is probably one of the best months
of the year to garden in the Sunshine
State. Cool, dry weather finally
begins to visit Florida and usually
makes itself welcome for the next
six months. While we do not
get the colorful leaf changes that
our friends up north do, we are still
treated to a nice show in some areas
especially in the more northern parts
of the state. Even in South
Florida a keen eye will see that the
wild grasses are beginning to turn
brown, the scrub willows are shedding
their leaves as are the Red Maples,
Cypress trees and other deciduous
trees -- many with a touch of fall
The cooler and
dryer weather also helps to lessen the bug populations. By this time of the year fleas, chinch bugs, mosquitoes
and others are hardly noticeable. There is also a
change in the wildlife. Not only will there be
more snowbirds in the state, but many fine feathered
migratory birds will be seen heading southward to their
winter homes. Many of these birds will be making
pit stops along the way to take in food and water before
continuing their journey so make sure to fill your bird
feeders with a mix of feeds so they will stop off in
your yard for a snack before moving on! Be careful
though because some of these birds just might take a
liking to your vegetables and strawberries and help
themselves to your crops.
Be aware that even
though the cooler weather will lessen certain
populations of insects, not all of them will disappear.
Aphids, beetles, cutworms, cabbage worms, corn earworms,
leaf miners, mole crickets, leaf hoppers, leaf rollers,
squash bugs and other beasties will still be around to
munch on your plants if you are not watchful. While Safer sprays and liquid Sevin or multipurpose vegetable
dusts applied early will help to keep insects under
control early detection and ecological control is
the best medicine for your garden. I suggest fungicides
and insecticides not be used on or around food crops.The choice is yours, but the wise approach right now
would be to avoid using or being near toxic chemicals.
If you choose to use chemical pesticides, herbicides,
fungicides and fertilizers be sure to carefully read the
labels before applying any chemicals to your
While you may take
a break from fertilizing your lawn and trees this month
your vegetables and annuals should still be fed. A
composted manure or balanced liquid fertilizer will be
much appreciated by these plants and will help to give
you an abundance of blooms and vegetables.
Also do not
neglect to water your plants. Even though it is
not as hot and your plants' water demands are not as
great, judicious watering must still be done. Mulching your plants, of course, lessens how much water
they will require.
This is a great month to begin planting
roses. Be sure to buy locally pot grown varieties.
Let your nursery or garden center be
your guide for growing annuals and vegetables. Choose healthy specimens for a quick-start garden.
Declining lawns can be revived with the
application of quick acting high nitrogen fertilizers
and regular irrigation.
Careful attention to insect infestations
and rust or fungal infections on your vegetables, herbs
and flowers then immediate control will help to head off
major problems later in the season.
Flower buds on your Poinsettias will
begin to open and many tropical plants will begin to
bloom. Color will be just about everywhere.
The next few months are open to planting
and growing almost anything you can imagine especially
as far as herbs, vegetables and annuals are concerned.
Best bets for
starting a traditional garden this month are:
: Beans, Beets, Broccoli, Brussels
Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower,
Celery, Chinese Cabbage, Collards,
Cucumbers, Endive, Escarole, Kale,
Kohlrabi, Leek, Lettuce, Onion Sets,
Parsley, Peppers, Pumpkins, Rhubarb,
Romaine, Rutabagas, Spinach, Squash,
Strawberries, Sweet Corn, Swiss Chard,
Tomatoes, Turnips and almost any other
vegetable you desire.
Anise, Basil, Borage, Chives, Chervil,
Coriander, Fennel, Garlic, Lavender,
Marjoram, Mint, Parsley, Rosemary,
Sage, Sesame, Sweet Marjoram, Thyme
and most other herbs.
Amaryllis, Asters, Baby's Breath,
Bachelor's Buttons, Balsam, Calendulas,
Callas, Candytufts, Carnations, Cosmos,
Cockscombs, Daisies, Dianthus, Forget-Me-Nots,
Gaillardias, Gladiolas, Globe Amaranth,
Hollyhocks, Lace Flowers, Lilies,
Lobelias, Lupines, Marigolds, Narcissus,
Nasturtiums, Pansies, Salvias, Scabiosa,
Snapdragons, Statice, Stock, Strawflowers,
Sweetpeas, Sweet William, Verbenas,
and other cool season flowers.