Tending the Garden – October 5, 2015

Okra harvested to dry

Okra harvested to dry

A few weeks ago, a lot of my okra was blown over by the wind. We harvested all that was on the plants at the time and enjoyed our last fresh okra from our garden this year. What few plants that were left, I allowed to grow some large pods. Once they were a decorative size, I cut the stems, removed the leaves and the stems, and pods were tied together and turned upside down to dry. In a few weeks when they are completely dry, we will use them inside in harvest arrangements. They tend to hold some of their color, but the dried grayish pods are attractive, too.
My youngest son, as usual, is late planting his fall garden, but I don’t think it is too late. We tilled the soil well (believe it or not it was not too wet) and then planted seeds of kale, lettuce (several kinds), spinach, and assorted greens. He also has transplants of broccoli and collards in his garden. If he keeps his soil damp, we should see some fruits of his labor with young sprouts in a few days.
It is still not too late to put out pre-emergent herbicide to control weeds, especially Poa anna in the spring lawn. Just remember, it has to be watered in, if you are putting down a granular application. Fortunately, I put mine down before the rain, so I cut the lawn today. I had lots of leaves from the rain, and bagging your lawn clippings and leaves is important this time of the year, because many of the weeds are going to seed. Remember, the top of the grass is the oldest part of the turf, so regular mowing is important until we have a frost. I like to cut it at least every other week this time of the year.
Finally, don’t forget to remove spent blooms from plants like roses, zinnias, marigolds, and petunias to encourage new blooms.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

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