May marks the beginning of Central Florida’s hot weather. And because the next couple months won’t be pleasant, there’s a limited amount of vegetables you can start in May. If you started your garden prior to this month you should still be in good shape having a full garden and harvesting what you have. If you’re looking to start your first garden, or just looking for a planting guide for your current garden, then you’ve come to a good place. Keep on reading to find our May Vegetable Planting Guide for Central Florida – Zone 9b.
Below are the vegetables and varieties that do well in Central Florida and when to plant them. In May you can plant both warm and cool season plants here in Florida.
Warm Season: Okra, Southern Peas, Sweet Potatoes
Cool Season: Swiss Chard (Yup.. A cool season crop in May. This guy is pretty flexible)
If you’re concerned about insects this month and are looking for organic methods to keep them away, pick up a bottle of neem oil. This is a concentrated version, but it’s also available in a spray bottle. It helps with aphids, whiteflies, spider mites, and leaf rollers. It also helps control black spots and powdery mildew.
My Favorite to grow this month is sweet potatoes. If I could only have one starch, this would be it. Bake it, Fry it – I still love it. I typically start with an organic sweet potato from the grocery store.
When I plant from seeds I generally use Botanical Interests Seeds. They have such a wide selection of vegetables, flowers, and herbs. And they’re continually getting new seeds. They also have a good selection of organic, non-gmo seeds. And I find them reliable.
There are multiple varieties when it comes to vegetables that you can plant that are more tolerant of Florida’s heat and humidity. Picking the right varieties is important for your success. The varieties that work well in Florida are included in the chart below.
Below you’ll find the May Vegetable Planting Guide for Central Florida – Zone 9b
Planting dates here are based on the University of Florida IFAS Extension, and you can find more information on that here: http://edis.ifas.ufl.
And if you’re not sure what zone you’re in, you can check out the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. If you go to their website you can type in your zip code for confirmation of your location. The picture below is from their site.
While May is a great time to plant in Florida, it’s also a good time to get a Shade Cloth if you don’t have one already. Check out the post Made in the Shade with Garden Covers. I use these April-October. There are different varieties that you can choose from.
Days to harvest depends on the quality of your soil, so keep that in mind when waiting for your vegetables to ripen – they can take longer than the time stated above. Days to harvest is also based on when your seed germinates, and not when you plant your seed.
To ensure your plants are growing in the best environment, you can also get a pH Tester to check the soil. Don’t worry if you’re not at this step yet. My first couple of years growing vegetables I didn’t check my soil. Of course, if you’re interested in getting started, check out How to Test Your Soil pH Levels.
I hope the May Vegetable Planting Guide for Central Florida helps you with your garden!
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