In The Garden: What To Plant In April In South Florida
It is April in the South Florida garden, and the winter vegetables are loosing their shine. It is time to pull out the last of the carrots, and as the broccoli spears get longer and begin flowering it is time to harvest the leaves for the cook pot. The dill is flowering, the cilantro too, and the onions are putting on some serious size. My last crop of lettuce is nearly picking size, and the older crops are all bolting. The peas and tomatoes are ripening fast now, and the eggplant and the peppers are flowering. If you can get some mature plants it may not be too late for some more tomatoes, and it is for sure not too late to put in some Matt’s Wild Cherry Tomatoes. Don’t cut your collards down, they will keep on giving leaves right up until the next planting season.
My mango tree is mad with flowers. Mangos flowering now will begin to have ripe fruit in July. Farmer Jim Gibbons says that in the islands when the mangos flowered this much it meant a rough hurricane season was ahead. I hope the mangos are wrong.
My pineapples are all pregnant with golf ball sized pineapples, the passion vine and the papaya are flowering, and I see loquats ripening in my tree and in trees all over the neighborhood. This is also the opportune time to go into the woods for Green-brier shoots.
This is the right time to be planting your hot weather vegetables. Some of those that will do well in the next few months are yard long pole beans, black eye peas, basil, okra, red amaranth (callaloo), malabar spinach, biter melon, (if you know someone who will eat it), seminole pumpkin (it will take up a lot of space), and sweet potatoes. My chard is still doing real well, and I believe it is not too late to start another crop. If you don’t have pigeon peas this is a great time to find some seeds, or a transplant and get one started. It should get big enough to make peas in time for next winter.
If you can find some decent transplants, peppers and eggplant will probably fruit for you before it gets too hot, and if they don’t and you can keep them through the summer (I have done it) they will be the first to bear in the fall.
We may be near the end of our winter vegetables, but this is not by far the end of eating from the garden in South Florida.
Take a breath, and plant those seeds. Here we go again.