Spring officially begins two weeks from today, but Florida vegetable growers and gardeners are busy planting warm season crops now. The mild winter with no hard freezes and some rainfall has made conditions ideal for new growth. Citrus trees are blossoming, and deciduous trees are putting out new growth, forcing the old leaves off, so that we have our leaf fall season going on at the same time.
Plan to finish up planting of most warm season crops by the first day of spring. Set out transplants of tomato, pepper, and eggplant. Starter plants of cucumbers, melons and summer squash are sometimes available, or start them from seed. Beans are usually planted from seed. Choose bush type beans for a quick harvest, pole beans for a slightly delayed but longer harvest period. Some varieties of bush beans are ready in about 55 days — plant now for a harvest about May 1. Plant corn now for a Memorial Day harvest. Okra, southern peas and sweet potatoes may be planted throughout the summer, but the sooner you plant, the better your chance of missing insect and disease problems warmer weather brings.
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