Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Middle South

April, 2006
Regional Report

Plant Potatoes

Freshly harvested potatoes are so much better than those you get from the grocery store. Plant potatoes now for an early-summer treat. Be sure to purchase "seed potatoes" for planting. Potatoes from the supermarket may have been treated with a sprout inhibitor.

Consider Annual Vines

Nothing beats annual vines, such as morning glory, cypress vine, moonflower, and hyacinth bean, for hiding unsightly chainlink fences or dressing up a trellis. Wait to plant tender vines until after your last frost date, or start seeds indoors first.

Determine Your Last Frost Date

Although it's just a guideline, your average last frost date helps you determine when you can plant tender annuals and vegetables. Consult with a gardening neighbor, ask at your local garden center, or contact your county Master Gardeners. Or, Victory Seeds has a handy chart: Be prepared to cover tender plants if a late frost threatens.

Make Successive Sowings

Sow small sections of lettuce and spinach every two weeks or so. This will extend your harvest until early summer, when hot weather will cause these crops to bolt and turn bitter. Then consider planting warm-season replacements, such as malabar spinach.

Mulch Trees

Mulching helps conserve moisture and inhibit weeds. However, don't let the mulch layer get too deep under trees. Ideally, the mulch should be about 2 inches deep. Any deeper and it can smother shallow roots. If necessary, remove old mulch before you apply new material. Also, avoid piling mulch against the tree trunk, because this can cause fungal problems on the trunk.


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