Perfect planting season is upon us

R. Lewis
J&R Landscaping
Special to the Parade

October is one of my favorite gardening months of the year.  

The “To-Do” list of gardening activities for October is a long list of fun things to do outside in the garden, and the weather is a little more comfortable as well. September rains have helped our plants put on a flush of new growth and all of our plants are blooming beautifully now.  

Hopefully you were able to find some tomato transplants and get them planted in September.  Now it’s time to fertilize them and it is very critical to watch them for whiteflies.  With the large cotton crops just being harvested, the result is the whitefly is prevalent, since the cotton plant is a major host plant for whitefly.  Now that cotton plants are gone they are likely to find your plants to call home.  Don’t let them: the whitefly can be very damaging and can inject disease into your plants, especially tomato plants.  Luckily, they are easy to control with most organic sprays like Neem Oil, Spinosad or Pyrethrins spray.  Any chemical spray will knock them out, but the main thing to remember is a second and third application to be sure you’ve nailed them.

Fertilizing is very important for all of your vegetable plants that you have just started in September.  I have always had good luck with my organic fertilizers like Espoma, Medina and even the good old fashioned Bone Meal and Blood Meal.  But any of the chemical fertilizers you find now will work and, along with milder temperatures, they are all safe and will definitely help produce more fruit.  With organics you can make more frequent applications throughout the season, with the chemicals it is easier to “overdose” the plants and possibly hurt them seriously.  It’s just me, but I feel better eating organic vegetables that I grow.

Planting fall vegetable plants like broccoli, lettuce, cauliflower, kale, onions, cabbage, etc., are just going into season now.  These can be planted by seed now and here shortly you will find transplants of many of these varieties at the nurseries.  For herb plants this is by far one of the best times to plant most any of your choices.  If you like basil, it is time to get that going now.  These will probably need protection from cold winds so plant them with an idea of how to protect them later.  One of the most popular plants, cilantro, can be planted now until the beginning of next year.  People always think of this as a spring plant, but if you plant it in spring it will “bolt” and stop producing foliage and go to seed.

Remember that now, as we enter into a milder period with a little more rain, is one of the best times to plant.  Whether its fall vegetables, perennial plants, shrubs or trees, now is the best time to plant.  Also, the cooler weather makes it nicer to do a good day’s work in the garden.  

Stay busy in the garden.  Until next time, stay safe and be well.   

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