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What’s Growing On: Cool season crops to plant right now

Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 6:37 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -Many people think it’s the best time to harvest crops in autumn, however in North Central Florida, there are several edible plants that grow best if they’re planted in the transition between summer and fall.

Leafy greens like collard greens, kale, broccoli and cauliflower, as well as root crops like carrots, beets, and turnips thrive when they’re planted after the summer heat dissipates.

University of Florida’s Field & Fork coordinator, Dina Liebowitz, said this time is exciting for anyone with a green thumb.

“It means you get to have everything at once. Harvesting while you’re planting your new babies in and looking forward to the different seasons and vegetables you have, it’s some of the highest diversity you’ll be eating during these transitional times,” Liebowitz explained.

Related Story: Farm Fact: Agritourism

The reason why these certain crops grow well during this time of year is partially because of the lower rainfall amounts following September. Excessive rainfall can breed disease in soggy soils.

“Right now we’re heading into that optimal growth temperature for the plants, as well as the rain and relative humidity has leveled off. So we can be more in control of the watering and only water when they need it,” Cynthia Nazario-Leary, a horticulture agent with UF IFAS, said, “usually with cauliflowers and broccoli, they need that cooler time to develop that flower head, you know, the part you see in the grocery store when you buy cauliflower or broccoli— that won’t develop if temperatures aren’t cool enough.”

Each crop has a different growing period, and it’s recommended to do extensive research before introducing new additions to your garden.

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