OCTOBER GARDENING TIPS FOR SOUTH FLORIDA
gardening hits high gear by mid-month when the first refreshing cool fronts
start to penetrate the peninsula on a regular basis. Vegetable choices include
broccoli, turnips, spinach, onions, carrots, cauliflower, beets, radishes,
mustard, cabbage, lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes, parsley, celery, peas, summer
squash and lima and snap beans. Most herbs should be planted out now.
Strawberries also can be planted. Annuals include: Impatiens, petunias, dusty miller, geranium, coleus, marigold, torenia, vinca, salvia, portulaca, cosmos, ageratum, gloriosa daisy, celosia, verbena, wax begonia, spider flower, alyssum, and snapdragon.
The last big fertilization of the year should
be applied to all plants this month. A high quality all-purpose fertilizer
should be fine for most trees. I have used Lesco 12-2-14 with good success on
most plantings. Lawns benefit from a good application of Lesco 16-4-8. But any
good quality fertilizer with trace elements should do the job. Apply lightly and
evenly and water in after application.
The dry season begins mid-month. As soon as you can, it’s a good idea to
check irrigation systems before their winter workouts. Fungal problems appear
with the cooler weather, so make sure watering is restricted to the morning
hours between 2 and 10 a.m. The dry season will last through May, so some
supplemental irrigation will be necessary for lawns and bedding plants.
Insects are still with us, but populations will fall as the cooler weather arrives. We never
get a complete break like the winter-bound folks in the north. Caterpillars will
be active on cassia, oleander and bougainvillea. Mites, thrips, scale, army and
sod webworms will be active. Check for infestations once a week.