October (and don’t we all wish it looked like this here!!) – With cooler weather coming upon us here in south Texas (and please, do not let it return to summer next week!), there are a number of good things to do now –
This is a good time to plant trees, rose bushes and other perennials. Planting them now gives them more time to work on establishing a good root system and come out earlier in the spring with growth and blooms. It’s a good idea to cover an area the size of the root ball with mulch. It will help keep roots warm in cold weather and cool in hot. And, no, I have no idea exactly how that works – I just know that it does. Also – don’t forget to water.
If you’ve used your compost pile over the year, this is a good time to renew or create one. The materials that go into a compost pile mostly come from your yard and kitchen. In building a compost pile, you are helping to keep those things out of the landfill and put to good use. Yea! So what is good to put in – leaves, grass clippings, fruits, vegetables, peelings, coffee grounds, tea leaves, old wine, dust from your vacuum cleaner, wood shavings, old herbs and spices. As you add materials, turn the compost over to help it along. And, if it doesn’t rain – water it occasionally.
Plant fall veggies and herbs – Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, lettuce, cabbage, peas, dill, cilantro, parsley, Swiss chard, mustard greens, etc. With our mild winters, those vegetables and herbs do very well.
Plant wildflower seeds now through November. If you’ve never planted wildflower seeds – don’t just throw them out into the yard. While you may have some blooms, if you will designate a wildflower area, sprinkle out your seeds and then cover with a thin coat of soil and water them, you will probably have better results. What to plant -
Bluebonnets (seeds may need scarifying and there are several ways to do that. Myself, I put them in the freezer overnight and then cover with very warm water for 12 hours.)
Indian paintbrush (these are little seeds so – good luck! I’ve never been able to grow them.)
Indian blanket (pretty red, orange and yellow flowers.)
Pink evening primrose (also known as buttercup).
Texas bluebell (this is one of my all-time favorite flowers and you seldom see them blooming anymore because they have been picked to death. If the flowers are not left alone, they won’t go to seed to product more Bluebells)
And last and most important - mulch, mulch, mulch. A 2-3 inch layer of mulch will help keep plants protected during winter’s cold, maintain moisture, and act as a weed control. Any kind works – from pine straw or leaves or store-bought hardwoods.