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Landscapes, Gardens & More in the Florida Panhandle

October 2017

Landscapes are beginning to show color and we are ready to travel north to see the start of the season change. This makes me think that fall starts up north and slowly travels south. If we follow the leaf color and the daily temperature this is verified. But September 22nd is when the summer ended and fall began all over the United States. We went to a lot of trouble to plant native and non-native trees in our landscape to enjoy this experience without traveling north. Remember the Florida Red Maple purchased so you could see the red color in the fall. How about the Yellow Poplar that will display the large yellow leaves that is standing near the ornamental pear tree that is displaying the beautiful red leaves. If we wait a short time the hickories will turn gold along with the gingko. Dogwoods will be full of red leaves and red berries while the evergreen yaupon will show its red berries that are prized decorations. Go on and travel north and enjoy the colors as the forest gets ready for winter and a time of rest. It is cooler up there and things seem to go to sleep faster and for a longer time. Remember when you get back your fall and winter landscape you worked so hard for is still here and performing as you planned. There is nothing like ending the color change you have followed in your own yard.

Before you leave to see the color change up north, think about the fall and winter garden you can leave behind and enjoy when you return. Now is the time to plant an array of vegetables. It is the season for greens and other cold hardy garden favorites. Let me list a few of the vegetables that you can leave growing while you are gone. Collards, lettuce, beets, carrots, mustard, kale, arugula, cabbage, turnips, rutabagas, broccoli, cauliflower, and onions to name a few. Don’t forget that there are a variety of each of these.

There are many ways to plant these. If you have plenty of space put them in the ground. This is the traditional way a family raised vegetables in the fall and winter. In today’s fast paced world, we do not always have time for the big family garden. If you only have room for a few pots on the patio or in the flower bed, consider planting a vegetable that you can take the leaves off of and eat such as collards, lettuce or kale. If you have a raised bed pick out a number of them and plant them there. No matter where you decide to do your gardening, it will be a rewarding experience.

October is the time to consider your fruit trees. Maybe replacing some, adding some new ones or starting an orchard. There are many different trees that you can place in the orchard. If you are not familiar with the fruit trees that perform well in the panhandle of Florida, visit your local nursery or county agent for information. Many people want to grow peaches but do not understand that all peaches will not grow in this area. This also holds true for apples, pears, citrus and many other fruit trees. Don’t fall in to the trap that if it is available at the store, it must grow here. Check with the local nursery or county agent to be sure which will perform best.

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