Garden Monthly Update: October 2016

Garden News

October is the month to plant for the low desert fall/winter season. Many peppers,  eggplant and the last of the tiger melons and cantaloupe were harvested. The bok choy, cauliflower, broccoli and carrots planted in September are doing great. The tomatillo's are looking good with lots of fruit that has set. I took out the okra as production slowed to make room for the cool season plants.

The black krim tomato plants are gigantic at this point, and have ramped up on fruit production in the last 2 weeks of the month. A couple of cherry tomato plants are also doing well with lots of fruit already set.

The basil continued to thrive in the warm days of October. The onions, garlic, lettuce, cabbage, snow peas, spinach, brussel sprouts, and dill have all sprouted and are doing well. My new herb raised bed with basil, sage, oregano, thyme and cilantro is doing great.

The marigolds, sunflowers, gallardia and cosmos flowers bloomed in abundance in October. The nasturtiums sprouted and are doing well.

I harvested a lot of basil in October for drying.


October Harvest - Tiger melons, Cantaloupe, Okra, Eggplant and Ancho peppers.


Planting guide updates include - No new Updates



The ancho and cayenne pepper harvest began.


Lots of new seedling's emerged from seeds planted in October.


Finally, the daily high temperatures dropped into the 80's.


The warmer than average temps in October saw continued emergence of the horn worms that required daily control.


The zucchini plants did not survive the hotter than average temperatures of October.

"Hot" Topic

Frost protection - Remember to protect your frost sensitive plants as we get into the cool season. Spraying the foliage with liquid seaweed solution will give you approximately 4 degrees of frost protection. I use a light weight garden fabric to protect from frost, but you can also use sheets, cardboard, and newspaper. Just remember that fabric covers need to be suspended above the plant and not touching the plant. Mulch also helps to protect the root system and keep it warm.

Tip of the Month

Companion planting - Remember to use the planting guide to determine what plants do well together and which do not. Cilantro should not be planted with dill for instance. Tomatoes do great with carrots. For quick reference see the left column comments and for in depth information refer to the specific plant type sheets (vegetables, fruit, herbs) with the companion plant table below the planting table. Planting guide

November Do List

1. Reduce frequency of watering for trees and shrubs, but continue to water deeply.

2. Prune trees of dead and damaged wood.

3. Mulch any bare soil in your vegetable garden and make sure the soil drains well and is allowed to dry before watering again. Roots only grow in dry soil.


1. Trim spent flower stalks and seed heads.

2. Remove dead limbs from trees before the leaves fall.


1. Use earthworm castings for indoor plant fertilizing and on your bulbs, annuals and perennials.

Pest Control

1. Check for nematodes (knots on roots) and treat soil with bio-stimulants, molasses, compost and citrus pulp.

2. Treat aphids and spider mites with mild soap and seaweed spray.

November Don't List

1. Don't forget to check for aphids in the garden. Use soapy water in a spray bottle to control them.

2. Don't water the lawn when it's dark.

3. Do not fertilize frost-tender plants like citrus.

4. Don't procrastinate about preparing for cold weather. Toward the end of November we can get frost, and your garden will be at risk if you don't cover tender plants, flowers and vegetables.

5. Don't ignore weeds.

November Planting

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

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

Transplants - Asparagus, Broccoli, Brussel sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower,Chard, and Lettuce.


Note: Plant early in November for fastest propagation due to warmer temperatures.


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


Flowers: African Daisies, Alyssum, Bachelor Button, Bells of Ireland, Calendula, California Poppy, Candytuft, Carnation, Clarkia, Delphinium, Forget-Me-Not, Gaillardia, Godetia, Gypsophila,  Larkspur, Lupines, Nicotiana, Pansy, Petunia, Phlox, Pinks, Poppy, Salpiglossis, Scabiosa, Snapdragon, Sweet Peas, Sweet Sultan, Sweet William, Verbena, Viola


Fruit:  Pineapple Guava, Strawberry


Recipe of the Month

-  Vegetarian Chili w/Tempeh -

- Tempeh is a fermented whole bean soy product (higher in protein, fiber & vitamins). You can find it in the refrigerated or frozen section of your market. This is a great warm meal for the winter months. Canned Anasazi beans are hard to find, but you can find dry beans and cook as directed, or just substitute with another black or red canned bean.


Best Advice

Did you know that frost sensitivity is different for different types of citrus trees. Kumquats are the most hardy and limes are the least hardy to our low desert conditions. Hardiness listed from most to least: Kumquat, Grapefruit, Tangerine, Tangelo, Orange, Lemon, Lime. If you are thinking of planting a new citrus tree, March and April are the best time to plant. Make sure you buy a grafted tree for best disease & frost resistance. I would recommend Whitfill nursery as they cultivate their own citrus trees locally. Note that lemons do not get sweeter as they yellow, they just get juicier. Citrus fruit stores best on the tree, so you can take your time and harvest the fruit over several months.


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

Web Sites:



Q: Should I replace my apple tree, that the fruit does not get eaten, with a lime tree?

A: If you are not using the fruit that you are growing, then replacing it could be warranted. Remember that limes are very frost sensitive, so you will need to place it in a warm/protected area of your yard (southern exposure best), which is very different than an apple tree that requires frost hours to do well. So, you will need to assess if the location of the apple tree you want to replace is appropriate for the lime tree. There are several varieties: Mexican (Key lime), Tahiti (most frost hardy as it is a hybrid of lemon and lime), Sweet lime (Palestine & Mexican), Kafir lime (used in Thai cooking). The sweet lime is most often used in southwestern cooking. Be sure the tree that you buy identifies the variety and the rootstock on the tag. Also note that fruit is yellow when ripe not green for the sweet lime varieties.


More citrus information:


November Preview

Hydro Gardening

October Pictures

Link to Photos Here


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