In the Vegetable Garden
Outdoors in the garden add compost, manure, and wood ash top improve vegetable beds, digging it in well about 6” to 12” deep. Add a little lime for Cole crops in the brassica beds and also where you want to plant onions. Begin harvesting winter crops such as cabbages, Brussels sprouts, kale, turnips, leeks, radishes, mustards, collards, spinach, mibuna, mizuna, and any other remaining crops.
Make hot caps out of coke bottles and milk jugs to protect young plants. You can also cover with clear plastic any remaining summer plants to prolong harvest, such as tomatoes, okra, and squash. Uncover them on warm days. Begin to sow outdoors around the first of October directly in the garden. Plant kale, collards, spinach, cabbage, kohlrabi, turnips, beets, peas, carrots, radishes, onion, garlic, shallots, and chamomile for the herb garden. As weather permits, start planting chitted potatoes and asparagus transplants.
In the flower garden deadhead winter annuals such as mums, to prolong flowering. Divide and transplant larger clumps of existing bulbs like spider lilies and day lilies. Prune fruit trees, crepe myrtles, privet hedges, and roses in early October if you haven’t done so. Plant new roses, lilies, and other perennials and bulbs. Rake and compost any left over fallen leaves.
- Cover unplanted vegetable beds with clear plastic to sterilize soil and kill weed seeds and disease.
- Renew old beds with fresh compost, fertilize and lime if necessary.
- Make outdoor fall plantings of cool weather vegetables like cabbage, collards, turnips, mustards, spinach, kale, cress, Kohlrabi, and Asian Salad Leaves like Mizuna and Mibuna. Also plant out parsnips, radishes, carrots, lettuce, garlic, and leeks and anything else you have indoors.
- Plant English peas and broad beans in early October.
- Plant potatoes in early October for a second harvest in January. Yellow Gold is a good choice or maybe Red Pontiac though they take a little longer and cold may kill them if there’s a hard freeze. Protect with straw or clear plastic if necessary.
- Pull up any bolting plants and save any seed you can.
- Weed and water regularly. Keep a large water barrel near the garden or beside the house where you can catch any rainfall. You can put it at a downspout to catch most of what comes off the roof. Use this water to water your garden.
- Harvest peas and broad beans, onions, leeks, garlic, lettuce, radishes, and greens. Lift first fennel and parsnips, potatoes, carrots, turnips, and beets.
- Cut down browning asparagus plants. Save any seed from female plants.
- Pinch out growing tips of climbing broad beans when at the top of supports. Fertilize.
- Empty all compost piles and add to garden soil. Start new piles for next year. Rake leaves and clean up yard debris and add to new compost piles.
In the Herb Garden
- Deadhead flowering herbs. Remove any dead foliage and annual plantings.
- Plant out any herbs grown from seed like chives, fennel, dill, mints, oregano, rosemary, sage, tarragon, thyme, caraway, chamomile, Spanish lavender, and lemon balm.
- Weed and water regularly.
Fruit and Nut Trees
- Plant apple, pear, and pecan trees no later than October.
- Plant blueberries, strawberries, and muscadine grapes no later than October.
In the Flower Garden
- Prune seedheads from crepe myrtles from fall bloom.
- Plant out mums from indoor fall plantings.
- Deadhead annual and perennial flowers and cut back after bloom if you haven’t done so.
- Fertilize summer flowering bulbs if you haven’t done so.
- Plant Iris, freesia, Madona Lily, and other fall and winter flowering bulbs.
- Top off mulch around plantings to protect from cold.
- Water and weed regularly.
Cooperative extension services www.msucarescom
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Gardening in Mississippi