Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Coastal and Tropical South
August, 2009
Regional Report

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Pak Choi Chinese cabbage, Packman broccoli, Discovery cabbage%and Louisiana shallots -- plant now!

Trite, but True

Every year, we who know the facts try to persuade the rest of you to grow vegetables in the fall. Our region boasts some of the best autumn conditions for many favorites. Quick! Before football starts, while the kids are busy getting back to school, plant your fall garden.

Tomatoes Now
If your tomato plants didn't make it through July, and you didn't root any suckers, see if you can find some transplants for sale. You'll find names like Solar Set, Hawaiian, and others that imply heat resistance, but if you usually have good success with a particular variety, plant that one. I know the problems people have with 'Creole' but it grows for me and so does 'SuperFantastic', so my fall garden includes both. Plenty of gardeners never plant anything but 'Better Boy', and I can't argue with their results. Point is, plant some right now.

Cole Crop Bonanza
Now is the only time I plant broccoli and cabbages (both round heads and Chinese), and I'll add Brussels sprouts and cauliflower in a few weeks. Collards and kale can wait until late September -- the greens grow quickly and are almost bitter until cool weather sweetens them. All these vegetables taste only vaguely like their commercial counterparts, and are loaded with vitamins and minerals as well as antioxidants. Other than spinach (which you should plant next month) no veggie surpasses the cole crop family for nutrition. The only secret to growing these cool-season vegetables is consistent moisture to prevent wilting right after transplant. Set up a soaker hose or sprinkler on a timer and use it every day in late morning.

Squash Surprises
If you've had problems with aphids eating squash planted in spring, worry no more. Plant crookneck, zucchini, butternut, and acorn types now, after the major aphid invasions for the year are over. Many of the most interesting squashes, like Pagoda Gold, show more colorful outsides and develop better flavor in fall.

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