GAINESVILLE — With COVID-19 lingering, it might be a good time to use your green thumb to grow some vegetables in your garden. While you’re at it, you can get help from the UF/IFAS Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide — now also in Spanish — and as a downloadable web app.
Because we’re nearing the holidays, let’s look at some vegetables you can grow in November and December throughout Florida: beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, collards, kale, spinach and others.
“It’s a great time to be growing veggies in Florida,” said Sydney Park Brown, coauthor of the Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide. A just-released Spanish version is also available.
The Vegetable Gardening Guide is a collaborative effort of faculty from three UF/IFAS departments: horticultural sciences, environmental horticulture and entomology and nematology. Danielle Treadwell, associate professor of horticultural sciences, and Francisco Rivera, an agent for UF/IFAS Extension Hillsborough County, spearheaded the new Spanish translation.
The Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide was created in the 1970s by Jim Stephens, a UF/IFAS professor emeritus of horticultural sciences. It has proven to be the most popular UF/IFAS Extension document year after year. Park Brown led an effort in 1999 to substantially revise the original guide, and it’s undergone several revisions since then.
But the app really refreshes the approach to residential vegetable-gardening efforts.
“The Florida Fresh web app offers a modern-day way to access the information in the vegetable gardening guide,” said Park Brown, a retired UF/IFAS Extension educator. “Gardeners simply enter their zip code, and the app generates a list of the vegetables that can be planted at that time of year and in that part of the state — whether that’s North, Central or South Florida.”
The free app also offers detailed information on each vegetable, links to a host of helpful publications in the UF/IFAS Electronic Data Information Source (EDIS) and refers gardeners to UF/IFAS Extension experts in their county, and lots more, Park Brown said.
“It also lists the Florida-grown veggies and fruits that are in markets at that time of year,” Park Brown said. “This part of the app was a collaboration with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ ‘Fresh from Florida’ campaign.”