October gardening to-do list – Orlando Sentinel


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Average temperatures: High 85; low 65 New moon: Oct. 6 First quarter: Oct. 12 Full moon: Oct. 20 Last quarter: Oct. 28 2. Moon sign planting dates Above-ground crops: 7, 8, 12, 13, 16, 17 Below-ground crops: 3, 4, 21, 22, 26, 27, 31 Control weeds: 14, 15, 23, 24, 25, 28, 29, 30 Prune trees and shrubs: 1, 2, 9, 10, 11, 18, 19, 20 3. Vegetables: Beet, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celery, collards, kohlrabi, lettuce, mustard, onions peas, potatoes, radicchio, radish, rhubarb, roquette, rutabaga, spinach, strawberry, Swiss chard and turnips 4. Flowers: African daisy, alyssum, angelonia, ageratum, begonia, black-eyed Susan, blue daze, calendula, candytuft, celosia, chrysanthemums, cleome, coleus, cornflower, cosmos, dianthus, dusty miller, gaillardia, gazania, geraniums, gerbera, heliotrope, hollyhock, impatiens, larkspur, lobelia, nicotiana, pentas, petunia, salvia, snapdragon, sunflower, sweet pea, verbena and zinnia. 5. Herbs: Anise, basil, bay laurel, borage, cardamom, chervil, chives, coriander, dill, fennel, garlic, lavender, lemon balm, lovage, mint, nasturtium, oregano, rosemary, sage, sweet marjoram, tarragon, thyme and watercress 6. Bulbs: African lily, agapanthus, amaryllis, anemone, bulbine, calla, crinum, day lily, gingers, gladiolus, pineapple lily, rain lily, society garlic, spider lilies, walking iris, watsonia. Refrigerate crocus, daffodils, hyacinth, narcissus and tulips for forcing. 7. Lawn feeding time has arrived; use a low-phosphorus product made for your lawn type. 8. October is the last month to feed bahia, centipede and zoysia lawns this year. 9. Have a complete soil test made for your lawn; contact your local University of Florida extension office. 10. Lawns fed earlier may only need an iron or minor nutrient application to maintain their green. 11. Weeds have invaded many lawns; control with appropriate herbicides or replace with new sod. 12. Fall is a good time to start or replace a lawn. 13. Fill bare spots in lawns left from summer pests with sod or plugs. 14. Seeding time for bahiagrass if over; delay rye seedings until late November. 15. Chinch bugs and sod webworms can linger into fall; control as needed. 16. Water turf when it shows signs of moisture stress. 17. Adjust irrigation systems to water lawns separately from other plantings. 18. Trim grass away from sprinklers and adjust them to ensure proper operation. 19. Use soil aeration in compacted and poorly drained soils to encourage better root growth. 20. Few lawns have thatch problems, just brown leaves; rake them out as needed. 21. Continue mowing to maintain proper turf height; keep mowing height the same year-round. 22. Change the oil and air filters of gas-powered equipment for fall. 23. Sharpen and balance mower blades. 24. Use mulch or ornamental ground covers in areas where turf won’t grow. Vegetable and fruit tree care 25. Fall begins nine months of great gardening; complete plantings of warm-season crops soon. 26. Use large transplants of tomatoes, peppers and eggplants to get a fall crop. 27. Tomatoes begin setting and holding their fruits early to mid-month. 28. Begin plantings of cool-season vegetables around mid-month. 29. Add flowers to vegetable gardens to attract pollinators. 30. Gardeners cramped for space can grow vegetables in containers. 31. Start seeds for transplants of broccoli, cauliflower and similar vegetables in containers. 32. Stay alert for caterpillars, aphids and leaf miners; control with natural insecticides. 33. Trellis or stake all tall-growing vegetables to help keep them pest-free and easy to harvest. 34. Add a mulch to the surface of the soil to conserve moisture and keep vegetables dirt-free. 35. Groom summer-weary herb plantings and start new ones that prefer the cooler weather. 36. Install micro-sprinklers in gardens to water efficiently and conserve water. 37. Most vegetables need moist soil; water when the surface soil begins to dry to the touch. 38. Feed in-ground vegetables every three to four weeks; container gardens weekly. 39. Fruit splitting on citrus trees is normal and may continue into the fall. 40. Help prevent citrus fruit drop and splitting; water once or twice a week during dry weather. 41. Give citrus a final feeding of the year during early October. 42. Till new garden sites and enrich sandy soils with garden soil, organic matter and manure. 43. Remove offshoots from pineapple plants to start new beds. 44. Start papaya seedlings for late-winter transplants. 45. Add strawberry plants to a garden or build a pyramid for planting. 46. Delay pruning all fruit plantings until mid- to late winter. 47. Speed up the composting process by turning the piles monthly. 48. Begin harvesting early season navel, Satsuma and Hamlin citrus. 49. Harvest maturing chayotes, cocoyams, dasheens and gourds. 50. Dig in the soil to check sweet potato plantings; most have roots ready to harvest. 51. Weeds are plentiful among ornamental plantings; hand pull or spot kill to prevent seeding. 52. Many plants have grown out of bounds; complete needed pruning early in the month. 53. Give hedges a final trimming. 54. Remove suckers and low limbs from trees. 55. Give palms and shrubs a final feeding of the year. 56. Use a slow-release fertilizer that can feed in-ground and container plantings for months. 57. Whiteflies are becoming a major pest; systemic insecticides are offering good control. 58. Crape myrtles are dropping their leaves, which is normal as they go dormant. 59. Poinsettia and azalea pruning time is over for this year except for out-of-bounds shoots. 60. Shield poinsettias and holiday cactuses from nighttime light starting mid-month. 61. The dry season is ahead; moisten only as needed to conserve water. 62. Most established trees and shrubs can go a week or more between waterings. 63. Trim away limbs and weeds affecting the operation of sprinkler systems. 64. Check container plantings for plugged drainage holes; repotting may be needed. 65. Maintain a mulch under trees and shrubs; start the mulch several inches from trunks. 66. Determine tree needs and plant smaller growing, wind-resistant species. 67. Check tree and palm supports to make sure they are secure but not damaging the plants. 68. Add fall plants to hanging baskets and container gardens. 69. Edge sidewalks and plant beds. 70. Replace the soil in problem flower beds and planters. 71. Replant flower beds with cool-season annuals and perennials; delay pansies until November. 72. Divide perennial and bulb plantings. 73. Trim back chrysanthemums after flowering to encourage new buds. 74. Check rose foliage for mites and black spot; control as needed. 75. Give water lilies and bog plants a monthly feeding. House and Foliage plant care 76. Foliage plants are often a good buy at garden centers during fall; replace the declining plants. 77. Many foliage plants have grown too large for their containers; divide and repot as needed. 78. Groom outdoor foliage plants and begin moving them to a warm location. 79. Control insects on plants before moving them indoors. 80. Begin forcing amaryllis and paperwhite narcissus for indoor displays. 81. Remove declining foliage and faded flowers from home and patio plants. 82. Reduce watering of holiday cactuses to when the surface soil is dry and stop feedings. 83. Make sure poinsettias, holiday cactuses and kalanchoes receive no nighttime light. 84. Feed foliage plants in bright light monthly. 85. Check frequently for water needs of indoor foliage plants. Tom MacCubbin is an urban horticulturist emeritus with the University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service. Write him: Orlando Sentinel, P.O. Box 2833, Orlando FL 32802. Email: [email protected] Blog with Tom at OrlandoSentinel.com/tomdigs.
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