Monthly Garden Calendar for Florida

Organic Gardening Month-to-Month Almanac

By Andres Mejides



Anyone who was not born in south Florida, or moved here at a young age, probably remembers their first June here vividly. The humidity reading is often the same or even higher than the temperatures. And do we cool off at night? Doesn't seem like it. We go to bed hot, wake up hot, and in between it gets hotter.

So how do we garden here in summer? Here are a few hints: Plan to do your heavy, full sun work in the early morning and late afternoon. Take frequent breaks and drink lots of WATER, not soda or other sweetened beverages, especially not alcoholic drinks. Guys, it's also been shown that wearing a loose cotton t-shirt will keep you cooler than no shirt at all. Save the middle period of the day for things that are not strenuous or that you can do in the shade: repotting, sowing seeds in flats, planning your fall garden, napping, etc.

Plant Trees and Bushes. After you've selected the exact plant you want, dig the hole before you buy it. The spot you've chosen may be solid coral rock. Much easier to buy a 1 gallon pot for that than to chose a 5 gallon (or larger) pot at the nursery and then have to get some dynamite to enlarge the hole.

Care for a Spot of Tea? Check the weather report: If we're going to have a dry night, give all your plants a shot of micronutrients. Homemade compost tea is my favorite.

Grass-be-gone. Keep the grass away from your trees and bushes. This time of year it's growing quickly and you don't want it competing with your foundation plantings.

Seed Starting. You can still start seeds of warm-weather annuals, but start them in shade or at least p.m. shade.

Pest Problems. Harmful insect populations are at their peak, so scout often and thoroughly.

Prepare for Hurricanes. Traditionally, this is the start of the hurricane season. The grocery stores and newspapers will all be giving out their tracking charts, supply list suggestions, etc. We gardeners should be thinking about PRUNING off bad limbs, pruning for shape, etc. This will give us time to chip and compost the prunings or otherwise properly disposing of them before a "big blow" comes along.