Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Coastal and Tropical South

October, 2004
Regional Report

Keep Thinning

Even after the first fall picking of lettuce, the individual plants can grow rapidly. Fertilize with fish emulsion or another soluble nitrogen to encourage new growth. As the stand thickens up again, keep the new, delicious leaves coming by removing every other plant for the next harvest.

Overseed Lawns

Impress the snowbirds who come to visit for the winter by overseeding lawns with perennial ryegrass, which dies out in late spring. Mow the lawn, then sow seed and water well. Fertilizer is seldom needed. The occasional mowing will provide nitrogen-rich material for the compost or leaf pile.

Check for Sasanqua Scale

If sasanquas aren't at their best this year, check the leaves. Pale or stippled or dull leaves may indicate a scale insect attack. Turn the leaf over to check for yellow or brown dots, or the presence of pinhead-sized hard bumps. Use ultra refined horticultural oil spray to control.

Shred Big Leaves

Raking and bagging leaves each fall costs you and your community money and can be avoided by composting. But what to do with the huge leaves of catalpa and sycamore? Chop them first by running the lawnmower across the lawn before raking, or use a string trimmer on the pile.

Turn Luffa Gourds into Gifts

By now luffa gourds have ripened and perhaps begun to split on the vine. Pick them once they turn pale or begin to crack. Soak whole luffas in warm water, peel off the skin, then lay to dry. Shake out the seeds and save them. Wrap up the sponge along with scented soap for great gifts.


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