Whether you are planting around your home or planting the fields, these are the seeds you need to be sowing for edible and beautiful plants this month.
· Bush: These mature early, are self-pollinating and do not need staking. Over fertilizing will reduce production. When looking at plants look for rust-resistant varieties. There are three types of bush beans: snap beans (the pods are eaten), recommended varieties are Bush Blue Lake, Contender, Roma II, Provider, Cherokee Waxgreen shelling beans (the beans are eaten green), recommended varieties are horticultural, pinto, red kidney, black bean, navy, garbanzo. dry beans (the beans are dried and then rehydrated before eating).
· Lima: Both pole and bush types are available, be sure to provide trellising for pole varieties. You will need to control stink bugs, which damage pods. Don’t over fertilize, and look for rust-resistant varieties. Limas are a little more heat-tolerant than other bush or pole beans. In our area these varieties generally do well, Fordhook 242, Henderson, Jackson Wonder, Dixie (Speckled) Butterpea, and Early Thorogreen.
· Pole: Again don’t over fertilize, the nitrogen limits the amount of beans produced. Trellis the vines or use the 3 Sisters Method using corn for vine support and squash as a ground cover to deter pests. As with the other types of beans, you want to look for rust-resistant varieties. McCaslan, Kentucky Wonder, and Blue Lake beans are a few that do well in our area.
Sweet corn needs space and to be planted in blocks of at least three rows for respectable pollination. For that same reason, you don’t want to plant multiple types of corn in the same area.
Watch for corn earworm, but don’t bother with removing suckers.
Plant where corn will not shade other vegetables and harvest in early morning for optimum sugar content. Suggested varieties for Central Florida are Silver Queen (white), How Sweet It Is (white), Sweet Ice (white), Sweet Riser (yellow), and Early Sunglow (yellow).
There are two types of cucumbers, slicers and picklers, though the picklers can also be eaten fresh. Burpless varieties are available and very popular. Bees are required for pollination unless you are savvy with a q-tip and have nothing else to do with your day. Varieties that do well in our area:
Slicers: Sweet Success, Poinsett, Ashley, MarketMore 76, Straight Eight, Space Master
Picklers: Eureka, Boston Pickling.
Soak seeds in water for six hours for better germination. Requires warm soils and temperatures. Very heat-tolerant. These have beautiful hibiscus type flowers. Harvest pods a few days after flower petals have fallen, when they are most tender. Varieties that do well in our area are Clemson Spineless, Emerald, Annie Oakley II, Cajun Delight.
Southern (aka Field Peas, Cow Peas, Crowder Peas, Cream Peas): Highly nutritious. Don’t over fertilize; too much nitrogen restricts production. These are a good summer cover crop. Varieties that do well in our area: California Blackeye No.5, Pinkeye Purple Hull, Texas Cream.
Easy and fast growing; inter-crop with slow-growing vegetables to save space and thin early. Plant every two weeks during the growing season for a continuous supply. Spicy, bitter flavor caused by hot weather and over-maturity. Varieties that do well in our area: Cherry Belle, White Icicle, Sparkler, Champion.
Summer squash and zucchini are usually bush types; Chayote is a vine that needs support. All cucurbits have male and and female flowers separated on the plant, and pollination by insects is required for fruit set. Varieties that do well in our area: Early Prolific Straightneck, Summer Crookneck, Early White Scallop, Chayote; Zucchini.
Pumpkins Requires a lot of space but can be grown under taller vegetables. Bees required for pollination. Varieties that do well in our area: Big Max, Connecticut Field, Prizewinner, Jack Be Little, Jack o’ Lantern, Calabaza. Varieties that do well in our area: Big Max, Connecticut Field, Prizewinner, Jack Be Little, Jack o’ Lantern, Calabaza.