May 2022 Vegetable Garden Plants Started From Seeds

May in my Florida vegetable and flower gardens. See what is growing well and what is not. Also advice on beginning plants from seeds.

Because there are no farm stands to buy Spring seedlings, I started my vegetables from seeds this year.

This page is an update on how my vegetables, and some flowers are growing. The hydrangea that I planted in the yard a few years ago is still doing well – surprisingly. See photos down the page.

Zucchini, Beans, Tomato, and Eggplant

Zucchini seeds were planted directly into a grow box. One plant is hanging on, the other two died. It is not growing well.

The beans are newly planted and doing very well. More about the beans further down the page.

The Cherry Tomato plants are thriving, and the eggplant (not from seeds) is giving me little eggplants.

Most plants have been in the ground, or transplanted to pots, for a few weeks now. We have not had much rain, so I water every day.

The Cherry Tomato Plants

All of the cherry tomato plants were begun in eggshell pots. Depending on where they went when transplanted, it has really made a big difference in their growth.

the First Transplanting of the tomatoes

The little seedlings that went straight into the garden grow box are still quite small. In fact, one of them died.

The cherry tomato plants that were transplanted into small, individual pots began to thrive. I think I would plant seeds directly into these pots next time.

From the small pots they went into large patio pots where they will stay. Already they have flowers forming.

potting tomato plants in bigger pots
Transplanting into big pots in April

Bigger plants today

My suggestion

Planting the seeds in small pots (eggshells in my case) got the plants off to an early start in March, however… I would skip that next time and put the seeds straight into small 4-6” pots instead. Caring for the little eggshells was time consuming as they needed watering often.

But, it has made all the difference in the way I transplanted them. The plants in the garden box are not growing fast at all. The plants I transplanted twice – into good garden potting soil – are nearly ready to give me tomatoes.!

Jalepeño Pepper Plants

The pepper plants are doing nicely. It seems to be one thing that grows well in Florida, mainly because peppers like it hot. In New Hampshire it took way too long for the plants to grow to a size to begin producing – and by then the frosts came.

These jalepeño peppers are in small clay pots for now.

Jalepeno pepper plants

The Dirt Makes All The Difference

We set up new garden boxes in the yard this year. We mistakenly bought many bags of dirt at the local Home Depot that was not good soil. It was supposed to be added to already established beds. We dumped it into the grow boxes and raised beds. Nothing that has been planted in that soil has done well.

Raised bed made of cedar wood
First plantings in April

All we can do is amend the soil with better dirt, so that is what I am doing. But it is too late for the seeds and seedlings struggling in those boxes.

The Black Gold brand is what I had good luck with – this is an Amazon affiliate link. But the Black Gold is expensive if you need to fill a large box or raised bed. I plan to make my own compost and amend the soil with that. Dirt can be improved, but it might take time. Here in Florida we can plant again in Fall.

Potatoes and Green Beans

The white raised beds had been planted with potatoes. They were doing well until the cutworms arrived.

Most every potato stalk has died, so I am filling those two beds with bean seeds. Beans and potatoes are companion plants.

These are bush beans and do not need staking, but I put the cages in to keep animals from digging around in the dirt. Something climbs up into the beds at night and digs. I’ve already lost a couple bean seedlings.

Beans do okay with heat, so I am hoping they will grow throughout the summer.

growing green beans

Eggplant

I’m having better luck with the Japanese eggplant than I did with the regular eggplant. The old one grew into a small tree and only gave me a few eggplants to eat.

At the end of last year I planted this Japanese eggplant plant. I bought it as a small plant.

It has consistently given me little eggplants to enjoy. It quit producing over winter, but now it is going strong. The eggplants are small but are the perfect size for me.

Japanese eggplant growing
Japanese eggplant

No Luck With These

  • Carrots – they are simply not growing
  • Cucumber – small vines, curling cukes
  • Beets – leaves totally eaten by something

Older Garden Boxes

The eggplant is growing in one box, with peppers in the center box and a scraggly tomato plant in the third. I’m waiting for all the tomatoes to turn red and then the plant will be ripped out. It doesn’t have many leaves and is not doing well. All these plants had to be covered at night all winter, and they did not like those colder temps.

growing vegetables in garden grow boxes

Growing Cosmos From Seeds

Plant the cosmos seeds in good dirt in a larger size pot. I began a few cosmos plants in eggshells, but they didn’t do well at all.

Directly sow seeds into big pots and they will create a pretty display.

In my photo here I have two pots and one is doing a lot better. It’s the dirt. The smaller plant was recently transplanted into good dirt and now I’m hopeful it will flourish.

The raccoons got into the other pot and dug up part of the seedlings. The ones left are blooming and look good.

The Hydrangea Plant in May

New leaves have grown on my one hydrangea plant and today I noticed there are about five tiny buds. The plant looks nice and healthy.

Hydrangea plant in Florida garden

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October and November Vegetable Gardening in Florida

raised garden bed in fall
Raised Garden Bed November 2017

Now that the weather is cooling off here in central Florida, gardening is on my mind.  I can comfortably step outside and work in the yard.  October was a little hot, but November has been nice.

My Gardening in Florida book says that October is the time to think about growing cool-season crops.  Now it’s November and I still don’t have enough dirt for planting.  But if I did, this is what I would have planted.

Also, further down the page, see what is still growing and beginning to produce vegetables!

