Central Florida is comprised of USDA growing zone 9. Winters are mild In this growing zone, and some vegetables can be grown year-round. Central Florida has two rainy periods, in the early spring and summer, making the summers hot and humid. Vegetables usually are harvested before the summer heat or planted as temperatures cool. In extreme humid weather, spray your plants with a fungicide to avoid the growth of mildew.
Because they have a long taproot, carrots can be grown in Central Florida almost year-round, but for best results, plant from October to March. Planting a row of carrots every two weeks will provide you with a longer lasting harvest. For Central Florida, try Imperator Nantes or Danvers cultivars of carrot. Carrots take approximating 65 to 80 days after planting until they can be harvested. Amend Central Florida’s slightly sandy soil with organic matter such as compost and, for best results, grow your carrots in a raised bed.
Although they might require mulching to protect the roots against the region's summer temperatures, peppers thrive in Central Florida, especially if they are planted during the humid summer weather. Plant your peppers from January to March for early summer harvest or in August or September for early winter harvests. Peppers take 80 to 100 days to mature. Sweet bell peppers varieties to grow are California Wonder, Sweet Banana or Red Knight. For hotter peppers, try Early Jalapeno or Cherry Bomb
Although Cantaloupes, or musk melons, are not a big commercial crop in Florida, they can be grown in the home garden quite successfully, especially in Central Florida. These melons should be planted in February through April for harvest in the summer. Cantaloupes take 60 to 72 days to ripen after planting the seed. Athena and Ambrosia are good cultivars to choose for Central Florida. Cantaloupe thrive in well-drained, slightly acidic soil, soil commonly found in western Central Florida. Over-fertilizing cantaloupe will led to reduced yields.
Cucumbers are planted in February and March or in September for harvest in the winter. Cucumbers tolerate the high humidity found in Central Florida's summers. They take 50 to 65 days to mature. For eating fresh, plant Sweet Success or Straight Eight. For pickling, try Liberty Hybrid or Eureka. Cucumbers do need to be pollinated by bees, so planting flowers nearby will assure you a good harvest.
- University of Florida IFAS Extension: Florida Crop/Pest Management Profile: Cantaloupe
- University of Florida IFAS Extension: Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide
- University of Florida IFAS Extension: 2009 Florida Plant Disease Management Guide: Cucumbers
- University of Florida IFAS Extension: Insect Management for Carrots