Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Middle South

October, 2008
Regional Report

Induce Christmas Cactus Buds

Christmas cacti need special care now to induce them to produce flower buds in time for the holidays. Two environmental factors induce budding: cool temperatures and reduced light. So, either expose the plants to temperatures of 50 to 55F (but no colder) by leaving the plants in an unheated garage or start placing the plants in a dark place, like a closet, for 13 hours per day.

Celebrate Arbor Day This Fall

Fall is the best time to plant most trees and shrubs, so celebrate Arbor Day six months early (or six months late) by setting out new woody plants. Water the plants thoroughly after planting, and be sure soil stays moist right up until the ground freezes.

Lightly Till Your Vegetable Garden

Light fall rototilling exposes overwintering pests to cold temperature and predators, and it helps you get a jump on spring planting. Remove all diseased plant material, compost healthy plant residues, and lightly till the garden. Wait a week or so, then either sow a cover crop or mulch the garden area with compost and a layer of straw.

Don't Let Pesticides Freeze

Many lawn and garden products should not be exposed to freezing temperatures. Take an inventory of all your garden sprays -- including organic ones -- and read the labels to determine the best way to store them. Make sure all materials are stored in a safe place out of reach of children and pets.

Wear Gloves Planting Hyacinths

Wear gloves when handling hyacinth bulbs. The skin contains a substance that can cause itching. Wash your hands with cool, soapy water after planting to remove any residue.


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