First Posted 10/31/12
Kitty Angell is a Aransas/San Patricio Master Gardener
"Texas has an extremely long growing season. Even though we have very hot summers, and a slight chance of frost, with a little planning we can keep something growing all year long. Everyone thinks of chrysanthemums and pansies for the fall/winter season, but dianthus is a beautiful annual that explodes with color! Just be sure to wait for the cooler weather to settle in before setting out these bedding plants. Violas, stock, and snapdragons also perk up a fall landscape.
November is a prime time for planting herbs. Intersperse them among other perennials and vegetables to add uniqueness to an otherwise drab landscape. Incorporate a few extra plants of parsley, dill or fennel for larvae of the swallowtail butterflies. These plants will also attract beneficial insects to the garden. Oregano, pineapple sage, thyme, and chives are also choice fall herbs. Most herbs need well-drained soil and full sun to give their best performance. Make sure herbs that you are planting together need the same amount of water and sun.
Vegetable gardeners should experiment with putting in strawberry plants this month for a great spring harvest. For more detailed information visit http://www.gardeningwithtomleroy.com. Tom is a retired Texas Agrilife Extension Horticulturist and besides telling you how to prepare your beds, etc. for growing strawberries, he also discusses and answers questions regarding many other vegetables and plants.
Other vegetables to plant include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and kohlrabi. Get these in by November 15. Carrots, Swiss chard, collards, garlic, lettuce, mustard, multiplying onion, radish, spinach and turnip can also be planted. Remember to plant kale, because even the ornamental kale is edible!
This is a great time to plant or move shrubs and trees. Roots continue to develop during late fall, and the plants will be well established before bud break in spring. Smaller shrubs are easier to transplant. Continue to water well with a seaweed solution until established. Don’t be in a hurry to prune woody plants. February is usually the best time to prune them.
If we still remain in a drought situation, keep giving the landscape a smaller but steady amount of water. Set your irrigation system on “manual”, or water by hand. However, if a freeze is coming be sure to water well because dry roots are damaged by cold temperatures. Preconditioning prepares the plant to withstand cold temperatures without damage. Withhold nitrogen fertilizers until spring. Fertilizers high in potassium, such as seaweed or kelp, can be applied now, as this element is known to promote thick cell walls. Those living nearer the beach will need heavier mulches that will not blow away.
This is the month for big turkeys and high stakes football games! After a bountiful Thanksgiving dinner, go to your favorite easy chair, kick back and page through your seed catalogs. Order early to be sure you get the varieties you want. Order a few new things to see how they will work in your garden.