It can certainly be disappointing to see our gardens get hit by a hard frost or a freeze… especially when we mulch nice and deep, covered our plant, or used sprinklers. It can be heart heartbreaking to see the brown and wilted carnage over the days following the frost. However, this is part of the natural cycle of nature and we (as gardeners) get to flow in harmony with that cycle of life and death. So don’t stand there frozen in the garden path – there is more to plant in Florida after a freeze.
The key to replanting in January and February is planting seeds that are going to be extra cold-hardy and fairly fast growing. So, don’t give up your winter garden yet, there is still time for a harvest over the next few months.
Preparing a Garden Bed After a Freeze
Before you start planting seeds, be sure to reset your system. Don’t leave rotting or dead plants laying around, because they can spread disease to other plants. It’s best to either bury the scraps back into the garden OR compost them to add back to the soil later. When you water your compost pile, consider adding some probiotics (CLICK HERE). However, in the food forest it’s especially important to leave the dead leaves where they are, because it will provide insulation in case of another freeze this winter. This is especially important on things like bananas. So clean up, but do so with patience and wisdom.
Next, consider adding more organic mulch to the garden beds. We prefer using a straw mulch because when it decomposes, it will create a nitrogen rich and bacterially-based soil structure, which vegetables prefer. Using wood chips on a vegetable garden can tie up nitrogen temporarily as they decompose, and also creates a fungal-based soil structure, which is more preferred by fruit trees and berry bushes. So be sure to use the right mulch in the right place.
What to Plant in Florida After a Freeze
- Winter peas
- Sweet potato slips
- You can also keep doing many greens like arugula, lettuces, mustards, and komatsuna greens (or bok choi).
FRUIT TREES & BERRY BUSHES TO PLANT IN JANUARY – FEB
Some fruit trees and berry bushes actually do BETTER when they are planted while dormant. In fact, some of the following varieties will even grow in snowy winter climates, which makes them extra hardy. Here are some fruit trees to plant after a freeze (or anytime in the winter):
- Apple / Pear (but they don’t do well in Zones 9-11)
- Bamboo (clumping)
- Thornless blackberry
- Strawberry Guava