Fall Vegetable Planting Time
The fall season is well under way in the southern garden. Plant beets, Chinese cabbage, collards, mustard, carrots, chard, kohlrabi, garlic, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, garden peas, radish, and turnips this month in the vegetable garden.
Protect Tender Vegetable Plants From Hungry Pests
Sprays containing B.t. are an effective, natural, low-toxicity way to prevent caterpillars from turning your broccoli, cabbage and other veggies into "Swiss cheese." Cool-season greens are a favorite target of caterpillars, beetles, and aphids. Spread a lightweight row cover fabric over the row after planting, leaving extra slack in the cover to allow for plants to grow. Secure the edges with boards or soil and the plants will grow virtually pest free right up until harvest.
This month is a good time to start dividing summer-blooming perennials including amaryllis, calla, canna, daylily, iris, and liriope. It is also a good time to divide hardy ferns. Work a few inches of compost into the soil and reset these plants for renewed growth. Don't allow them to dry out in the dividing and replanting process. Share a few with your gardening friends too!
Control Perennial Weeds Now
Fall is a good time to control those difficult to eradicate perennial weeds like nutsedge, wild blackberry, poison ivy, and bermudagrass. Options include hand digging (watch out for the poison ivy!) or sprays of a herbicide such as glyphosate. The plants are storing sugars for winter and are more susceptible to these control efforts now than they would be in spring.
Start Cuttings to Overwinter Tender Plants
Now is a great time to start cuttings from cold-tender landscape plants which will soon be killed by the first hard freeze. Select shoots that are in between succulent and woody. Take cuttings about 4 inches long, remove leaves from the lower 2 of the cutting, dip in a rooting compound. and place in a moist chamber in a bright area but not in direct sunlight. Most species will root in a couple of months. They can them be transplanted into containers and overwintered in a greenhouse, sunroom, or other bright indoor location.