Month-by-Month in North Florida: What to Plant in September

Beautiful calla lilies are wonderful container plants for spring blooms.

September is the main planting month for fall/winter crops in North Florida, so get out your shovels and get to work! All the cole crops can be planted this month, and you still have time to plant bush/pole beans and winter/summer squash although this is the last month to do so. This is also your first month to plant lettuces.

Mid-September is the time to start planting strawberries, in fact, the UF Vegetable Gardening Guide says to plant them between September 15 and October 15.

Vegetables to Plant in September

*last month to plant these crops
** plant in mid-September

Arugula Beans: bush
& pole*
Beets Broccoli Brussels
Cabbage Carrots Cauliflower Celery Chinese
Collards Endive/
KaleKohlrabi Lettuce
Mustard Onions,
Radish Spinach
Strawberry** Swiss

Ornamentals to Plant in September

Most of your summer ornamentals that survived the summer will resume blooming when the weather cools in September, and you'll start to see a better selection of plants in garden centers. If you need to refresh or replace some of your summer annuals, try these.

AgeratumCelosiaZinniaWax Begonia

Bulbs to Plant in September

This is the time to plant your elephant ears. Alocasia, Colocasia and Xanthasoma can be successfully planted this month, along with a few other spring-blooming bulbs. For a change in taste, plant a few taro, malanga or eddoe bulbs. You can buy the bulbs right from your local grocery, if available, or from an ethnic grocery. Since they are in the colocasia family, they have beautiful elephant-ear type leaaves that are very ornamental. The young leaves of Xanthasoma are also edible, but no part of the Alocasia is edible, so identify the plants carefully before trying them, and remember that the roots must be cooked before eating because of the oxalic acid crystals they contain.

Elephant's EarCalla LilyNarcissusZephyr Lily

Mexican Tarragon puts on quite a show in the fall garden

Herbs to Plant in September

There is still time to plant a few of your favorite warm-weather herbs, such as


September brings cooler weather and more pleasurable temperatures to work in the garden. If you have any questions about gardening here in Gainesville or the surrounding area, post them in the comments.

Happy Gardening!

Garden Diary: August 26, 2017

The Only Triple Datura Bloom So Far in the Butterfly Garden

So, here I am again. I know I've been neglectful of the blog, but summer is such a hard time for me. But  now is fall planting time, so I want to catch you up on what's been happening in the garden.

Peppers - Finally!

As you may remember, I planted pepper seeds last spring, hardly any of which sprouted. I vowed to try again in the fall, which I have, the difference being, I got most of these seeds from fresh fruits, and they have all sprouted within days. I now have Cubanelle, the NOID red pepper that did so well last year, and tabasco peppers all planted from fresh ripe fruits. I did plant the rest of the Grand Belle Mix seeds, and have four seedlings coming up now. I plant to eventually plant these in my community garden spot, which I am told I will get by the end of September. They should be of a nice size by then, and grown into 3-inch pots.

"Little Ruby" Alternanthera is choking out other plants

 A Fresh Start

South Facing Outside Garden
I've made a decision to rip out the south-facing outside garden this winter. Last year, during the summer drought, I was begging it to grow, and this year with all the rain, some plants have gotten completely out of control. The Little Ruby alternanthera has come up everywhere from last year's seeds, and is choking out some desirable plants. It's pretty, no doubt, but there is way too much of it in the wrong place. I need to take a lot of that out. I've had to dig up some plants and put them into containers to save them from being totally killed by it, and others, like my triple yellow datura, just refuse to grow. Plus, none of the zinnia or cosmos seeds I scattered came up, and I'm thinking it just overgrew them and choked them out. I have only two small zinnias that have survived from the dozens of seeds I planted.

The sweet potatoes in that garden have to go too. I planted them hoping for a crop, but they are really not harvestable due to the roots of other plants. I'll have to find a way to get them out. I'll leave the ornamental sweet potato and hope it can now have a chance to grow.

The larger plants in that bed tend to overshade the other plants there, so I'll be taking a lot of those out as well. The large red cannas and a couple of the pigeon peas will be gone. I'm going to leave only the yellow poinciana, which is finally growing, and the confederate rose, which is up past the roof now.  I may move the confederate rose to where it gets more sun, because I don't know if it's going to bloom this year or not, since it gets so much shade from that oak tree.

My Favorite Coleus

 Changes Planned for the Courtyard as Well

I'm also thinking of ripping out most of the inside courtyard too, and putting some of those plants up against the fence, like the bananas. I want to create some artificial shade in there on the south side with latticing and vines so I will have somewhere to put my tropicals. I'm definitely removing the sweet potato vines from the courtyard, as they are getting way out of control also.

It was all just an experiment, and I want to just start over and try different things now. I can hardly wait until the leaves start falling. That's my sign to start ripping things out and letting the garden go dormant for the winter.

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Graden Diary: August 3, 2017

The Little Ruby Alternanthera is Taking Over the Outside Garden
The heat, the heat, the heat --- the rain, the rain, the rain -- that is about all I have to say about this summer so far. Last year's drought had me out watering every day, so I was happy for the rain, but be careful what you wish for!

A Garden Out of Control!

There are plants I'm beginning to regret planting now, because this summer's overabundance of rain has them growing out of control. Plants I relied on for groundcover last year during the dry weather, such as sweet potatoes, wandering jew, and Little Ruby alternanthera, have now gone wild. I spent part of yesterday, out in the drizzle tearing out huge patches of sweet potato vines and the native creeping spiderwort I had thought would be lovely as a ground cover.  The purple wandering jew I dumped out under the hibiscus bushes is threatening to choke out the white wandering jew and the peacock gingers, so I have to get that under control.

The Little Ruby alternanthera is NOT creeping along the ground, but growing so tall I'm going to be forced to yank a lot of that out also, since it's covering up and taking away light and nutrients from other plants.

Rain, Death, and Destruction

In the meantime, some plants are simply rotting from the rain, such as my Ichiban eggplant, which I cut back due to fungus caused by the distinct lack of airflow in the courtyard. Now it's stayed so wet that it's starting to get root rot, and I haven't had time to save seeds from it yet. The bell peppers, which like it a bit drier, are also struggling and have had to be cut back drastically to try to save them. The chaya cutting I planted in the new garden by the fence rotted very quickly, which surprised me since it had several leaves and was growing nicely. I have plenty of other chaya I can take cuttings from, though, so not a problem. The Taro I planted in the courtyard are evidently in a space that is too wet, and refuse to grow, while the ones I planted in the butterfly garden are thriving.

Plants That Love the Rain

Luckily, some of the plants are loving the rain and heat, and are thriving. The perennial hibiscus are doing well, especially the H. sabdariffa, which did nothing last year. I have four plants now growing with great abandon, so I'm looking forward to a nice crop of sepals to dry for tea. The cranberry hibiscus are also doing fairly well, but aren't large enough to harvest leaves from. I've managed to get several cuttings from the three plants that survived. I have a couple of the H. radiatus plants that are growing, but not thriving.

The daturas are liking the rain, which is odd, since they usually like it dry. The triple yellow daturas are growing and one is setting buds, and I have one double purple which is dong well in a container, although the ones out in the gardens seem to be languishing. The poor little single LeFleur lilac was drowned after I put it into a larger pot, but luckily, I have more seeds.

And of course, the bananas are flourishing with all this moisture.

So that's it for this update. Due to the outrageous heat, I've decided to put off all but the most necessary maintenance until fall.

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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.