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Salvia officinalis
Salvia officionalis
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!

September, October, November guava may bloom.

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.


August, September, October may be the time for pears to receive their second half of fertilizer. When pear trees start bearing fruit, it is the time to fertilize pear trees with an all purpose fertilizer. The calculation is (1/3 to 1/2 cup * age of tree)/2.

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.


August, September, October harvest olives and cure.

In August, September, October, November your figs may start producing the main crop. Some fig trees only produce a breba crop in our climate (Desert King). Check fig trees daily for ripe fruits.  Figs are ripe when they are soft to the touch, some may drip honey from the eye and the fig droops on the tree.

In October or November, fuyu persimmon may become ripe. Fuyu persimmons become fully orange when ripe and are edible when still firm.  They can be allowed to ripen more and eaten when soft as well.

In October or November, guava may become ripe. The guava is ripe when the color changes from bright green to a softer yellow green and maybe even a pink hue with a slightly soft feel, much like an avocado.  A ripe guava scent becomes musky, sweet and 'penetrating'

October, November, December, January harvest bacupari (Garcinia gardneriana) and white sapote fruit.

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


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.


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.


October, November remove unfruited kiwi shoots not required for the next season.  Cut erect water shoots to two or more buds.

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.


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.


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.


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 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. 

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