Cooperative Extension Service 
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Hendry County Extension, P.O. Box 68, LaBelle, Florida 33975-0068   Phone (863) 674-4092

Hendry County Horticulture News

November 2000 - Lord, It's Great To Be Alive

November is probably one of the best months of the year to garden in the Sunshine State.  The cool, dry weather which arrived early this year in now firmly entrenched and will be with us for next five or six months.  Unfortunately, the shorter days will be painfully evident, especially to those us - working gardeners -  pursuing the 8 -5 lifestyle, who will find ourselves deprived of any time for evening yard work that for the next few months. Many of our deciduous trees and shrubs will be bare by month's end and most plants will be growing at a much reduced rate compared to their frantic summer pace.

There is also a change in the wildlife.  Not only will there be more snowbirds arriving in the state, but large flocks of migratory birds will be seen heading southward to their winter homes.

By this time of the year many of the flies, mosquitoes and others are hardly noticeable making for more enjoyable outdoor experience.  Although the cooler and dryer weather will help to reduce some insect populations, be aware that not all of them will disappear.  Aphids, beetles, cutworms, cabbage worms, corn earworms, leaf miners, mole crickets, leaf hoppers, leaf rollers, squash bugs and other pests will still be around to munch on your plants if you are not watchful.

Be sure to check your plantings at least twice a week or even more frequently to catch small problems before they have time to develop into major disasters. Insecticidal soaps and oils applied early will help to keep many potential problems under control.   Persistent pests may call for a properly applied insecticide.  Make sure you correctly identify your problem and  carefully read the labels on whatever product you decide to use before applying it.

Cool temperatures, foggy mornings and heavy night dew can create favorable conditions for fungal infections on your vegetables, herbs and flowers.  Protective sprays of copper or another labeled fungicide will help to head problems later in the season.
While you may take a break from fertilizing your lawn and trees this month your vegetables and annuals should still be fed.  A composted manure, complete fertilizer or balanced liquid fertilizer will be much appreciated by these plants and will help to give you an abundance of blooms and vegetables.

November can be very dry, do not neglect to water your plants.  Although it is not as hot and your plants' water demands are greatly reduced, irrigation is still required.  Adequate water is especially critical in the production of quality vegetables and flowers.  Mulching will help lessen the amount of water your plants will need.

This is a great month to begin planting roses.  Be sure to buy locally pot grown varieties grafted onto resistant Fortuniana rootstocks.  Don't skimp on soil preparation, success with roses starts with good soil preparation.  Choose a well drained site and work in plenty of organic amendments such as compost, manure or peat.

Continue planting annuals and vegetables to ensure plenty of fresh vegetables for your kitchen and an abundance of blooms for your enjoyment.  Choose healthy transplants for a quick start garden.  Remember varieties that performed well elsewhere many not do well locally.  Check with your garden center, experienced local gardeners or the Hendry County Extension Office for recommended varieties.

Flower buds on your Poinsettias will begin to open and many tropical plants will begin to bloom.  Color will be just about everywhere.

The next few months are open to planting and growing almost anything you can imagine especially as far as herbs, vegetables and annuals are concerned.

Your best bets for vegetables  this month are: beans, beets, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chinese cabbage, collards, cucumbers, endive, escarole, kale, kohlrabi, leek, lettuce, onion sets, parsley, peppers, pumpkins, rhubarb, romaine, rutabagas, spinach, squash, strawberries, sweet corn, swiss chard, tomatoes, and turnips.

Herbs that will do well locally include:  anise, basil, borage, chives, chervil, coriander, fennel, garlic, lavender Marjoram, mint, parsley, rosemary, sage, sesame, sweet marjoram, thyme and several other herbs.

The choice of annual flowers is equally wide and depends largely on your preferences:   Choose from amaryllis, asters, baby's breath, bachelor's buttons, balsam, calendulas, callas, candytufts, carnations, cosmos, cockscombs, daisies, dianthus, forget-me-nots, gaillardias, gladiolas, globe amaranth, hollyhocks, lace flowers, lilies, lobelias, lupines, marigolds, narcissus, nasturtiums, pansies, salvias, scabiosa, snapdragons, statice, stock, strawflowers, sweetpeas, sweet William, verbenas, and other cool season flowers.

What more could an gardener desire?  Lord, it is great to be alive!  Good luck and good gardening.

Gene McAvoy is the horticulture agent with the Hendry County Extension Service.  Direct your horticulture questions to PO Box 68, LaBelle, FL 33975,  e-mail - or phone 863-674-4092 or  863-983-1598.  You are also welcome to visit the Hendry County Extension Office at 225 Pratt Blvd., LaBelle.   Office hours are from 8:00 - 5:00.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is an Equal Employment Opportunity - Affirmative Action Employer authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function without regard to race, color, sex, age, handicap or national origin.

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