Saturday, September 20, 2014

What's Growin On In October

Salvia officinalis
Salvia officinalis

What's Growin On In October

October is a great time to clean up the garden. It's finally starting to cool off (under 100 most days) which is very inspiring to get outside in the fresh air. Clean out dead branches and dead flowerheads. Chop it all up and throw it in the composter. It's a perfect time for planting bulbs. Just plant them either alone or with an annual plant so you don't have to worry about mucking around in the roots of a perennial. Deciduous plants should be dropping leaves and making them a perfect backdrop for Halloween!

Divide and Conquer

If you haven't divided the perennials, all is not lost. Perennials let you know they need division when flowers are smaller than normal, centers of the clumps that are hollow and dead, or when the bottom foliage is sparse and poor. If you must, never do so on a hot, sunny day. Either bring the plant inside or wait for a cloudy day with potential of rain in the forecast.

Feeding:

Following all the amending and rejuvinating, the feeding needs should be all set from September. If you feed this month always water first, then apply fertilizers to moist soils, and then continue with the rest of the water. Resume full fertilizing of established roses as the weather cools.

Harvesting:

We can harvest arugula, basil, blackeye beans, lima beans, pinto beans, soy beans, yardlong beans, corn, armenian and standard cucumber, eggplant, jicama, melons, okra, multiplier onions, oregano, peppers, pumpkins, sage, summer and winter squash, sunfloewrs, sweet potatoes, swiss chard, thyme, tomatillo, tomatoes, turnips and watermelon. For flowers, we can harvest anise hyssop, basil blossoms, chicory, chrysanthemum, clover trifolium, common mallow, day lilies, nasturtiums, queen anne's lace, rosemary blossoms, sage blossoms, savory blossoms, sunflower, zea mays corn shoots

Mulching:

Mulch the planters your using for this season. Another mulching option is to plant compatible companion ground covers around the bottom of the big potted plants for a live mulch that can droop over the edges of the planter to keep the roots cooler and prevent evaporation.

Planting:

October is the best month for planting trees, so we'll probably see a bunch available at the local retailers like Costco, Home Depot and Lowe's. This is also a great season for planting edible flowers, and local nurseries will have some for transplants and seed. In October we can plant asparagus, brocolli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, celery, mint, multiplier onions, oregano, sage, and thyme.

Pruning:

The rule of pruning is to never remove more than 1/4 of the total plant. Always use sharp, sterile, quality pruning tools and disinfect them between cuts to prevent the spread of disease. Rodale has an excellent article on garden tool maintenance. In citrus, trim unwanted sprouts from the interior of the canopies. This makes it easier to harvest fruit. Keep spent rose blooms pruned.

Sowing:

We can sow winter vegetables, and the list includes globe artichoke, arugula, fava beans, garbanzo beans, lentils, beets, bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, cilantro, collards, dill, endive, fennel, garlic, kale, lavender, leeks, lettuce, mizuna, mustard greens, bulb onions, scallions, parsley, parsnip, peas, radishes, rutabaga, spinach, swiss chard, thyme and turnips. October flowers for planting include african daisy, calendula, carnation, dianthus, english daisy, hollyhocks, nasturtium, pansy, pinks, snapdragon, sweet william, lemon verbena, and viola. We can also plant bulgs for grape grape hyacinth, oxalis/wood sorrel.

Sunning:

We probably don't need a cold frame at this time, but it is good to be prepared! If you have one prepare it for the new year. If not, Mother Earth News has an article about growing veggies all year round with a couple of raised beds.

Shading:

We don't really need any shade to protect plants from sunburn, and we aren't yet expecting any frost. So, during this time we really don't have anything to put over the plants.

Water:

Water newly planted shrubs and trees regularly. Cut back watering of all trees and shrubs by about one-third as weather cools, but continue to water deep. Don't over water or fungus will grow.

Yardening With Dogs, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Penelope (left) and Mickey (right)
Penelope (left) and Mickey (right)

Yardening With Dogs


December of last year, we lost a great pet, Phoebe.  She was such a doll.  We decided to wait a while to experience the joy and jubilance that dogs express so easily.  This last month we missed the liveliness so much we adopted two dogs from the local shelter.

We ended up getting an odd lot, who were caged separately and alone.  We met Penelope and had a bit of time getting acquainted.  Then we found Mickey and had a little time with him.  Then we brought them together for a little meet and greet.  Penelope was playful and Mickey reacted well...  Sold.  They look so cute, right?

The Dogs

Penelope Shar-Pei Mix
Penelope Shar-Pei Mix
Penelope is some kind of Shar-Pei mix.  She is two years plus and such a sweet and adorable dog.  A bit obstinate at times, but a generally laid-back dog and very sociable.

We discovered she is allergic to bees.  This we know because she met the slump block bees and broke out in hives not too long after the greeting they provided.  We gave her a Benadryl, some TLC and the hives subsided. She got a bit of a fat lip for just one day and nothing after that.  She hasn't bothered the bees since that incident last week.

Penelope picked Mr. Man. She loves him dearly.

