september 2014 newsletter
Phil's Jungle Paradise
Florida gardener's almanac
You can bury a lot
digging in the dirt.
monthly timetable of gardening chores:
September in the Florida Garden:
September marks the starts of
Florida’s Fall gardening season.
If you are a keen observer of nature, you will begin seeing the shadows
getting longer and longer in the afternoon and the first swallows of
the season from up north flitting around on their way south.
"Continued warm and scattered showers" will be a familiar refrain from
the TV weathermen and we will be hearing more and more about tropical
storms and hurricanes since we are now in the thick of their seasonal
activity. Despite the feeling that this month sometimes seems
hotter than last, make no mistake about it, there are only twenty-two
more days left of summer then the cooler, dryer weather will be upon us.
tends to be one of Florida's wettest months.
Because of this, lush growth can be expected from many of your plants,
but flowers will not be so evident. This is the month, however,
when mangos, avocados and guavas ripen. And now is the time to
begin starting vegetable seeds throughout much of the state. Make
sure that you have enriched your gardening plots with peat, composted
products, or animal manures before you put your seedlings out! If
your land tends to flood during the heavy seasonal rains, consider
building raised beds and run your beds east and west to take advantage
of the sunlight as we move into the winter season.
If you have a
black thumb when it comes to starting seeds many garden centers and
nurseries will have transplants available. If you do
decide on trying to start seeds, make sure not to plant them too
deeply--follow the recommendations on the packet -- most seeds need
only to be barely covered with soil to sprout successfully.
Additionally, be sure to water daily if for some reason the rains do
not do it for you.
If you are a
gardener who chooses to live in an area with zero lot lines, consider container
Make sure to use big enough containers for large vegetables like
peppers, tomatoes and squashes so they do not become pot-bound. A
four to five gallon sized container is usually what they require.
mulching planted beds.
Mulch is also an important consideration this time of the year to help
keep weeds in check, to help enrich the soil and to prevent the soil
from drying out when we get into the dry season.
Pests are also
of major concern when growing vegetables.
You may not see stinkbugs, cabbageworms, tomato hornworms or big-legged
bugs all year, but as soon as their favorite vegetables begin growing,
they know it and will be in your garden before you know it. Hand
picking the insects may solve the problem, but if not, please read all
the directions and take the proper precautions when applying pesticides
for control. Pesticides are, after all, poisons and they can take
a toll on more than just the bad bugs in your garden.
Insecticides do not differentiate between good bugs, bad bugs, birds,
fish, pets or you. They can and will harm all of the above
if not used with due care.
If you are
growing bougainvilleas this is the last month to prune them and only
for the removal of awkward growth.
Do not water or feed them again until the early part of next
summer. If you do not follow this advice it may negatively effect
flower production next season.
This is also
the last time to prune poinsettias. Poinsettia
flower buds begin forming after the middleof October. If you
desire a nice show for the holiday season, do not prune them after this
month. Because the best flowers on poinsettias are produced at
the tips of healthy branches, encourage your plants to make as many
branches as possible with judicious pruning. Small, spindly
plants will require more pruning than plants with large trunks and
strong branches. After pruning you may give your poinsettias a
shot of general-purpose fertilizer then some high potash fertilizer at
the end of October. When new foliage begins to show after
pruning, watch out for hornworms, which are fond of the new tender
foliage. Also be careful of where your poinsettias are planted as
they rely on the shortening of the daylight they receive as a cue to
begin budding. Car lights, porch lights and streetlights will
throw this timing off. Poinsettias bloom when they enter a
reproductive state when the nights are 12 hours long or longer.
This reproductive state can be interrupted by even small light sources
that shine on the plants when they are supposed to be in the dark of
night. If this reproductive state is interrupted the plants will
Best bets for
starting a traditional garden this month are:
Beans, Beets, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Chinese Cabbage,
Carrots, Cauliflower, Collards, Cucumbers, Eggplants, Escarole, Kale,
Lettuce, Mustard, Onion Sets, Peas, Peppers, Radishes, Romaine,
Rutabagas, Spinach, Squash, Strawberries, Sweet Corn, Swiss Chard,
Tomatoes and Turnips.
