayenne, Ghost Peper, Habanero, Jalapeno
Potato French Fingerlings, Red Pontiac, Yukon Gold
Spinach Bloomsdale Longstanding
Squash, Summer Crookneck, Early White Scallop
Squash, Winter Spaghetti, Early Butternut, Waltham
Squash, Zucchini Black Beauty, Cocozelle, Spineless Beauty
Sweet potato Beauregard
Swiss Chard Bright Lights, Fordhook Giant, Red Ruby
Tomato, Determinat-e Celebrity, Tasti-Lee, Floragold
Tomato, Indetermin-ate Better Boy, Bonnies Best, Everglades, Sweet 100
Turnip Purple Top White Globe, Seven Top
Watermelon Charleston Grey 133, Crimson Sweet, Sugar Baby
Quick Tip: If you're in to growing tomatoes, I would recomend growing everglades tomatoes. If you have never grown the, before they are the easiest tomato that you will ever grow in Florida.

A Few Gardening Basics

There are a few vegetable gardening basics that you should know that will get you started on the right foot.

  • Vegetable gardens need at least 8 hours of sun. Be sure to pick a spot that gets at least this. I’ve found that plants like early morning sun better than late day sun.
  • Florida has a different planting pattern compared to most of the United States. Be sure to follow the timing guideline posted above.
  • Florida has soil that is mostly sandy. This is not ideal for most vegetables. Be sure to add compost and a thick layer of mulch at the very least if you are planting directly into the ground.
  • Choose the appropriate fertilizer. If growing leafy greens, choose something that is nitrogen focused. If growing something that produces a fruit fertilize with a more well-balanced blend.
  • Water regularly and check for pests and diseases.
  • The best approach to pest control is planting a diverse garden. However, sometimes chemical control is necessary. Neem oil is a great organic option.
  • Harvest when things are ripe. Don’t wait too long. Bugs, birds, and critters are looking to eat your plants just as much as you are.

Starting A Vegetable Garden In Florida

The first step to planting a vegetable garden is knowing what part of the state you live in. This will alter the timing. After you know which part of the state you fall into, use the planting guideline above to determine the best time to plant a garden in Florida.

Choose a variety of vegetables off of the list above. You can get lot of high-quality seeds from places like UFseeds and Johnny Seeds. Both are trusted seed companies in my book.

For A More In-Depth Guide On Florida Vegetable Gardening Check This Out



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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