In South Florida, a great time to start a vegetable garden is when the crisp fall air starts rolling in. Vegetables that thrive during Florida fall and winter include broccoli, lettuce, carrots, brussels sprouts, and radishes. While the rest of America is bundling up significantly, our definition of "crisp" is a comfortable 70 degrees.
Broccoli is very easy to grow in Florida. While it takes 80-100 days to mature, you can purchase transplants from gardening centers like the ones on the bottom of this article instead of starting from a seed. To ensure healthy plants, broccoli needs plenty of sunlight and nutrients from a fertilizer with nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium.
The perfect time to grow lettuce is during Florida winter, and the most successful type that flourishes in our mild climate is leaf lettuce, although all other types can be grown down here as well. This is another vegetable you can either plant as a seed and harvest within a few months, or purchase transplants for a quicker harvest.
Carrots thrive during Florida winter, and since it’s the drier part of Florida’s year, it’s important to remember to provide a good amount of moisture as roots rapidly expand. Making sure the soil is loose and free of rocks and other roots is the most important part to ensure carrots have room to grow, and the varieties you should select to grow in Florida include ‘Imperator’, ‘Nantes’, ‘Danvers’, and ‘Chantenay’. Carrots need between 70 to 120 days after planting to be ready for harvesting; exact timing will depend on the variety.
Brussels sprouts grow well in Florida when planted in late fall, as they require cooler temperatures to develop firm, crunchy sprouts. Two varieties suggested for Florida gardeners are 'Jade Cross' and 'Long Island Improved'.
A great crop to grow with kids due to their tendency to germinate and reach harvestable size quickly are radishes. These are fun and simple to get started in the South Florida sunshine.
Go here to find a gardening center near you for picking up gardening tools, seeds, fertilizers, and of course- transplants for you eager harvesters.