Garden Diary - August 27, 2016

I've been very discouraged by trying to grow vegetables inside this courtyard. While most of what I planted outside is doing well, the things I've planted inside have largely struggled, especially tomatoes and peppers. I just pulled up the Black Cherry tomato and sterilized the soil, because despite it being planted in a pot with potting soil, it had nematodes.

I'm taking down the "potting table," and since I need to get the pots up off the ground to avoid nematodes, I'm going to fold it up and lay it down to put pots on. I'm also going to punch more holes in the pots for better drainage, and add more perlite to the soil. Then I'll start digging and amending the soil on the east side of the garden in preparation for eventual planting. I may try a few greens there this fall. Not sure yet. I have to see what I find when I dig it up.

I've already started seeds for Cherokee Purple, Supersweet 100 and Everglades tomatoes, but not sure what I'm going to do with them. Hopefully, more holes in the pots and better drainage will allow them to grow better. I may plant a few outside the courtyard to see what happens. Depends on how the seeds do. My two Cherokee Purple clones died, and I didn't save seeds, so I only had 7 seeds left to plant. Hopefully, they will sprout, but they're last year's seeds, so who knows? If they don't, I'll plant something else, like Beefsteak.

I'm going to try to grow some collards and lettuce too. I wish I had the money to put up my gutter garden, but that will have to wait awhile. The East wall is perfect for that.

On a more encouraging note, the Seminole Pumpkin vines are taking off now and growing like mad. I'll have to twist them around and about to get them to fit into the space I have, but it will be worth it, I''m sure. I have one growing up into the hibiscus bushes, which will likely drop down into the outside garden looking for sun, so we'll see what happens. I'm excited about those, and hope to get a few fruts. The sweet potato slips I stuck here and there in the courtyard are taking off too, and I hope they will eventually take over as a groundcover in here.

The banana tree is still growing like mad, as is the pigeon pea, which is 10 feet tall now. Looking forward to a great harvest from that this fall/winter. Another of the pigeon pea seedlings is about 4 feet tall, so I can count on that for a harvest too.

This place is a challenge, and no doubt it will take me a few years to figure out what will grow successfully where, but I think in the end, it will be a productive garden -- for flowers if nothing else.

Month-by-Month in North Florida: What to Plant in August (UPDATED for 2017)

The main garden season has finally arrived in Florida, and here in the northern part of the state, we are already planting our winter crops. Since we have a shorter growing season than Central or South Florida, we plant a lot of our cole crops and leafy greens in August. Yes, I know, it seems it would be too hot, but somehow they survive until it starts cooling a bit in September.

The heat has been unbearable lately, but at least there is rain this year. I'm waiting to hear from the UF community garden about the availability of my garden plot there, so I will be starting my seeds in 3-inch pots so they will have room to grow until then. It will probably be September before I can get in, so they'll be pretty well established by then.

Vegetables to Plant in August

* last month to plant this vegetable

Beans: bush
& pole
Lima Beans* Beets Broccoli Brussels
Cabbage Carrots Cauliflower Celery Chinese
Collards Cucumbers* Eggplant*Endive/
Mustard Onions,
Peppers* Summer
Shallots Tomatoes*Turnips

If you want to grow lettuces or tender greens, you can grow mico or mini greens, such as those pictured above. Simply sprinkle your seeds in a tray and let them grow to the size you want, then cut or pull them up.

Ornamentals to Plant in August

With the hottest days of summer ahead of us, only a few ornamentals will take the heat.


Bulbs to Plant in August

Aztec LilyButterfly LilyWalking IrisSpider Lily

Herbs to Plant in August

Bay LaurelGingerMexican TarragonRosemary

August is a hot and miserable month, but as you can see, it's still a good time to get a jump on the fall garden. If you have any questions about growing food here in Gainesville or the surrounding area, post them in the comments.