Ready to Grow!
marks the start of Florida's fall gardening season.
If you are a keen observer of nature, you will begin
seeing the shadows getting longer and longer in the
afternoon and the first purple martins of the season from up
north flitting around on their way south.
"Continued warm and scattered showers" will be
a familiar refrain from the TV weathermen and we will be
hearing more and more about tropical storms and
hurricanes since we are now in the thick of their
seasonal activity. Despite the feeling that this
month sometimes seems hotter than last, make no mistake
about it, there are only twenty-two more days left of
summer then the cooler, dryer weather will be upon us.
more foliage than flowers from your plants.
raised beds if your garden plots tend to flood.
your vegetable seeds.
your plots with compost, manure and peat moss.
also tends to be one of Florida's wettest months.
Because of this, lush growth can be expected from many
of your plants, but flowers will not be so evident.
This is the month, however, when mangos, avocados and
guavas ripen. And now is the time to begin
starting vegetable seeds throughout much of the state.
Make sure that you have enriched your gardening plots
with peat, composted products, or animal manures before
you put your seedlings out! If your land tends to
flood during the heavy seasonal rains, consider building
raised beds and run your beds east and west to take
advantage of the sunlight as we move into the winter
you have a black thumb when it comes to starting seeds
many garden centers and nurseries will have transplants
available. If you do decide on trying to start seeds,
make sure not to plant them too deeply -- follow the
recommendations on the packet -- most seeds need only to
be barely covered with soil to sprout successfully.
Additionally, be sure to water daily if for some reason
the rains do not do it for you.
you are a gardener who chooses to live in an area with
zero lot lines, consider container gardening. Make sure
to use big enough containers for large vegetables like
peppers, tomatoes and squashes so they do not become
pot-bound. A four to five gallon sized container
is usually what they require.
is also an important consideration this time of the year
to help keep weeds in check, to help enrich the soil and
to prevent the soil from drying out when we get into the
are also of major concern when growing vegetables.
You may not see stink bugs, cabbage worms, tomato hornworms
or big-legged bugs all year, but as soon as
their favorite vegetables begin growing, they know it
and will be in your garden before you know it.
Hand picking the insects may solve the problem, but if
not, please read all the directions and take the proper
precautions when applying pesticides for control.
Pesticides are, after all, poisons and they can take a
toll on more than just the bad bugs in your garden.
Insecticides do not differentiate between good bugs, bad
bugs, birds, fish, pets or you. They can and will
harm all of the above if not used with due care.
bloom when they enter a reproductive state when
the nights are 12 hours long or
longer. This reproductive state can
be interrupted by even small light sources that
shine on the plants when they are supposed to be
in the dark of night. If this reproductive
state is interrupted the plants will not bloom.
you are growing bougainvilleas this is the last month to
prune them and only for the removal of awkward growth.
Do not water or feed them again until the early part of
next summer. If you do not follow this advice it
may negatively effect flower production next season.
is also the last time to prune poinsettias.
Poinsettia flower buds begin forming after the middle of
October. If you desire a nice show for the holiday
season, do not prune them after this month.
Because the best flowers on poinsettias are produced at
the tips of healthy branches, encourage your plants to
make as many branches as possible with judicious
pruning. Small, spindly plants will require more
pruning than plants with large trunks and strong
pruning you may give your poinsettias a shot of general
purpose fertilizer then some high potash fertilizer at
the end of October. When new foliage begins to
show after pruning, watch out for hornworms which are
fond of the new tender foliage. Also be careful of
where your poinsettias are planted as they rely on the
shortening of the daylight they receive as a cue to
begin budding. Car lights, porch lights and street
lights will throw this timing off.
bets for starting a traditional garden this month are:
Beets, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Chinese
Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Collards, Cucumbers,
Eggplants, Escarole, Kale, Lettuce, Mustard, Onion Sets,
Peas, Peppers, Radishes, Romaine, Rutabagas, Spinach,
Squash, Strawberries, Sweet Corn, Swiss Chard, Tomatoes
Anise, Basil, Borage, Chevril, Marjoram, Parsley, Sesame
Asters, Baby's Breath, Bachelor's Buttons, Balsam,
Calendulas, Candytufts, Carnations, Cosmos, Cockscombs,
Daisies, Dianthus, Forget-Me-Nots, Gaillardias, Globe
Amaranth, Hollyhocks, Lace Flowers, Lobelias, Lupines,
Marigolds, Nasturtiums, Salvias, Scabiosa, Snapdragons,
Statice, Stock, Strawflowers, Sweetpeas, Sweet William,
Verbenas and Zinnias.
Florida Home Grown;
Florida Gardening Month by Month