The Neighborhood Gardener – October

A plant stem with round clusters of bright purple berries spaced out upon it

Happy Florida fall gardening!

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Growing Your Groceries

Man working in garden Can you save money on your grocery bill by growing food at home? It’s possible, but challenging. In this article, we offer some guidelines for keeping your yields high and your costs low. For the closet mathematicians among us, we also put together a table listing the average selling price of different vegetable crops. If the economics of gardening is something you’d like to know more about, we think this will be an interesting read! Read the full article.

Mushrooms and Other Fascinating Fungi

Tan mushroomDuring Florida’s rainy season fungi flourish. Toadstools, fairy-rings, puffballs and a hundred other alien shapes appear in the landscape, seemingly overnight. In this article we answer frequently asked questions about fungi and explore strategies for identifying and removing them from your landscape. For the mushroom lovers among us, we have some suggestions for cultivating edible varieties, too! Read the full article.

Wendy's Wanderings

Wendy WilberIt's Halloween season if you haven’t noticed. This is the time when our beloved plants and gardening materials compete with inflatable pumpkins and scary skeleton decorations for floor space at the garden centers. I am all for it this year; I find it a nice distraction and it shows that time is marching on in this epic year of 2020. But I won’t be adding extra Halloween decorations to my landscape this year. There is enough scary stuff going on in the yard. When you think scary in the garden, your mind might go quickly to stinging caterpillars, venomous spiders, or velvet ants but for me it is frightening plants. Read "What Lurks in the Garden?"

Plant of the Month: Lovegrass

Tufts of ornamental grass tall with narrow blades We think this grass deserves its name — and a place in your landscape! What’s not to love about a low-maintenance, drought-tolerant, native ornamental that thrives in every hardiness zone of Florida? Purple lovegrass and Elliot’s lovegrass both bloom between October and November, adding a golden-brown or purple mist of fall color that will soften any landscape. Read the full article.

Swamp Sunflower

Deep yellow flowerFlorida is home to a number of native sunflower species. One of the most attractive is the swamp sunflower! Born to brighten the landscape, attract pollinators, and shelter wildlife, this plant is a must for Florida gardens. Swamp sunflowers fill fence lines and form beautiful mass plantings that keep the neighborhood bees buzzing with delight. They’re in bloom now and are one of our favorite pieces of fall color. Learn more about swamp sunflower.

MGV Book Club

Cover of Bringing Nature Home bookThis month the Florida MGV Book Club continues to explore the world of backyard ecology as we read “Bringing Nature Home,” and it's not too late to join us! Our October title is an award-winning book about welcoming wildlife to our urban and suburban jungles. If you're passionate about gardening, interested in native insects and plants, or devoted to caring for the world around you, this is the book (and the book club) for you. More

October in Your Garden

Red strawberriesEven though temperatures are still warm, begin planting for the cooler months ahead. Dianthus, petunia, and pansy are good annuals for the fall garden. Planting bulbs like agapanthus and lilies now will bring spring and summer flowers. Choices for the edible garden are many, including salad greens and turnips.

For more month-by-month gardening tips, check out the Florida Gardening Calendar. Three different editions of the calendar provide specific tips for each of Florida's gardening regions—North, Central, and South.

What's Going On?

If your Master Gardener Volunteer program or Extension office is having an event, be sure to share it with us.