Spring is the time when most people feel the urge to get outside and plant something. In Florida, March usually brings warmer days and not much rainfall. Be sure to irrigate when new plants start to show signs of water stress.
Colorful cool-season annuals start to decline as the days heat up. Pull them out when they’re no longer attractive and replace them with long-lasting summer annuals like ageratum, amaranthus, balsam, celosia, coleus, cosmos, gaillardia, gazania, gomphrena, marigold, moss rose, pentas, phlox, rudbeckia, salvia, sunflower, torenia, vinca, impatiens or begonias.
Now is also a good time to plant most types of bulbs and rhizomes. Try eucharis, haemanthus, caladium, canna, alocasia, gladiolus, gloriosa, daylily, moraea, neomarica, tulbaghia, hymenocallis, zephyranthes and many types of ginger.
Prune spring-flowering trees and shrubs after the blooms have finished. Complete your pruning of other trees and shrubs before new growth begins. Tropical shrubs that were damaged by frost or freezes should be pruned as the new growth emerges, making it easy to identify which parts of the plant are still alive.
Harvest of most citrus varieties is winding down, but grapefruit is just reaching its peak flavor now and the Valencia orange harvest is just starting. Other trees fruiting heavily now are carambola, and glycosmis. If your area has avoided a hard freeze, you’re probably also picking banana, and papaya.
Early in the month you can still put in transplants of some of the cool-season vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and kale, particularly in the northern parts of Central Florida. It is too late to start them from seed. Now is also the time to plant most warm-season vegetables. Here’s what to plant in the garden this month:Arrowroot, beans (bush, pole, lima), beets, cantaloupe, carrots, cassava, chayote, collards, corn, cucumbers, eggplant (transplants), kohlrabi, lettuce, luffa, mustard, Okinawa spinach, okra, onions & shallots (sets), peas (English and Southern), peppers (transplants), sweet potatoes, pumpkin, radish, squash, sunchokes, tomatoes (transplants), turnip and watermelon.
Spring is a good time to start an herb garden or add new herb varieties to an existing collection. Some excellent places to buy locally-grown vegetable transplants and herbs are the Sanford Farm Swap Meet (held the second and fourth Saturdays of every month in building Y at Flea World), the Apopka Foliage & Fresh Market on the first and third Saturdays, and through Homegrown Co-op’s Online Farmers Market all week long. These locations feature local products supporting local farmers, and you’ll find many unusual or rare varieties not found in commercial nurseries. Now get out there and get planting!
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