October is a month of great activity in the garden. The earth has warmed and it’s the beginning of our change of seasons in the Far North.
Continue to liquid feed annuals and perennials fortnightly with a fertiliser such Triple Boost Fruit & Veg to maintain health and vigour as the weather warms. Watering frequency will need to be adjusted as we go through a warmer, drier period. Regular, deep watering will ensure water reaches the root zone and make plants stronger to withstand the heat.
Plant rhizomes of Ginger, Galangal, Turmeric and Arrowroot as the warm, humid weather brings them out of their winter dormancy. Rhizomes already in the ground will sprout when the temperature is right, so avoid overwatering until new shoots appear.
The season is beginning for Asian greens, which will tolerate the increase in heat and humidity. You’ll find that annual lettuce varieties will bolt to seed quicker as the heat increases. You can still plant these varieties, just feed and water daily and harvest early for best flavours.
If you love Vanilla, you’ll love this time of year. Vanilla Orchids are beginning to flower, with clusters of sweet yellow flowers starting to open.
How do you get vanilla pods to grow?
Flowers only open for a few hours in the morning, and each needs to be hand pollinated to produce a Vanilla pod.
A toothpick is the perfect tool.
Peel back the petals of the flower to access the stigma column (long straight part at the top of the flower).
Run the tip of the toothpick along the stamen towards you, there’s a little flap you need to tuck under the anther (the part with the pollen on it).
Be gentle though the pollen will fall off if things get too rough!
What to plant now?
- Corn crops will establish quickly as the weather warms;
- Cucumbers and Zucchini will reward you with large harvests;
- Spinach, Silverbeet & Kale – monitor for leaf eating grubs;
- Sweet Potato makes a great groundcover and produces abundant crops in the tropics, both the leaves and tubers are edible;
- Pumpkins are a productive crop, growing large fruits that store well when cured. To harvest, cut the pumpkin from the vine with a large portion of stem. Leave whole pumpkins in the sun for a few days to cure and store in a cool dry place.
- Passionfruit, Granadilla and Paw Paw are the perfect tropical fruits to establish in the warm weather. Fertilise monthly with a good quality Fruit & Citrus fertiliser for fresh, abundant and tasty crops.
- Avocado varieties such as Shepherd, Wurtz, Hass & Reed have begun to set fruit. Maintain with a regular watering schedule, and monthly fertilising to ensure they have enough nutrients to hold the fruit through to harvest time.
- Resume fertilising Mango and Lychee trees once fruits have visibly set.
- Check your fruit trees and gardens are getting adequate water during our dry period. Use a shovel to gently prise open the soil around your garden and check how far water is penetrating. Your irrigation may need adjusting if water is not reaching the root zone.
- Maintain a good layer of organic mulch to hold in moisture and prevent roots from drying out.
Roses continue to put on a fantastic show. Dead head old stems regularly to promote more growth and flowers. Fertilise monthly to keep your plants healthy and thriving.
Jade vines are in full flower, and will continue into the warmer months. Train up a trellis or pergola, and fertilise regularly with a good quality fertiliser.
Frangipani are enjoying the warmer days and nights, coming back to life with fresh new foliage and the promise of a fragrant flower show. Get one established while they are in an active growing phase.
Plant native shrubs such as Callistemon & Grevillea. They produce attractive flowers and are a must for attracting birds such as honeyeaters to your garden.
Control weeds. Everything is growing quickly in the garden, including the weeds. Spray or remove weeds before seeding to save some future chores. See our friendly staff for your best options for keeping on top of weeds.
Re-pot house plants – pot into a size larger or divide and repot clumping plants. Always use fresh premium quality potting mix and liquid feed fortnightly.