Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Time Is Right for Planting a Wide Variety of Fall Vegetables

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Time Is Right for Planting a Wide Variety of Fall Vegetables

Article excerpt

Byline: Karl Zedell Sr.

I keep hearing there is a fall gardening season for vegetables in North Florida. What can I grow?

This is indeed the beginning of the fall vegetable gardening season here. It is a couple of weeks late for tomatoes, but you can still plant them. Right along with them, you can plant bulb onions, lettuce, kale, carrots, radishes, bush and pole beans and beets. For a complete list, please visit edis.ifas.ufl.edu/vh021 or sustainablenorthflorida.org/north-florida-vegetable-planting-guide.

Is September a good time to fertilize my St. Augustine lawn?

Here in North Florida, mid-September to the end of the month is the perfect time for the last fertilizer application of the year. After that, the roots begin to rest for the winter and cannot take up nutrients efficiently. Fertilizer applied during the winter period may leach into ground water during irrigation, since the turf cannot use it. That is another reason proper irrigation is important throughout the year.

Over-watering or overabundant rainfall can lead to nitrate leaching. Everything you need to know about fertilizing your St. Augustine lawn can be found here: edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep236.

I just moved here from North Carolina where I had a pair of weeping yaupon holly trees. Will they grow here?

A weeping yaupon holly, Ilex vomitoria, will definitely grow here in USDA hardiness zone 9a. Most of North Carolina is 8a. This distinct, irregular tree can be used in a variety of ways, or just let grow into a 15- to 20-foot-tall tree with a narrow spread of only 6 to 12 feet. It can be used as a hedge, rather than letting it grow into a tree. If planted 8 to 10 feet apart, the trees can form an excellent sun screen for part of a yard. The tree is unusually hardy, can grow in any kind of soil and is drought and salt tolerant. For more information, see edis.ifas.ufl.edu/st312.

I have several small citrus trees and one of them is covered with some kind of tiny worm that looks like bird droppings. They are eating the leaves. What are they?

We almost hate to tell you what they are because we are butterfly enthusiasts. However, you are seeing the first stage (instar) of a giant swallowtail butterfly, Papilio cresphontes Cramer, also known as the orangedog caterpillar. Left alone, it will go through four stages and then form a chrysalis from which the butterfly will emerge. These larvae can defoliate a young or containerized citrus tree, although mature trees can withstand some defoliation.

Depending on the size of the tree, you can pick them off and drop them into a small amount of alcohol. For trees too large for hand picking, you can spray Bacillus thuringiensis, with commonly known as BT and available at all garden or big box stores. Be sure to follow label directions. …

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