Cooler weather gives us time to plan for spring from inside our homes when we prefer not to be working in the weather outside. If we plan now to plant in the spring, we’re just that much further ahead. While many of us enjoy working outdoors in cooler weather, we may not enjoy working in our landscapes when it’s just plain cold.
That affords us with a great opportunity called ‘planning.’ The University of Florida (UF) has several publications to help you start your spring garden planning. My favorites include “The Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Guide to Plant Selection and Landscape Design,” the Central Florida Gardening Calendar, the “Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide” and “Organic Vegetable Gardening in Florida.” These educational resources are available online. Just go to the UF website, followed by the title of the publication.
“The Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Guide to Plant Selection and Landscape Design” provides photos of trees, shrubs, vines, groundcovers, grasses, perennials, annuals and turfgrass. Plant information covers growth rate, height and spread, native status, soil pH range, soil texture, drought tolerance, light range and optimum light, salt tolerance and the wildlife attracted.
The Central Florida Gardening Calendar provides month-by-month information on what to plant (annuals, bulbs, vegetables), what to do (prune, manage pests, irrigation, propagation) and things you can do every month (adjust irrigation, monitor for insects and disease, review the “Plant Selection Guide”).
If you are interested in growing your own vegetables, please read the University of Florida publication “Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide.” This is an excellent resource that covers site selection, drawing a garden plan, preparing the soil and adding organic matter. Your vegetable garden should be near a water source, receive a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight each day and be in an area that is well drained. Planting dates for each of the vegetables, spacing and days to harvest are included.
The “Organic Vegetable Gardening in Florida” publication provides information on what is ‘organic,’ organic products, seeds and transplants, organic matter, compost, animal manures, cover crops and green manure, compost tea, fertilizer recommendations, nutrients from natural and organic fertilizers, water management, mulch, pest management and much more. If you would like even more information, watch the UF gardening and vegetable gardening videos, which are available online.
Enjoy your time inside preparing for spring! For more information about the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program or assistance with gardening-related questions, contact the UF/IFAS Extension Hillsborough County at 813-744-5519, go to http://hillsborough.ifas.ufl.edu, visit its location at 5339 County Rd. 579 in Seffner or view our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/hcffl/. If you are not a Hillsborough County resident, please contact your local Extension office.
Contact Lynn Barber at email@example.com.