Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Lower South

October, 2006
Regional Report

Prepare for Leaf Season

You can never get enough leaves for landscaping. Leaves are great for composting and mulching in vegetable gardens, shrub beds, and flower beds. Make plans now to create a large circle of wire mesh where you can stockpile extra leaves for next spring and summer when the weather heats up and leaves are hard to come by!

Making Persimmons Pucker-Free

Fall brings harvest season for persimmons. The orange fruits are very tasty but can be astringent if harvested before a couple of good freezes. To help break down the astringency, allow the fruits to start to soften on the plant, then harvest the fruit and place it in the freezer overnight. Thaw it out the next day, and it should be palatable enough for pucker-free eating. Nonastringent varieties are also available.

Color Up the Cool-Season Landscape

Just because freezing weather is coming is no reason to give up on landscape color. Pansies and violas are quite cold hardy, as is ornamental kale and cabbage. With a little protection from hard freezes, alyssum, dusty miller, cyclamen, and stock can also make it through the season.

Harvest Satsuma Citrus

If you are fortunate enough to have a Satsuma orange tree growing in the landscape or in a large container, mid to late fall is harvest season. Don't wait for the fruit to turn fully orange before picking it. When they are halfway from green to orange they will be very sweet and tasty. If left too long, their quality can decline.

Plant Woody Ornamentals

There is no better season in the lower south to establish woody ornamental landscape plants than mid to late fall. Planted now, they will have all winter to establish roots and will be much better able to survive next summer's brutal attack.


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