What can be planted in October?
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It is October already. What do I do now? Is it too late to plant things?
You are in luck. Now is vegetable time! Beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, turnips, cauliflower, peas, radishes, and carrots can be planted. All of your favorite greens can be planted as well, like lettuces, kale, mustard, spinach, Swiss chard, collard, and turnip greens.
You also may be thinking about transplanting shrubs or trees now that the weather is cooling. I recently removed all of my invasive nandina. Now I want to move my shaded flame acanthus into the spot where the nandina was. Doug Welsh in his Texas Garden Almanac says to wait longer before you transplant. In late winter cut three quarters of a circle around the plant with a sharpshooter shovel. In late December or January finish cutting your circle, dig a new hole where the shrub will go, then carefully move the plant without breaking the soil and place it in the hole.
I was out in my garden and a single bee was taking nectar from my salvia. I assume this is a bumblebee and would like to find out more about them.
A really good website about bumblebees in this area is texasbumblebees.com. From looking at range maps, I am going to guess you have an American bumblebee, although we have nine species in Texas. If you are interested in pursuing more identification resources, texasbumblebees.com lists several other sites.
Bumblebees can be easily observed and don’t seem to mind people watching them; however, they can sting and can sting multiple times, unlike European honeybees. If you find a colony, leave it alone. Bumblebees visit and pollinate hundreds of native flowering plant species which maintains biodiversity. Bumblebees also make contributions to agriculture and have pollinated blueberries, cucumbers, peppers, pumpkins and watermelons.
In my neighbor’s yard is a plant that looks much like a weed, although it has bright red leaves resembling a flower, sort of like a small poinsettia? What is it? Can I grow it here?
The plant you see blooming is Euphorbia cyathophora, or the Painted Poinsettia, or Fire on the Mountain, according to the Native Plant Society website. Red parts on the plant are not flowers, but are bright orange-red bracts. This, according to the website, is an annual, although I’ve had mine for almost two years. It re-seeds freely and the capsules, when they burst open, throw the seeds. If you have the plant in a rich flower bed, the plant may become weak. Using it as a background plant will help hold it upright as it uses the other plants for support.
I know you’ve mentioned fall fertilizing before. When is the best time?
Doug Welsh says to monitor your mowing frequency. When you don’t need to mow for two weeks, it is time to fertilize. Usually in our area that is around October 15. Your fertilizer in the fall should be high in nitrogen and potassium with little to no phosphorus. Use one pound of nitrogen for 1000 square feet. Fertilizing in the fall prolongs fall color, increases winter hardiness and promotes earlier spring green-up according to Welsh.
Clara Mae Marcotte is a Texas Master Gardener with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. If you have a question to be answered, call the Master Gardeners at 830-379-1972 or leave a message to be answered. The website is guadalupecountymastergardeners.org. The Master Gardener research library is open Mondays from 8:30 to noon, at 210 East Live Oak Street in Seguin.