Much of the rest of America is preparing for harvest. But here in Florida, gardening classes are being offered to help home gardeners ready their seeds and seedlings for planting.  / Photos are contributed

In many other parts of the country, fall is celebrated as the harvest season. It’s time for growers to pick their crops and get ready to hunker down for the winter.

But in Florida, we growers are just getting ready to plant our seeds and seedlings in happy anticipation of cooler weather. From tomatoes to eggplants, from beans to collard greens, we are planning for some good eating to come.


To get you started with your planting, Florida Food & Farm is offering information on gardening classes being held around the state.

Gardening Classes this Fall

A Must for Maitland: On Oct. 5 from 6 to 7:30 p.m., you can learn more about what to do in your garden this time of year by attending Cool-Season Vegetable Gardening at Maitland Community Park, 1400 Mayo Ave., Maitland. The program costs $5 per residence. To register, visit http://gardenflorida.eventbrite.com.

Cool in Gainesville: In the class Grow Cool-Season Vegetables, on Oct. 6 from 6 to 7:30 p.m., Denise DeBusk, environmental and community horticulture agent, will discuss cool crops, including cabbage, kale, broccoli and greens.

The class, at the University of Florida’s IFAS Extension Office, 2800 NE 39th Ave., Gainesville, costs $5. Register through Eventbrite at http://tinyurl.com/z8e4hyd.

Fundamentals in Miami: For the beginning vegetable gardener, it’s good to learn the basics from an experienced grower. Julie Petrella Arch will offer a one-hour presentation, the Edible Gardening Workshop, followed by a question-and-answer session, at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden, 2000 Convention Center Drive, Miami Beach.

Arch is a University of Florida “master gardener,” horticulturist and landscape design consultant. She lectures throughout South Florida on edible gardening, native landscapes, and creating biodiversity and sustainability.

The presentation that is on Oct. 8, from 10 a.m. to noon, is free. Attendees will receive tomato seeds to take home and plant. For information, visit http://www.mbgarden.org.

Archer Readies for Fall: Master Gardener Ronald Bertie offers a basic course, Fall & Winter Gardening. The class will be held Oct. 16 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at the Archer Branch Library, 13266 FL 45 (aka State Road 45), Archer.

Register at least three days prior by calling 352-337-6209. For more information, visit http://alachua.ifas.ufl.edu/calendar.shtml or call 352-955-2402.

Naples Considers Superfoods: If you are looking for a new crop to plant this year, consider some superfoods such as blueberries, spinach or kale. These not only taste good but are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

To learn how to grow these healthful crops, the Naples Botanical Garden, 4820 Bayshore Drive, Naples, is offering a class on Oct. 17 from 10 a.m. to noon in the Florida Gulf Coast University Kapnick Center Buehler Auditorium.

Taught by Adrienne Diaz, a Lee County master gardener and a “certified square foot garden instructor,” Grow Your Own Superfoods costs $15 for garden members/$20 for nonmembers.

To register, call 239-643-7275 or e-mail LLL@naplesgarden.org. Include your contact information and the topic of this program; your call will be returned within two business days. Registration is complete when payment is received.

For Something Different: In case you don’t want to plant your vegetables in raised beds or solarized soil, you might want to take the Eclectic Gardening class from Master Gardeners Jacki Zwierzchowski and Sandra Sherman Place.

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Why have your tires retreaded when you can give them new life as … a planter? The Eclectic Gardening class on Oct. 24 will show you how.

They’ll be offering ideas for creative containers made from new, old and recyclable materials, including a hanging garden made out of recycled cans. There also will be several filled planters on display, made from tires, cans and kitchen items.

The free class is Oct. 24 starting at 10 a.m. It will be held in the outdoor classroom of the UF Gardens under the big oaks on the Pensacola Sate College Milton Campus at 5988 U.S. 90, Milton.

At the class, you can purchase chances to win several of the master gardeners’ creations. For information, call Mary Derrick at 850-623-3868.

If All Else Fails: If you can’t make it to a class, help growing your veggie garden is as close as http://gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/plants/edibles/vegetables/vegetable-gardening-in-florida.html. This website, from the University of Florida, has all the information you need to plan, plant, tend and harvest your backyard vegetable garden.

Deborah S. Hartz-Seeley is a longtime Florida journalist covering the local food and gardening scene. With a master’s degree in agricultural journalism, she served as food editor for The South Florida Sun-Sentinel for over 20 years. Today, she is a certified “master gardener.”