Mickey looks to be a Boston Terrier mix.  He is just under one year
Mickey Boston Terrier Mix
Mickey Boston Terrier Mix
old and is quite impish (as the photo implies).  He is very excitable, pretty high energy and quite a handful.  If the door is open, he will bolt for it.  He is getting better though.  Mickey also met the bees, probably within the first few days after bringing them home.  He ran from the slump blocks shaking his head and probably had 4 or 5 stingers on his face.  No symptoms and he didn't seem to be in any kind of pain after that.

Mickey picked me.  Mickey loves everyone... :/

The Good


Solanum melongena
Solanum melongena fruit
Our garden still puts forth a few things, even though we have been preoccupied with indoor work, the new dogs and a general garden malaise due to the heat.  Luckily the water is automatically timed and we have little to do out there but check the plants for general health and bugs.

Solanum melongena flower
Solanum melongena flower
General health overall is still a bit lame due to issues mentioned in the bad and ugly sections of this post.  We have some beautiful, deep purple eggplants that taste so good grilled on the barbie.  The eggplant
flowers are such a nice combination of lavender and powerful yellow against a green backdrop.  Nature is full of beautiful color combinations.

Luffa Cylindrica
Luffa Cylindrica
We have some luffa gourds starting to form and become more prolific (must be the humidity of the monsoon).  I am looking forward to plucking off some home-grown luffa sponge goodness and not paying retail for them.

We are getting tons of tomatillos that we can use to make and can
Physalis philadelphica
Physalis philadelphica
our own enchilada sauce.  We've had a couple of good experiences making our own with store bought tomatillos and are really looking foward to home grown and canned!

Allium schoenoprasum
Allium schoenoprasum
Despite the trampling described in the bad, the chives are putting out flower heads with little bulblets, which we'll let go to seed and hopefully grow even more chives.  Chives are awesome as well as attractive!

The yardlong bean flowers are quite attractive.  They seem to be
Vigna unguiculata ssp.
Vigna unguiculata ssp.
more vividly colored for some reason.  We've enjoyed many more yardlong beans this year than we did last year and it appears to be a prolific and long-blooming bean.

The Bad


Ocimum basilicum Lime Basil
Ocimum basilicum Lime Basil
We have four types of basil that has been growing freely in our backyard.  For some reason, Mickey and Penelope love the lime and globe basil.  They run into the house smelling so fragrant... it is such a good smell.  And after looking at our basil, I can see why.

To the left is the lime basil and the chives that were flattened out.  They must have been pouncing on something, I'm not sure.  But they smelled good doing it and probably had a great time, too!

To the right is the globe basil.  I have no idea why they would have
Ocimum basilicum Globe Basil
Ocimum basilicum Globe Basil
pounced on this one.  It was growing kind of out of the way and they should have just ran past it.  Nope... I guess they thought it smelled quite lovely too!

I took some cuttings to start some new sprigs of basil.  My idea is to plant it all over the backyard wherever it will take hold and maybe the dogs can't trample all of it.  Applying the method of abundance...  I'll let you know how it works out.

Aloe barbadensis
Aloe barbadensis
Aloe.  This is concerning.  I didn't know it, but aloe is listed as toxic for dogs.  However, there is a website dedicated to giving dogs aloe as a supplement?  Were the dogs self-medicating or trying to commit suicide?  I really don't know, but I thought we were pretty cool humans to live with...

Not to make light of it, we really need to move the aloe away from general access by the dogs.

Severus was not powerful enough against the dogs.  The dogs helped
Olea europaea fruit 'Severus'
Olea europaea fruit 'Severus'
decide which branch to trim off and did away with the ripening olives as well.  No more waiting for the bonsai trimming.  That will be the next update post to the bonsai diaries.
Cymbopogon Citratus
Cymbopogon Citratus

Fighting fleas from the inside out...  It appears the dogs like the lemongrass and have been helping themselves to it with abandon.  Maybe eating the lemongrass helped with the digestive issues caused by eating the aloe.

No saffron crocus for me!  I had a planter with 10 bulbs that I have been waiting and waiting for.  No use waiting any more...
Invisible Crocus Sativus
Invisible Crocus Sativus
Where there was potting soil and crocus bulbs is now an empty pot.  No sign of the crocus bulbs.  I did find a very cute replacement that will be out of their way on Amazon.  I think I'll get the Saffron Crocus Kit with Solid Copper Planter!  Fortunately crocus sativus is not toxic to dogs.  Beware of meadow crocus, a totally different plant (Colchicum autumnale L.)

That pretty much sums up the damage report.  All-in-all, it was not that bad.  Everything is recoverable.

The Ugly

Three Lined Lema Beetle Larvae
Three Lined Lema Beetle Larvae
When I say ugly, I really do mean ugly. These are quite repulsive little bug larvae.  They all look like they have blistering on the rear abdomen and look very wet.  I do not want to touch them... at all.

The adult version doesn't look quite as disgusting, but being that it
Three Lined Lema Beetle Adult
Three Lined Lema Beetle Adult
started from the little wet-blistery larvae, I just can't find anything about them to like.  Not to mention they are feeding on our tomatillos, cucumbers and eggplants.  They.must.die.

We're pretty sure this is the Three Lined Lema beetle, but submitted the photos to bugguide.net for confirmation of what these insects are.