Garden Monthly Update: September 2016

Garden News

September is really the time of rejuvenation for the garden here in the low desert after the hot months of summer. The pepper plants are in full bloom with lots of baby peppers and the eggplant is also starting to produce. I have many baby cucumbers spotted on the vines that I kept protected through the hot summer. I have started my fall/winter planting and already have bok choy, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots and zucchini well on their way. The melons also picked up on production as the daytime temperatures dropped in September with the tiger melon (honeydew type), really ramping up with over a dozen little melons in production and several already harvested. I am happy to report that the tomatillo plants started from seed in August are doing great and have lots of blooms that hopefully translate into fruit over the next couple months. The okra is still going strong with just a slight slow down in growth rate with the cooler nights, but still producing a steady supply each day/week. The black krim tomato plants really took off in September with lots of new growth and a lot of flowering with several baby tomatoes spotted. I have also cleaned up the dead growth on the many types of herb plants and planted some new plants in several locations. The basil continued to thrive in the warm days of September. I have already planted my onions and garlic for the season and I am planning to get many things planted in the first couple weeks of October including kale, lettuce, cabbage, snow peas and dill just to mention a few. I have a few large cantaloupes that should ripen up in the next few weeks before I will remove these plants. A full day of rain on the 2nd of October is a good sign for the fall and great way to start the month in the garden.



Planting guide updates include - No new updates this month.


- Continued steady okra production.

- Lots lizards, gecko's and praying mantis in the garden.

- The black krim tomato plants are setting fruit.

- The tiger melon plants ramped up production.

- New plants and seeds are doing great so far!

- Finally some rain!


- The horn worm season is here and daily diligence required to keep them in control.

- Though the banana trees do very well, they do not produce enough bananas to warrant the care and space - we pulled out our ice cream banana trees.

"Hot" Topic

Herbs - As the daytime temperatures are now below 100 degrees, it is the best time to get your herbs going. Remove dead growth and trim back existing plants as needed and get your seeds or transplants planted so they can get established before the cooler weather hits

Tip of the Month

Pest Control - This is one of the times of the year that the horn worms and other pests can really take hold. Horn worms really like pepper plants and can devastate your plants very quickly, so keep an eye out for heavily chewed leaves on your plants and little black pellet droppings around the outside of your plant that indicate you may have horn worms present. Remember these guys are very hard to spot as they blend in very well, so look in the areas of chewed leaves and where there are droppings to locate them hanging on to the underside of the leaves and branches. Best method to control is to just remove them and place them in soapy water to kill them. As always, try to attract the "good" bugs to the garden like ladybugs, praying mantis and green lacewings to name a few. Refer to the planting guide sheet "Pests and their Foe" for more information on pest control. Also refer to the companion planting information in the planting guide sheet to help your plants thrive.

October Do List

1. Mulch all bare soil areas and top off exposed areas that may have exposed soil.

2. Foliar fertilize with worm tea or seaweed/fish emulsion solution every 2 weeks.

3. Prune trees of dead and damaged wood.


1. Trim spent flower stalks and blossoms from perennials.

2. Remove dead and damaged wood from trees and shrubs.


1. Top planting areas with fresh compost and mulch.

Pest Control

1. Remove horn worms and drown in soapy water.

2. Plant Nasturtiums to attract predatory insects and repel beetles.

October Don't List

1. Don't fertilize established trees and shrubs. Wait until February.

October Planting

Vegetables: (Blue highlight identifies "ideal" planting time items)

Seeds - Beets, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Brussel sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chard, Collards, Corn, Cucumbers, Endive, Kale, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Lettuce, Mustard greens, Onions, Green onions, Parsnips, Peas, Radish, Spinach, Turnips

Transplants - strawberries, onions, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, chard, lettuce (head & leaf).


Note: Early October is the best time to plant bulb onions and garlic!


Herbs: Anise, Borage, Catnip, Calendula, Chamomile, Chervil, Chives, Cilantro, Dill, Fennel, Feverfew, Garlic, Lavender, Lemon Balm, Lemon grass, Marjoram, Mint, Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary, Rue, Sage, Savory, Thyme

Flowers: Alyssum, Aster, Bachelor Button, Bells of Ireland, Calendula, California Poppy, Candytuft, Carnation, Clarkia, Columbine, Delphinium, Dianthus (pinks), Forget-Me-Not, Gaillardia, Godetia, Gypsophila, Hollyhocks, Larkspur, Lupines, Nasturnium, Nicotiana, Pansy, Petunia, Phlox, Poppy, Salpiglossis, Scabiosa, Shasta Daisy, Snapdragon, Stocks, Sweet Peas, Sweet Sultan, Sweet William, Verbena, Viola

Fruit: Pineapple Guava, Plum, Pomegranate, Strawberry, any sub-tropical

Recipe of the Month

-  Apple Carrot Cabbage Coleslaw

 -  Apples, carrots and cabbage are readily available at this time of year and I really like this coleslaw.

Best Advice

Try something new! Each year I try to grow something I have not grown before. I do not grow anything that I do not like to eat, but maybe something that I thought was more difficult so had not tried it before. Last year I grew endive for the first time and specifically I tried Belgian endive that I thought would not do well in a warmer climate, but I was surprised when it not only grew very well, but was one of the plants that handled the hot temperatures in May and June before it bolted. I still have more to learn about growing Belgian endive as I did not get the nice tight light green/yellow heads that you buy in the store, so I have some additional learning to do, but will try again this season to see if I can produce the ultimate Belgian endive.


Garden Books: Extreme Gardening by Dave Owens and Desert Gardening for Beginners by Cathy Cromell, Linda Guy and Lucy Bradley.

Web Sites:



Q: Why are my oranges splitting? This has not happened before.

A: Watering is the main reason for splitting fruit and it can be a bit tricky as over-watering, under-watering or incorrect watering can cause fruit splitting. In this case it was an issue with incorrect watering in that they were not watering the tree deeply enough, but were only watering with a drip/bubbler system for a short time each day. Remember that your citrus trees need long deep watering every 7 - 10 days in the summer and monthly in the winter. It is possible that they had not had any issues previously because the monsoon rains were frequent enough in past years to give the tree the deep watering that was needed, but this year we had very little rain and very light rains during the summer months, which may have caused the issue with fruit splitting that had not happened before this year.


More citrus information:



October Preview

Hydro gardening

September Pictures

Link to Photos Here


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