Gardening in October here in USDA zone 9b is such a treat. The weather is finally a bit cooler and all the nurseries are stocking their inventory with lots of flowers and vegetables. I don’t want to jinx it but we are having great weather here. Here is my October Gardening update where things are really moving forward in the garden.
Results of My Soil Test
If you missed last month’s gardening blog hop edition, here it is. As you know, I purchased a soil test through Amazon and received the results within a week. It is super easy. You can find the test kit here. The last time my soil was tested was back in 2012. As a result of rotator cuff surgery, I was unable to work in the garden for several months. Fortunately, I secured some help by Farmyard Farmers. Not only did they test the soil, but did all the planting for me. It was one of the best gardening years ever. Here is their website.
In that soil test, my macronutrients were low. In this current soil test, my macronutrients are very high. I guessing that is a result of adding our own composting material.
I took these results to Whitfill Nursery and did a consultation. What did I need to do to increase my micronutrients? Did I need to worry about the high ratings on my macronutrients?
Here is what they suggested. With watering and over time the macronutrients will reduce so I didn’t need to address that. However, recommendations are made on how to bump up the micronutrients. The products they encouraged are:
- Zinc Sulfate
- Manganese Sulfate
- Liquid Copper
Most of these products are dry and you need to be careful about exposure to their dust. The only liquid product is the copper additive, which made a beautiful blue colored solution.
Letting the nutrients settle into the soil, I wait a few more day before I start planting. Now I feel the soil in my gardening beds is in top shape.
Protecting the Plants
Since I did have such a problem with pests disrupting my garden last spring, I am determined to protect my fall plant investment. Using metal hoops I create a frame to support either bird netting or tulle. Depending on the size of your beds, you can find several metal hoops here.
After planting lettuces, kale, herbs, and arugula, I cover the hoops with tulle that I purchased from a fabric store. Please note that I am trying to determine if tulle works for all plants because some need pollinating. It would be difficult for that to occur with the tight weave of the tulle.
Since my critters seem to be rather intelligent, I need to secure the tulle to the ground using landscape staples. Last year I purchased a box of these at Home Depot (very expensive) and they rusted. Hopefully this new batch will not rust. See resource here.
My garden has 5 raised beds; some will be covered and others not. The screen cloth in the above picture has since been removed as our sun isn’t as intense as the summer.
Unfortunately I did fail to pin down the tulle covering my cauliflower and this is the end result…one night’s worth of noshing.
What’s Growing in the Garden
Here is what I am currently growing (vegetables):
- Herbs (thyme, sage, lemon balm, tarragon)
- Shishito Peppers
- A Variety of tomatoes
- Heirloom beets
- Heirloom carrots
- French Breakfast radishes
My Seed Starter Project
Inspired by the other gardeners on this blog hop, I am attempting to grow flowers from seeds. We’ll see how this goes. According to my research, the planting of these seedlings should take place in October/November.
- Sweet Peas
Supporting the Plants
One of the best investments I have made in my garden is purchasing well-made tomato cages. These are from Burpee and they last from year to year, and made in the USA. They fold down when not in use and are made from a rust-resistant galvanized steel. Here’s the the link to Burpee. Of course, Amazon also has a wide variety of tomato cages here.
My sweet husband made a strawberry cage for me last year and I just planted fast growing strawberries. Typically I plant strawberries in the spring garden, but I’m curious if these will produce before the cold sets in. Plus they are supposed to be perennials. To see the blog post on the building of the strawberry cage, click here.
Great time to plant bulbs
You can plant bulbs that have low chilling requirements (they don’t need a cold period before starting to grow). Amaryllis, anemone, calla, daffodils, iris, mascara, oxalis, and ranunculus. Put bulbs that need chilling in your fridge for 6 to 8 weeks (crocus, hyacinth, tulip).
As many gardens around the US are getting ready to go dormant, my garden is just starting. It’s exciting to be growing fresh vegetables in the fall and winter. Hopefully, the critters will be managed and with healthier soil, I’ve got my fingers crossed for a successful growing season.
Thanks for joining me today and I’m happy now to share what my gardening buddies are doing in other parts of the country.
Onto the Garden Blog Hop!
Chas from Chas’ Crazy Creations lives in Colorado and is getting ready to winterize her garden. You can see it here.
Kim from Shiplap and Shells lives in the Pacific Northwest. She has an AMAZING flower garden and here are her tips on 9 Fall Plants that are Perfect for Container Gardens. See it here.
Stacy from Bricks ‘n Blooms is a Jersey gal and an incredible garden. Here are her suggestions for 19 Easy to Find Plants for Fall Garden containers. Click here.