Now that fall has arrived, it’s a good time to prep gardens and begin planting, pruning and fertilizing old and new plants. Fall gardening could be considered similar to spring gardening up North. Plants and annuals will thrive during the Florida fall months because the weather is not hot enough to burn new buds and not cold enough to freeze new blossoms. Also, kitchen gardens thrive this time of year thanks to subtle breezes during the warm days and cool nights.
Surrounded by palm trees and perennials, Florida residents don't get to experience a fall leaf change. A good way to make up for the lack of color in the landscape is to incorporate fall colors in your home garden and flower beds. Mike McLaughlin, the director of horticulture at Selby Gardens, noted that Selby is in the process of planting 5,000 annuals, which will change the look and feel of the gardens to reflect the fall season colors of reds, oranges and yellows.
Gail Keiser, a member of the landscaping team at Your Farm & Garden, says fall-colored mums would make the perfect addition to anyone's seasonal garden. McLaughlin and Keiser offered their expertise on what to plant and how to care for those plants during prime gardening season in this week’s fall gardening preview.
WHAT TO PLANT...
nasturtium (edible flower)
ornamental cabbage and kale
... Tips for care
Companion planting — Some plants do better when they are planted near other plants. Tomatoes, basil and oregano thrive when planted near one another. “It’s like a little Italian herb garden,” said Gail Keiser. Keiser recommends planting marigolds around the grouping to detract insects.
Fertilization — The ban on fertilizing in Sarasota County was lifted Oct. 1. Fertilize all your plants, trees and lawn using a slow release fertilizer.
Irrigation — Make sure to change your irrigation settings when it comes to your garden. MIke McLaughlin warns that if irrigation is not adjusted there can be fungal issues and rot.
Pruning — For Keiser, pruning is key when it comes to fall gardening. “Now is the time to cut back things that are overgrown and new growths won’t get burnt or frozen, ” she said.
Transplanting — Plants that you want to move will do better and survive if they are transplanted during October and November when the weather is less harsh.
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