autumn plans

Teddy sunflowers in my garden…

As I’ve mentioned before, one of the benefits of gardening in ZONE TEN (yes, all caps, because it’s a challenging zone!) is that fall is a second spring for us. We get to garden year round. Whatever makes it through the soggy, blistering, and dark summers flourishes. And whatever doesn’t (vegetables, some herbs, fickle flowers like Nasturtium *sigh*) gets replaced by new stuff.

In order to maintain my sanity through this volatile, steamy weather, I have been thinking about the fall planting season. And this year I did my homework, and was really excited to see that there are some *cool* plants that thrive in my zone that I never even knew existed. I kinda want to take advantage of that this year. Plus, there are the old favorites that we like to plant every year.

So I made a list of some of the things I want to plant when autumn finally rolls around (late September- just a few more weeks!)

1. Tomatoes
I’d plant a ton of vegetables because they are so fun to grow, but the problem is that we’re terrible about harvesting. When I first started gardening, all I really planted was vegetables. And most of them perished on the vine. Neither Tom nor I really cook, so we sort of pretended that the veggies weren’t ripe and sort of handed off the obligation of harvesting and prepping to each other until all the vegetables fell off their vines. Huge waste. So now we just plant what we eat regularly, and plant a LOT of it. We’re not big on variety, Tom and I. We kinda eat what we eat.

We have a eggplant… uh, TREE… that we have had since the garden started. It keeps growing and producing, and it’s one of the few veggies we will jump to harvest and actually cook and eat. We eat eggplant several times a week.

The other vegetable that gets eaten, and eaten daily is tomatoes. Tom really only likes Romas, but my mom mentioned she’d like some cherry tomatoes, and I might eat a few of those myself. So my possible tomato picks for this fall are:

Italian Roma Organic

San Marzano


Gardener’s Delight

Italian Pompeii


2. Basil
Another edible plant we will actually make sure to harvest and use. Super easy to grow in containers and really prolific. I think I’m going to try these two guys:

Italian Cameo

Mini Windowbox


3. Ranunculus
I have ALWAYS loved Ranunculus. I was thrilled (THRILLED!!) when I found out it’s an easy grow bulb (love bulbs!), friendly to my zone, and planted in fall. How awesome is that?! This is when gardening is awesome, when you can grow something you truly love right outside your door. This year I am definitely going to plant one or both of these:

Picotee Mix

Rainbow Mix


4. Freesia
I love love love the smell of Freesia. When I was researching the Ranunculus bulbs this week, I learned that Freesia is happy in Zone 10. And also a bulb. I assumed you had to be on a tropical island to grow Freesia. And, duh, I sorta am. Totally going to give it a try this year!

Double Mix


ornithogalum – courtesy of Easy to Grow Bulbs

5. Ornithogalum
I have never heard of this plant (its name sounds like a geometry proof or something…), but it’s another one of the few that popped up as being absolutely happy in Zone 10. Plus, it looks SUPER cool. Very much like a succulent. I think I might order:

Lemon Custard

6. Sunflowers
Sunflowers are always growing in my garden. The climate and sunshine here in Florida really make for a happy Sunflower environment. And I have learned, through trial and error, that ANY sunflower variety will grow in a container. Seriously. Even the giant kinds. They will grow smaller, but they will still grow 7-8 feet.
However, unless you want a giant pot of pure roots and have to water them about twenty times a day, it’s best to grow the smaller varieties- anything under 5 foot. But the sunflower seeds I have planted have all done great in containers.

Some new (to me!) varieties I’d like to try this fall are:


Jade Hybrid (that color is SO amazing!)

Dorado Hybrid


7. Geranium
Geraniums become perennials here in Florida. They can grow for years and years and years in the same pot given that they are monitored for not-too-dry/not-too-moist soil conditions and pests. So I’d like to add one more to my little collection and see if I can get it to thrive year round:



BONUS: Citrus Tree
I think I am going to ask for a citrus tree for the holidays. or some holiday-esque type event before the holidays roll around. I want a citrus tree, and we would definitely enjoy the fruit. We’ve been talking about a Clementine tree for years. But, for some reason I am sort of attached to a Meyer Lemon, even though we don’t eat that often. So who knows…

Comments 1

  1. Misti wrote:

    You would have *loved* the nasturiums in Seattle—they were crazy! Beautiful hanging baskets full of them!

    Posted 19 Aug 2012 at 11:37 pm

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