October is a great month for gardening. The danger of you getting heat stroke is gone and there is much to do outside in the fresh air. Some fall cleaning is probably needed, and most of your annuals have probably finished their performance for this year; however, there are lots of things you can be planting now that will provide both joy and nourishment over the next few months.
Spring bulbs are probably available now in local garden centers, so when your beds have been cleaned out and de-weeded, plant some bulbs. My preference is for daffodils because they never fail to please. Plant the bulbs at least six inches deep so you can plant other things above them—why waste good garden space! Once that is done, treat yourself to some snapdragons or petunias for the fall. They are cool-weather annuals that you can count on for their beauty and color. They do well in containers, too. Geraniums are another cool weather plant that will blossom until frozen! Pansies like it really cool and it is recommended that you not plant them until later this month. And they are an open invitation to the bunnies, so make sure your containers are tall enough.
Let’s talk veggies. Fall is a really good time for planting either seeds or starts for many different vegetables and herbs, too! In well-drained, well amended garden beds exposed to sunlight, you can plant all types of lettuce. Let me warn you that if your garden is not fenced in, the bunnies will help themselves to your salad greens before you have a chance to eat them! It doesn’t take long for lettuces to grow, and picking off some leaves for a fresh salad doesn’t damage the plants. More leaves will continue to grow until frost. Spinach and cabbage are also tasty fall veggies for your garden. Red radishes do well and are easily grown from seed. I’ve also heard that sweet peas will produce a nice fall crop if planted early enough. It’s a bit late for planting seeds, but whatever plants are available at the nursery should produce edibles for you this fall.
Everyone loves fresh herbs, so why not grow some in your garden. Most herbs LOVE cool weather. Whatever herb varieties are available should be okay either in garden beds or in containers. Moisture, good drainage and regular fertilizing will do wonders for sage, parsley, oregano, chives or any other herbs. If you plant the herbs in small pots, these can be brought inside when there is a danger of frost, but keep them as cool as possible. If you can, bring them inside for the night and then back outside during the day for continued healthy growth.
Your Master Gardeners invite you to visit their new website: http://saddlebrookemastergardeners.org/ for all up-to-date information and events for our community. Garden questions? You can reach our very own Garden Helpline by calling Pat at 407-6459.
Remember, nothing brings more tranquility to the heart than a beautiful garden.
Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Jeffrey C. Silvertooth, Associate Dean and Director, Extension and Economic Development, Cooperative Extension, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, The University of Arizona.
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