Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Upper South

October, 2006
Regional Report

Make Calendars From Garden Photos

With the holidays approaching, it's time to start thinking about gift ideas. Gardeners always have lots of possibilities, including making calendars from photos taken of flowers and gardens. A variety of software options are available, but the simplest way is to use the software that comes with your computer. Local print shops usually can bind the pages together with a plastic comb binding. Experiment with different themes and include garden tips or favorite quotes.

Overwinter Rosemary Indoors

Some rosemary varieties, such as 'Salem' and 'Arp', are winter hardy to -10 degrees F, but others are best overwintered indoors in pots. Because rosemary needs excellent drainage, consider using a cactus potting soil or adding extra perlite to your regular soilless mix. The potting soil must be kept neither too wet nor too dry. To check, insert a finger into the soil; if it is dry to about 2 inches, then water thoroughly. Plants do best with a bright but cool spot that gets no warmer than 62 degrees F.

Prepare Power Equipment for Winter Storage

With the last use of power equipment -- mowers, string trimmers, and tillers -- either add a gas stabilizer to a full tank, following manufacturer's directions, or, alternatively, drain the gas tank or run the motor until the tank is empty. Clean off dirt and grass from the equipment, then wipe bare metal surfaces with a lightly oiled rag. Sharpen or replace blades, change the engine oil, and clean air filters. If repairs are necessary, have them done now to avoid the spring rush.

Look for Bird-Feeding Sales

Take advantage of early-season sales that pet supply and wildlife stores have on winter bird-feeding supplies. Some stores will warehouse the seed for you during the winter if you purchase it now. Most stores will also give a discount if you buy suet cakes by the case. The basics to have on hand are black oil sunflower seeds and nyger seeds, but try at least one other kind, such as a woodpecker or bluebird mixture. New types of feeders are being developed so consider these if your feeders are not serviceable. Always scrub used feeders before filling.

Store Potatoes and Winter Squash

Once dug, let potatoes cure for one to two weeks in a dark place at 55 to 60 degrees F. For long-term storage, place the cured potatoes in a dark, well-ventilated place with moderate to high humidity and temperatures of 40 degrees. Warmer temperatures will shorten the storage time. For sweet potatoes, store at 55 to 60 degrees. Winter squash store well at this temperature range as well. To prolong winter squash storage life, dip each one in a weak chlorine bleach solution (10 parts water to 1 part bleach).


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