October here at the Sandpit is a catchup month as far as the garden is concerned. The lower temps and humidity this month in South Florida make it a fine time to attend to the grunt work that the summer heat denied.
So that means the Avocado tree gets trimmed back as well as the shrubbery. The October winds start up this time of year and dry everything growing in a container out almost overnight. So I have started planting most of my container plants out into the soil adding the compost and leaf mold that came from this years composting.
Most of the gardening here this month is basic boring work that needed to be done. But there are a few new things to report.
The hanging basket that I had hoped to grow Nasturtiums in and replanted with Marigolds is in bloom. After learning that South Florida ,Nasturtiums, and Summertime do not belong in the same sentence this basket is the Summertime replacement.
These were grown from seed and are supposed to be a dwarf type French Marigold. They are annual plants so by the time these are spent it should be cooled down enough to try the Nasturtiums seeds again.
These were started in the newspaper rolled starter pots and the seed sprouts ,newspaper pots and all,were planted in the basket. They have done really well and I am impressed with the free rolled newspaper starter pots. They work well and are free. That kind of thing impresses me especially the free part.
Marigolds usually don't grow that well here at the Sandpit but these are doing well. Maybe being in the hanging basket with lots of compost instead of the soil with lots of sand is the difference. They can look good planted in a bed with lots of plants.
I saw this garden bed of Marigolds out in a hotel parking lot in L.A. California. They looked pretty good but I suspect they are replaced really often to keep the blooms going.
I also read that certain types of Marigolds are good for repelling bad Nematodes in the soil and are used as a companion plant. You are supposed to plant them beside Tomatoes, Roses and Potatoes.
You do not plant them near Beans or Cabbage. Is this true? Who knows. But it is Southern folklore that Marigolds repel snakes.
Another plant that likes the slightly cooler warm weather is the Dendrobium Orchid. This little guy couldn't wait to bloom this year. As soon as the nighttime temp started getting below 80 degrees at the start of this month it began blooming.
I got this Orchid a while back from a lady who gave away a bunch of Orchids on Freecycle.
It was in kind of bad shape when I picked it up but has rebounded and doing well now. I re potted it in a homemade hanging basket made from fence wire scrap from another project.
I put some old nylon screen on the inside of the wire pot to hold in some bark potting mix. It works real good as the Orchid roots get lots of airflow and dries out quickly. Beside it was free.
You can see in this picture how the Orchid roots are growing out through the nylon screen. This guy would probably prefer to be mounted on a tree but the wire basket with the screen and bark mix is working fine. Besides now that it is blooming I can move it up front to be enjoyed and if the freezes come this Winter like last year move it inside.
Another plant from the Sandpit that likes October seems to be the Blanket flowers. These are wildflowers planted from seeds that I first started in the soil, moved to a hanging basket, then moved back to the soil in the garden.
In Fact this is the original plant that I first planted as a seed today still producing flowers in the garden. When it was in the hanging basket the flowers were much larger but it had to be hand watered almost twice a day to keep the plant from drying out and wilting. I moved it from the hanging pot and planted it in the garden and it gets watered whenever it rains now.It seems really happy and just blooms and blooms and blooms some more.
Here are two more of the Indian Blanket flowers that I planted from the seed pack later directly into the garden.
The one in back has the same red orange colors but the one in front has bloomed all solid yellow.
Weird, but I really like these flowers. They are tough wildflowers that produce abundant blooms with minimal care. I cut the blooms off all the time and give them to my wife. These plants are better than FTD florist and free.
All the work associated with my Avocado tree cutback has paid off already. When tropical storm Paula swung by South Florida the stormy weather started a lot of the Avocado's falling . Not one impacted my shed roof . So the battle plan of a no grow zone over the shed roof is working.
Of course my garden helper and trusty assistant Odette was the first one to claim her Avocado's.
She has this strange ritual where she pulls out the grass all the way around the Avocado. After she is satisfied that no grass is touching the Avocado only then she eats the top off.