A garden’s needs change drastically in Florida when moving from the cooler, dry season to the rainy, hot and humid season. It’s very different from the North, which has a distinct growing season and a ‘it’s crazy cold can’t grow anything’ season. To help navigate Florida’s seasons, I’m going to outline what is happening in my garden each month and what gardening chores I feel are important given the time of year. Remember I’m still learning, and my yard and garden will be unique given that so many of my plants are new plantings and going through their first season.
*NOTE: I live in central Florida on the coast, so certain tropical plants can survive at my house that may not 30 minutes inland. Be sure to understand your own growing zone and plant accordingly.
In July the monsoon season is in full swing. This is a blessing for many gardeners after the dry winter and spring months. It’s consistently HOT and very humid. I spend very little time in the garden and only in the mornings. I walk my gardens daily to check for weeds, pest problems and standing water.
It is peak mosquito season. Be sure to dump standing water after each rainfall. This helps prevent mosquito hatching. Mosquitoes will hatch in any stagnate water. You can also try planting a mosquito garden to help deter this pesky insect.
What’s growing in my vegetable garden:
Not much! My raised beds look pretty pathetic. It’s too hot for most veggies. I have a few pepper plants and a dill plant trying it’s hardest in this heat.
My butterfly gardens are doing wonderful. My lantana, zinnias, and milkweed have thrived in this humidity. The butterflies visit late each morning and lazily flutter to all the colorful flowers. My periwinkle has been flowering for several months and the heat hasn’t hinder the blooms. My bromeliads are flowering, which is new and exciting.
I recently purchased a few more orchids and tend to them weekly. I repotted a few and make sure to fertilize and water them weekly. The orchids love this humidity and flourish well outside in Florida.
I weeded out my snap dragons that couldn’t take the heat and replaced them with vinca or periwinkle, which are the same thing (something I just learned minutes ago!). This may be confusing to anyone from the north since vinca is also a shade-loving ground cover. I also added some Pentas lanceolata, commonly known as Egyptian Starcluster.
My fruit trees have tried to flower, but I’ve had some difficulty with my pomegranate in particular. I’m not too concerned because the tree is small and needs to concentrate on growing roots and branches. Every time a bloom pops out (which has happened five times), the bloom breaks off. My Jamaican cherry trees has a few blooms, but are also small trees. I’m not too optimistic on much of a yield. Otherwise, my fruit trees are growing and growing. I fertilize monthly to help promote growth.
My biggest concern has been scales and now I’ve noticed white flies. The scales I was able to remedy with rubbing alcohol and some patience; it’s tedious work. The white flies don’t seem to be causing any evident damage, but can weaken the plant and make it susceptible to disease. The white flies can be conquered naturally with neem oil.
*NOTE: I prefer natural remedies for my garden. If you are interested in other chemicals, please be cautious what you use and talk with a professional. Some chemicals may quickly kill a pest, but it may also kill beneficial insects or be poisonous to children and pets.
July is a time to find some shade, sip lemonade and enjoy the luscious green surrounding the gardens. When I’m not sitting in my garden, you can find me at the beach. Stay tuned to for my first drowning lesson… I mean, surfing lesson. Why not? I do live on the coast and life is too short not to do something totally crazy and unpredictable! Live fully and enjoy your season of life!
If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. ~Marcus Tullius Cicero