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Garden Gossip

October, 2022

Fall Planting

Fall is an excellent time to plant trees and shrubs as well as perennials. The cooler temperatures and more abundant rainfall helps to develop a stronger root system and gives a jump start on spring. Plant your trees and shrubs in a hole twice as wide as the container and only as deep as the plant was in the container. It is always good to add a little compost or Black Kow to mix with the existing soil. Remember to water in your plant to remove all air pockets. If there is no rain for awhile you will have to water.

Don’t forget about the vegetable garden. The fall garden is actually my favorite. You can grow kale, Swiss chard, broccoli as well as many other vegetables that can be planted in the fall. Lettuces can be direct seeded into the garden but try to sow seed for lettuce about every 10 days to lengthen your harvest. It is best to direct seed beets and carrots as well as turnips for turnip greens.

Fall is is good time to add to the herb garden too. Parsley grows well in the cooler months and stays green all winter.

Rotate your crops to a new location. This helps prevent the build up of pathogens and pests when one species is grown continually in the same area.

Pansies

It’s pansy time! I love them all. We already have some at the nursery but there is more coming about the first week of October. Pansies do well in the cool winter months. When planted in autumn they will last until April or May.

Plant them in full sun to part shade. Apply a mild fertilizer when planting and about every four to 5 weeks in spring. Pansies do best when the night temperatures are below 65 degrees. Plant them in well drained soil. They do not like to be in constantly wet conditions. They have few pest problems but slugs and snails love them so you may have to control them from time to time.

Pansies and violas come in many colors. Some with faces and some solid colors. They can withstand temperatures in the single digits and freeze solid then bounce right back with blooms when the weather warms.

Snapdragon Flowers

Snapdragons should also be fall planted here in the south. If the plant has a flower, break off the flower before you plant. This causes the plant to side branch creating a much fuller plant with lots of blooms. They come in almost every color but blue. There are tall varieties like Rocket that are 2 to 3 feet tall and dwarf ones that are only 4 to 9 inches.
Snapdragons do their best when planted in full sun but can tolerate some light shade especially in the afternoon. Fertilize about every six weeks with an all purpose fertilizer.

Snapshot Snapdragon is a shorter plant about 8 inches tall with a spread of 10 to 12 inches. A good choice for the front of the border or in containers.
Just a note all parts of the snapdragon plant are considered safe for dogs, cats and horses. While they are considered safe for humans you wouldn’t want to be using them to make a tea or for herbal medicine.

Plants for Fall and Winter Containers

Of course pansies and snapdragons are good choices for containers but why not think of a few others.

Flowering cabbage and flowering kale make an excellent choice for containers as well lettuce. Parsley is evergreen! The Cool Wave trailing pansies would be fabulous spilling over the side too.

Garlic

Garlic and onions can be planted this month. Garlic is easy to grow and extremely frost hardy. Break the head of garlic into cloves and set the cloves 2 to 4 inches apart and about 2″deep root side pointed down. Using the largest cloves will give you the biggest heads of garlic when you harvest. Plant in a sunny location. Garlic likes well drained soil with a PH of 6.5 or 7. Lime the soil if you haven’t done so recently and work in a little fertilizer, bone meal or fish meal into the soil.

Once planted, water in the bulbs. Mulch the planted area with straw to keep weeds down.

I usually harvest my garlic about mid May. Allow the harvested bulbs to dry in the sun for several days. I put mine upstairs in my barn for about a week or two then cut off the stops.

Wildflower Seeds

October through January is the time to sow these seeds. Many of these seeds require the cold weather to germinate. Sow the seed using 4 parts sand and 1 part seed. This helps disperse the seed so that you won’t get clumps of plants in one place and none in another. Prepare the bed by lightly tilling or raking the area then throwing out the seed. Water! When spring arrives you will have a marvelous display. The seeds are sold by the tablespoon or teaspoon depending on the size of the seed for $1.00

No more pruning on fruit trees and landscape plants. This will cause new growth which will not be hardened off before frost. No need to fertilize this late in the season. The last application of fertilizer should have been in July.

Bulbs

All the fall bulbs are now here. Paperwhite Narcissus, many types of daffodils, and tulips. We have the specie tulips, often called botanical tulips, which do very well in the south. They will multiply and return year after year. The flowers on them are a little smaller but still very pleasing to the eye and sometimes fragrant. Clusiana Lady Jane and Cluisiana Chrysantha are two that we have. We also have Anemone, Freesia and Ranunculus.

Frost Protection

Don’t let a frost sneak up on you! Make sure that your garden hoses are all drained and your irrigation pipes winterized. Now is the time to check out the condition of your winter cloth. If it is getting a little tattered this would be the time to replace it. We use this cloth in our nursery to cover the citrus trees but you can also use it in the vegetable garden or for any plant you wish to protect from freezing. I cover my vegetable garden and have fresh lettuce most of the winter. This cloth comes in 15 foot and 30 foot widths. We custom cut pieces for you to any length.