Herbs: Anise, Basil, Borage,
Chervil, Marjoram, Parsley, Sesame and Thyme.
Asters, Baby's Breath, Bachelor's Buttons, Balsam, Calendulas,
Candytufts, Carnations, Cosmos, Cockscombs, Daisies, Dianthus,
Forget-Me-Nots, Gaillardias, Globe Amaranth, Hollyhocks, Lace Flowers,
Lobelias, Lupines, Marigolds, Nasturtiums, Salvias, Scabiosa,
Snapdragons, Statice, Stock, Strawflowers, Sweetpeas, Sweet William,
Verbenas and Zinnia.
Home Grown; Florida Gardening Month by Month
Our next meeting is on Sunday,
September 21st at 5pm. We will be heading over the Skyway to
Dan's house in Bradenton. We were at Dan's house more than a year
ago and if you haven't been, you are in for a treat. Dan's garden
is very Asian inspired and includes a Japanese Tea House.
You will need to bring a chair this month. Water and
ice will be provided. We will have our usual pot-luck, so try
cooking skills on this appreciative audience. Don't forget to
bring a plant for the raffle and maybe a few dollars for the 50/50
Baseball raffle - the pot is GROWING!
If you plan to
bring a guest, please email
Joe so he can make your guest a nametag.
to Members page
This month the plant I choose to talk about is the night-blooming
jasmine (Cestrum nocturnum).
Cestrum is from
the potato family of plants (Solanaceae)
native to the West Indies and grows easily here in Florida. I
have had one growing outside my screen door for the past 10 years and
it is still gowing strong.
It is a shrub rather than a tree or vine and can grow as tall as
12 feet, but can be maintained as a low shrub. I keep mine
between 3 and 4 feet tall. This is a woodsy strub, with plenty of
simple 4-6" shiny leaves. It is non-disiduous, but a
caterpillars, so mine is bare of leaves several times a year.
The night blooming jasmine blooms profusely several times a year in
warm weather. The blooms are clusters of 1.5" tubular trumpets
that have a heavily sweet smell that permeates the night air.
Though mine is planted in the back yard, you can smell it in the
driveway when it is in bloom. After it blooms, it can produce
small white berries, though mine never has.
It is very easy to propagate through small, fast-growing cuttings.
It tolerates all levels of sunlight, though it blooms best when
given full sun. It is great as a landscaping plant as it keeps a
slender 4 foot profile as a single shrub.
Norm has graciously offered to
take photographs at all of the meetings
he attends. This is a tremendous help to me as the photos give me
the inspiration to write the newsletter. So please join me in
thanking Norm at your next meeting for pitching in for the club!
Mike and Ken donated a
gas-powered weed wacker that was auctioned off at the last meeting.
John W. generously bid $50.00 for it and won the auction.
The money is joining the proceeds of the 50/50 Baseball Raffle for
our Christmas celebration. My thanks goes to Mike and Ken for
their donation, to John for his generous bid, and to Joe and Bob for
running the 50/50 raffle. BTW: The raffle prize is up to
more than $80.00 this month! Good luck to all who play!
Jim N. has asked to be excused from his position of Plant Raffleator.
The demands of work will keep him from being able to attend the
meetings on a regular basis. This is particularly sorry news for
me as I have looked forward to Jim's outstanding display of plant
knowledge since the club began. His incomparable memory of plant
data is phenomenal. I think he learned Latin in the womb!
So, this announcement is two-fold. Please join me in
thanking Jim for his incredible and active participation in the club
and for his continued visits when work permits. Secondly, who
will step forward to attempt to take his place?
future meeting locations
We still have
the final month of the year open for anyone wishing to host. In
addition, we need to fine speakers
willing to give us gardening presentations. If you are
interested in hosting the December meeting or in giving a 30 minute
presentation contact me.
September - Dan B. in Sarasota
October - Jesse and Don in Sarasota
November - John and Norm in Palm
December - open
Spring - Island's Bamboo in