If you are new to gardening in Florida, October is a lot like April in the North, minus the spring rains. Fortunately, we do start to get some cooler breezes and that makes working outside in the garden more pleasant.
Vegetable gardening should be going full steam ahead in October. Soil should be amended with compost or other organic matter. Remember that vegetables need six to eight hours of full sun to thrive. Because our fall can be somewhat dry, remember to provide adequate water as well.
It is time to start planting cool-season crops such as broccoli (shown), cauliflower, lettuce, carrots, cabbage and collards. Wait a bit later to plant spinach, which needs cool soil to germinate.
A great book for Florida gardeners is Vegetable Gardening in Florida by James M. Stephens. You can also access the Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide on the Internet at edis.ifas.ufl.edu/VH021.
If you are looking for more information on veggie gardening, the University of Florida/IFAS Solutions for Your Life website has lots of information and educational videos at: solutionsfor yourlife.ufl.edu/hot_topics/lawn_and_garden/veggie_gardening.html.
The fall and winter months are also good for growing herbs in our area. Many herbs that succumb to our hot steamy summers will thrive in the cooler winter months. If you don't have a lot of space, herbs grow well in containers. More information on growing herbs in Florida is available on the Internet: edis.ifas.ufl.edu/VH020.
Source: Theresa Badurek, urban horticulture extension agent, UF/IFAS Pinellas County Extension Service. Learn more at askextension.org or pinellascountyextension.org.