What to Plant in Fall

Suggested planting includes carrots, beets (I seldom eat) and turnips (I never eat), which can be started as seeds.  No need to buy seedlings.  Last spring I planted carrots in a fabric pot and they did pretty well.

My book has a section about building strawberry pyramids – so I assume I should plant strawberries this time of year. I don’t really have the space for them, so maybe I need a pyramid? There is probably no time or money for that this year, but it’s something to keep in mind.

Or maybe I will use one of the ideas found at this page: Top 30 Stunning Low-Budget DIY Garden Pots and Containers. Some look cheap and easy enough to do! Makes me want to go to the dollar store.

What I really need is a fence. It will give me some place where I can add containers and keep the raccoons out at the same time. There is no money for that right now.

I must deal with reality, so here is my list of vegetables I could have planted in October.  My garden is 10 feet long by 3 feet wide.  So not a lot of space, but I do have fabric pots to use as well.  If only I had a garden full of good dirt.

Lettuce
Kale
Onions – plant around the edges, take up little space
Peas – Will need a trellis

Some Plants Are Still Growing Well After Summer

I all but gave up completely on growing anything over the summer.  I had planted tomatoes, eggplant, squash and peppers in Spring.  I did get some small tomatoes but the raccoons helped themselves.  The squash plant got bugs and died before it gave me any squash.  The Eggplant and Peppers are still going strong.  In fact they are now doing well.

My neighbor, who does no gardening in summer, said that when it’s too hot the plants won’t produce. She covers the ground with plastic to kill the nematodes. However, I wonder if she realizes that burning out the bad also affects the good. I’m not sure it is wise to do that.  And because my plants survived the summer and are now looking good, I plan to keep the garden going all summer long next year.

eggplant in raised bed garden
My Eggplant “Tree” and green pepper plant in the raised bed

I honestly thought everything would eventually die in the summer heat.  I kept watering, just in case.  My eggplant grew into a small tree!  It was pretty, and has plenty of purple flowers, but never gave me an eggplant to eat.  Finally I cut it back hoping the excess energy put into growing would be used to possibly give me some eggplants.

And then…. today (maybe 2 weeks after trimming it) I was watering in the morning, as I do every day, and I found a small Eggplant beginning to grow!  Yay… more please.

title eggplant beginning to grow
November 15th – Finally, a Little Eggplant is Growing!

The only other vegetable producing plants that have survived are the peppers.  The hot pepper plant gives me a pepper here and there.

I have 2 bell pepper plants.  One is in a fabric pot and it has produced a couple of peppers over summer.  Now that the weather is cooler, the other pepper plant is producing like mad!  I’ve never been able to grow peppers but maybe the secret is to plant in Spring and wait until Fall to eat them.

Screen Shot 2017-11-15 at 9.50.47 AM

So, what I’ve learned so far is that planting in Spring gives me vegetables in Fall. The plants seem to go dormant over summer and then produce when the weather gets nice.

I’m continuously amending my soil and will continue to do so.  I think poor soil was inhibiting growth.

Here’s What’s Happening in My Florida Yard in May

Aside from the fact that the raccoons are helping themselves to all my tomatoes… red and green… I am still attempting to grow a garden.  The raised bed is filling slowly with dirt and compost, and right now I have cucumbers, tomatoes, summer squash, bell peppers, and eggplant growing.

So far I am eating tomatoes and cukes.  Still waiting for the peppers, squash and eggplant.

raised bed gardening
New Plants in My Raised Bed Garden

None of my vegetable plants were doing very well.  They had plenty of sun and water.  The problem was the soil.  I have been buying bags of organic dirt, but I don’t think it had any type of compost in it.  So I  bought a few bags of compost, and that has helped. I had started my own compost in a pail on my porch and I added that to the raised bed.  What I really need is a composter.

Now my older eggplant is flowering again.  I have some green peppers and can see little cucumbers beginning to grow. But I need more dirt and compost.

eggplant flower growing
Maybe I’ll Get an Eggplant

cucumber blossom on vine
Tiny Cuke

The Rose bush is blooming, with small, but beautiful roses.

I must go outside and check them every day, because the flowers don’t last. Just the other day I got a pure white rose on this bush! But I waited too long and lost the opportunity to get a photo.  Roses are difficult to grow and with the humidity here, I’m afraid of black spot – or whatever they get.

pink rose
Pink Rose with Peach Center

Down toward the back of my house the watermelon vine is getting longer, and baby watermelons are popping out along the stem.

tiny watermelon on the vine
Baby Watermelon

Since I’ve amended the soil with compost, the peppers are doing better. The bells are not very large yet, but I’m afraid the raccoons will pick them before I get to.

green bell peppers growing
Finally, my peppers are growing!

It’s been so dry here in Florida for months. This tropical location is in need of rain. We’ve had very few rainy days, and there have been fires all over the place.

Because of this, I decided to add a cheap bird bath to the corner of my garden. Using a big plastic pot saucer, I added some broken bricks left over from the building of our patio, and filled it with water.   It sits on the corner of the raised bed.  Each day I spray it out and refill while I’m watering the garden.

I do get birds who drink and bathe in the thing. A female cardinal especially seems to like it, and a Cowbird (I think) had a nice long bath the other day. Of course my cats drink from it as well!

bird bath
My Cheap Bird Bath

I know that if I was still living in New Hampshire, gardening would hopefully begin this Memorial Day weekend. Their garden veggies won’t be coming in for a couple more months.

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