Even though I know a lot about “how to garden”, it will be awhile before I am an expert on gardening in this new, sub-tropical, Gulf Coast yard. If I were still in North Georgia, I would be getting ready to plant the first of my fall crops.
The best timing for planting fall crops depends on two factors:
- estimated date of the first frost
- estimated time it takes for a crop to reach harvest-size
For that previous garden, I knew that the first frost, on average, occurred around the first of November. Many of my favorite fall crops needed at least 70 days to reach full size, and the cool weather of fall usually slowed them down enough that the “70 days” listed on the back of a seed packet could translate to “80-90-or more days” in my garden. As a result, planting started NOW.
Here on the Gulf Coast, I have an extra month before it is time to plant fall crops. This pushes most of my fall-garden planting to mid-September. Luckily, a I wrote a book that I can use as a guide in sorting out the exact planting schedule for this new gardening situation.
In my garden now
Meanwhile, I am still learning about what grows in the hotter and muggier (than North Georgia) weather that this new garden is in. Local gardens have already been emptied of most summer crops. One nearby vegetable garden has okra still in it, and another has eggplants and peppers. That is all.
My garden has all of those, with okra and eggplants as the strongest producers. Most of my pepper plants had a late start, and they are just beginning to step up their production of peppers.
From experience in Georgia, I know that Southern peas and peanuts can also do well in hot, muggy conditions, so those are in this garden. I’ve also recently planted a new patch of ‘Provider’ green beans, to harvest in (hopefully) early October. It will be interesting to see how that goes.
The sweet potatoes, another crop that produces reliably through a hot summer, planted right at the first of April, are muscling out of the ground. Those will be ready to dig up in early September, leaving that bed open for the first of the fall planting.
Today, I pulled out the rest of the tomato plants. They are making flowers, but not setting fruit. About a week and a half ago, I started seeds for a couple of tomato plants, a paste type called ‘Wuhib’, so we can have tomatoes again in November. Wish me luck with those?
Here is a visual “report” on the current garden:
We have been visited by some beautiful insects, in addition to the (sometimes also beautiful) insect pests. Caterpillars, stink bugs, pickleworms, and thrips are on the pests list.
Butterflies, enormous moths, bees, and iridescent flies are on the list of beautiful insects that make me stop and spend extra time smiling in the garden.
I hope that your gardens are all growing and productive, and that you are keeping safe and well.