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In Florida, you can grow vegetables for three quarters of the year. Summer is the fallow season, and planting seasons are in September and March. The last frost date before the Spring planting season occurs in mid-February.

Some good things to plant for the spring for a vegetable garden include okra, peppers, eggplant, beans, sunflowers, summer squash and tomatoes. Okra, peppers and eggplant are drought-resistant. Okra attracts nematodes, so it is a good idea to not plant it in the same area year after year. Harvest the pods while they are three inches or so long, before they get big enough to be tough and stringy. To discourage nematodes, plant marigolds or zinnias with your okra, and then turn the dead mariogold or zinnia plants into the soil at the end of the season.

Hot peppers are better producers than bell peppers. They also resist pests.

Eggplant will still produce in a drought as well, although the eggplants will be smaller. It is a good idea in Florida to choose a variety of eggplant that has miniature fruit and that grows on the plant like a pepper above ground level. That way, your eggplant will not rot in the rainy season.

Beans are a good idea for any garden because they fix nitrogen in the soil. If you plant bush beans, you will not need a trellis. If you have climbing beans, you will have to provide something for them to climb upon. Native Americans planted beans with sunflowers and let the beans climb up the tall sunflowers.

Sunflowers attract honeybees and their seeds can be used as birdfeed. There are smaller varieties of sunflowers with multiple flowerheads available, and these can be showy in a flower garden that gets full sun.

Summer squash and zuchinni, and also cucumbers need a trellis or a cage to climb upon in Florida. That way, the fruit will be off of the ground and should not rot. Remember not to plant melons near squash, because the two sometimes cross-pollinate, creating a strange, inedible fruit.

There are a variety of types of tomatoes, and it is fun to experiment with growing them. The biggest producers are cherry tomatoes. Cherry tomato plants often reseed and pop up during the next season if the soil is right. Tomatoes benefit from being near marigolds and from good insects like ladybugs.

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