The Turning of the Season: March Gardening in South Florida


March is a bittersweet time for growers in South Florida and a transition for home gardeners as they prepare for hotter weather. As the cool season fades, this month is the last chance for gardeners to plant many winter crops and get your garden beds ready for the spring.

To help you through the turn of the season, here are some helpful tips for gardeners at every experience level for March gardening in South Florida.

Last Call For Winter Crops

March is the last chance for you to plant many winter vegetables. If you are looking to take advantage of the cooler temperatures, you can still plant arugula, beans, cantaloupe, carrots, sweet corn, endive, okra, radish, squashes, celery, and watermelon in your backyard.

If you are still looking for cool-season vegetables in late March, consider growing them indoors in a controlled environment, or waiting until the fall to plant them outside.

It’s Time For Spring

In South Florida, March is also considered the start of the Spring planting season when farmers start planting warm-season vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and cucumbers for a late spring harvest. Herbs like basil and cilantro can also help attract butterflies and pollinators to your garden to aid plant growth and health while adding another fresh element to your pantry. March is also a great time to plan flowers like marigolds, zinnias, and sunflowers, and even fruit trees. Start with mangoes, avocados, or papayas for a fruitful harvest in the years to come!

Before you start gardening for the hotter months, here are four steps you need to take to transition your garden from Winter to Spring and Summer:

  1. Clean up your garden beds. Spring is the time to start fresh, which means removing any dead plant material, leaves, roots, and weeds from the cool season.
  • Test your soil. Plants need nutrient-rich soil in order to grow and give you the best fruits, vegetables, and herbs when you start harvesting. Get a soil test to determine the pH and nutrient levels of your soil, which will help you determine which fertilizers and additions you should make to your garden beds before planting. If you do need to make any additions to your soil, use compost, mulch, or other organic matter to improve soil structure, fertility, and moisture retention.
  • Choose the right plants for Spring. Plants that are well-suited to the South Florida climate and soil conditions will help your garden grow exponentially. In addition to the cool season vegetables I mentioned before, you can also look into growing cassava, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, pineapple, peas, ginger, and Chinese cabbage.
  • Water regularly. March is one of the driest months in South Florida, which means you need to take extra precautions to keep your plants watered and your soil moist. Make sure your soil is well-drained and don’t forget to water regularly so your plants have enough moisture to thrive.

As you start your spring cleaning and finish out the last month of the cool season, take the time to enjoy what March has to offer South Floridians in the garden! Enjoy the last bit of fresh cool-season vegetables and get ready for everything the warm season has in store!