The Neighborhood Gardener – October

A mass of golden yellow daisy-like flowers with brown centers

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Cleaning Up After a Hurricane

Man using chainsaw to cut up downed tree and wearing all the safety gearHurricane Ian cut a wide swath across Florida; even communities that weren't directly affected may have experienced some damage to the landscape. If you had trees or limbs come down, you might have wanted to rush out and start clearing, but some work is better left to professionals. If you choose to clean up the damage on your own, make sure you have the right tools, equipment, and basic safety knowledge before you begin. This article from Gardening Solutions shares safety guidelines, plus when and how to contact a professional.

Restoring Trees After a Storm

Large branch broken and hanging from tree trunkNot all trees damaged in storms need to be removed. But how can a homeowner tell if their tree can be restored? There are signs, such as having only smaller branches broken, and some species are better candidates than others, but it's a complicated topic and contacting a certified arborist is recommended. Read on for more information on tree restoration after a storm, including links to other excellent UF/IFAS resources on tree care.


cabbageThis month is an ideal time to plant cabbage in your edible garden. Florida is third in the nation for cabbage production, with more than half of it coming from Northeast Florida. This attractive and nutritious plant can be planted throughout the state, and there's more variety to choose from than you might think. There are types that form the tight, traditional-looking heads, but there are loose-leaf varieties as well. Bravo and Bronco are the two most popular green cabbage varieties that are grown commercially in Florida, but read on for many more options.

Wendy's Wanderings

Wendy WilberI hope you are old enough to remember the mullet hair style. Back then we joked that it was "business in the front and party in the back." As unbelievable as it may seem this hairdo is making a comeback, especially with athletes and actors. I think another place for the mullet style is your landscape. Over the years I have spoken to many homeowners that would love to have a wilder, non-traditional landscape. They feel they are limited by social norms and homeowner associations for what they can do in their front yard. Find out how the mullet inspired Wendy.

Plant of the Month: Bat Flower

Unusual looking purple flower with long whiskery stamensWith ghostly bracts that look like wings, the bat flower is a unique addition to any home gardener's collection. Bat flower has shiny, bright green leaves. In late summer to fall, it blooms on a stem from the center of the plant, with a cluster of purple flowers in the center. Above these flowers are two bracts (leaves that resemble flower petals) that resemble wings. Bat flower can be grown in similar conditions that orchids are grown in — ample humidity, strong airflow, and low to moderate light. Learn more about the Tacca species.

October in Your Garden

strawberriesEven though temperatures are still warm, begin planting for the cooler months ahead. Refresh your flower beds with annuals like petunia and dianthus. In the edible garden, plant greens, potatoes, and of course, strawberries. Control winter weeds before they get the upper hand; preemergence herbicides must be applied at the right time to be effective. Apply when nighttime temperatures are 55°F–60°F for 4–5 days, and avoid "weed and feed" products.

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.