Picking the best vegetables for your summer garden can be a tricky affair, especially in Florida! Our hot, humid climate and sandy soils aren’t ideal growing conditions for everyone, so it’s a good idea to take note of what crops are best suited for the Sunshine State. Here are some of our favorite Florida-friendly summer vegetables you can keep growing all season!
Summer Vegetables for Fort Lauderdale Gardens
With the rising temperatures and very little to do, summer might be when you decide to take a little break from your garden. However, there are so many crops you can keep growing during the sweltering Florida summers, including these heat-loving vegetables that not even August can scare off!
These delicious root vegetables love the Floridian summer heat, and although they grow faster in the hottest months, they can be cultivated year-round! You can either start sweet potatoes from slips or sprout your own by placing a ripe sweet potato on its side in a bowl and immersing it halfway in water. Once new stems begin to sprout, twist them off and plant them in a large garden bed. Sweet potatoes will take over any space you put them in, so it’s best to give them plenty of room from the start.
Malabar spinach—and other tropical spinach varieties—are other fantastic heat-loving summer vegetable options that will keep your salad bowls tasting great all season and beyond! Malabar spinach is a vegetable that originated in India but is now often cultivated in many other tropical regions as an alternative to less heat-tolerant greens, making them perfect additions to your Fort Lauderdale vegetable patch!
Because eggplant needs a long and warm growing season, they are the perfect summer vegetables for tropical and subtropical environments. This delicious member of the nightshade family grows the fastest when exposed to temperatures hovering between 70ºF and 86ºF.
A popular vegetable in southern cuisine, okra grows best from March to November in Florida and does well in our long, warm summers. It also comes in a wide range of colors, making it a vibrant garden addition! Okra can grow quite large and is an incredibly fast-growing and high-yield crop, so make sure you leave it plenty of room. We also recommend adding good quality mulch around the base of your okra plants to help them retain moisture during those particularly hot summer days.
One of the most popular vegetables to grow in Florida’s hot summer, peppers are a sweet and spicy delight for any Fort Lauderdale garden! You can start peppers any time between February and September in Florida, but maturation time will vary depending on what type of peppers you’re growing; sweet peppers take about 2-3 months as a general guideline, whereas hotter pepper varieties can take as long as four months.
What a sweet way to enjoy fresh vegetables all summer! While many varieties of tomatoes aren’t happy in Florida’s hot and humid summers, cherry tomatoes absolutely adore them and thrive throughout the season. Heat-tolerant varieties like the Sweet 100 are great choices for Fort Lauderdale veggie gardens, but they’ll need lots of water to stay happy.
If you’re looking to up the vegetable variety in your garden this summer, try adding some lesser-known unique options like cassava to the menu! This shrubby perennial can reach heights of up to eight feet and is a very nutritious plant that’s highly valued for its health benefits. It can be harmful if it’s not cooked correctly, however, so make sure you closely follow the proper preparation guidelines before adding it to your next meal.
If you’re ready to start growing your own heat-loving summer vegetables in your garden this year, we’d love to help! Come see us today for supplies, high-quality soil and mulch, and quality advice to keep your backyard paradise productive all year round.