It’s Fall in Miami! Sort of? It’s definitely time for a Fall Gardening Guide!
Your resident gardener wants to share some tips and ideas for planting in Miami in the Fall.
We in South Florida live in what is called planting Zone 10B. 10B is tough but beautiful. There are certain things we’d love to grow in the summer but can’t because it is just far too hot to do so. However, there is a great beauty to Zone 10B. When most of the country has finished their summer planting and are ready for their gardens to go dormant due to the incoming frost, that’s when we THRIVE! Have you noticed that the berry and tomato picking season is December through March? It’s truly our best growing season.
Fall Gardening Guide to the rescue!
Here in Miami and the surrounding areas, we can very easily grow some great crops for Thanksgiving and the holiday season. We are only a short while away from Thanksgiving so the time to plant some veggies is now. It’s always important to keep in mind harvesting times when planting. If you want veggies within a certain time period, last thing you want is for them not to be mature when you most need them!
Starting from seeds for fall gardening.
There is something rewarding about starting plants from seeds and watching them grow from the very beginning. It’s a very teachable moment for our little ones too as they can see the lifecycle of a plant and learn some wonderful responsibility!
Beans are great to start now in October via seed. The fun thing about beans is that they sprout so quickly. If you want you get your kiddos into gardening, this a great place to start for some nearly instant gratification. Beans are quick growers. Two types of beans are pole and bush beans. As the names suggest, pole beans grow upwards and require poles or trellises to hold their weight while bush beans are maybe a little less maintenance and just grow in compact bushes. Beans are quick growers and give off lots of beans to harvest, they require lots of sun 8-10 hours a day!
Pole beans generally take between 65-80 days to first harvest and bush beans a little less, around 60 days.
Nothing says fall like gourds. Don’t be fooled by the name “summer squash.” We can grow summer squash in the fall, another benefit to fall gardening in Miami! Summer squash varieties include yellow squash and zucchini. Squash can be trained to grow on trellises so that they can grow upwards, especially if you’re limited on space. They need pollinators so make sure you have some bees or butterflies in the surrounding areas, if you don’t, get the kids to help! You can grab a small q-tip or paint brush and start hand pollinating by carefully putting the q-tip or brush inside the yellow flowers and moving from one flower to the next.
Squash generally takes about 45-60 days to be ready for harvesting which means they’d be ready right around Thanksgiving and give you some more veggies for December.
Fall Gardening from Seedlings.
Intimidated by starting with seeds? Want things a little quicker? No problem! Go for some seedlings during your Fall gardening! You can pick up great seedlings at local farms. Little River Cooperative is local edible nursery, they open up their doors again now in October and have seedlings ready to transplant! You can also go to places like Lowe’s or Home Depot. At this point in our season, it’s easy to transplant certain seedlings like strawberries, peppers, tomatoes, and eggplants.
Tomatoes are one of the most popular crops, and something our Fall gardening can’t live without! We love growing cherry tomatoes and picking them right off the plant. If you’ve wanted to plant some tomatoes, now is your chance. I recommend tomatoes from seedlings because their harvest time is pretty long. Like I’ve mentioned before, tomatoes grow very well with basil and peppers can be grown together for companion planting but should be moved to a new bed the following year because of their effect on the soil. Make sure you plant your tomatoes somewhere where they get lots of sun during the day!
From seed, tomatoes can take 90-140 days to harvest time while seedlings take almost half the time, ranging from 50-90 days depending on the seedlings you buy.
There are so many yummy varieties of peppers, from sweet to hot, banana or bell. Peppers are so versatile and you can grow big ones or little ones! We have little Snackabelle peppers that are tiny for little hands and great for snack time. This is a great time for peppers too, they need full sun and to be well watered. When you see little flowers on your peppers, you could have some on the way! The flowers wilt and fall off, so don’t be scared, but from the center you’ll begin to see a small green pepper begin to form. Peppers like to grow quickly but ripen slowly. So they take a little patience once you see them on your plant but the reward is so great. Peppers grow very well next to squash as well as tomatoes but please, don’t plant them next to beans!
From seed, peppers can take 70-80 days to create fruit to harvest. Seedlings take about 50-60 days.
Strawberries can also be grown in the Fall based on our growing zone. Imagine going strawberry picking in your own home! In-ground gardens, raised beds, and even containers are fantastic growing areas for strawberries. Make sure your strawberries get 8-10 hours of sunlight a day. Try not to wet their leaves when you water them, they need around 1 to 1.5 inches of water weekly. If you don’t eat them immediately, try to harvest your ripe strawberries in the cool morning and refrigerate them right after.
Strawberries will appear 3-4 weeks after you see the flowers on the plant. Seeds take 90-120 days to harvest while established plants that you can buy at home stores or nurseries have little to no wait time!
Extra Fall Gardening Tips.
Other great crops to grow now in the Fall are broccoli, cabbage, leafy greens like lettuce, spinach, mustard greens, kale, as well as onions, and potatoes. There is so much to grow in our wonderful weather!
A very important reminder, not all soil is created equal! When you plant your seeds or seedlings, make sure you’re using gardening soil or vegetable soil. These are ready with nutrients for your fruits and veggies to grow healthy and fruitful. Remember to water your plants thoroughly, if it rains, your work is a little easier.
Now is our best gardening time! Don’t waste this amazing opportunity! What are you most looking forward to growing this Fall? If you start your Fall gardening, don’t forget to tag @MiamiMomCollective and @GardeningInJeans!