Now is the time to prepare for fall garden

It’s so hot outside that Floridians’ vegetable gardens are burned out. But garden expert Larry Figart says that it’s the perfect time to start getting ready for the fall growing season.

You wouldn’t think that, with temperatures in the mid 90s and regular afternoon thunderstorms, our thoughts should be turning to fall vegetable gardens. But now is the perfect time to plan (not plant) and prepare our gardens for the fall vegetable season.

If you are new to vegetable gardening in Northeast Florida, you may not realize that we have two vegetable gardening seasons. We have the spring, where temperatures start cooler and gradually get warmer, and we have the fall, where temperatures start warm and gradually get cooler. There are not a lot of vegetables growing right now. It is too hot. Folks that planted in the spring may be getting their final crop of vegetables such as lima beans, cucumbers, eggplant and peppers.

Some of the tasks that can be started this time of year include testing soil pH, soil solarization, soil preparation and creating a planting plan.

Soil pH testing is important because soil pH determines the availability of nutrients to plants. For instance, you could have plenty of nutrients in your soil but if the pH is too high, it becomes unavailable to plants and a nutrient deficiency will occur. Most vegetables grow best when the soil pH is between 5.8 and 6.3. A soil pH test will tell you if you are just right, if need to add lime to raise pH, or if you need to lower your pH by adding sulfur, organic matter or acidifying fertilizers. The University of Florida Soil Testing Laboratory can test for pH and soil fertility. The soil testing form can be found at edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/SS/SS18700.pdf.

Red more: https://www.jacksonville.com/lifestyle/20200718/garden-help-now-is-time-to-prepare-for-fall-garden

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