May marks the beginning of Central Florida’s hot weather. And because the next couple of 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 learn what to plant in May in Central Florida – Zone 9b.
Florida Vegetables You Can Grow In May
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)
Gardening Recommendations and Tips For May
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.
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 depend 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 are 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, and use the guide above to see what range your vegetables should be grown in. Don’t worry if you’re not at this step yet. The first couple of years of growing my garden I didn’t check my soil.
And if you’re looking for seeds I recommend Botanical Interests. The majority of the seeds I buy come from here and I absolutely love them.
What to Plant in May in Central Florida Vegetable Guide
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:
Because I have raised garden beds, I do my planting based on square feet. Square foot gardening is included in the chart. For example – if you’re growing cabbage you only want to plant one seed per square foot. For carrots, you can plant 16 per square foot.
Days to harvest depend 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 are also based on when your seed germinates, and not when you plant your seed.
I hope the May Vegetable Planting Guide for Central Florida helps you with your garden!
Interested in getting a head start for next month? Check out the June Planting Guide.