Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Lower South

October, 2009
Regional Report

Harvest Sweet Potatoes

When a frost or freeze is forecast go ahead and harvest sweet potatoes. The tops of the roots are exposed to the air through cracks in the soil and can be cold damaged if left out in the garden. Store the roots in a warm, moist location for 2 to 3 weeks for "curing", and then move them to a cool, dry location for long term storage.

Dig and Store Caladium Tubers For Next Spring

If you wish to save caladium tubers for another year, dig them now and allow them to dry for a week or so in a well ventilated but shaded area. Remove dried leaves and carefully brush of soil. Store in a cool area where the temperature will not go below about 55 degrees.

Plant Cool Season Veggies

Continue to plant cole crops including broccoli, cabbage, kohlrabi, and collards. Other veggies to plant now that the weather has cooled a bit include radishes, carrots, lettuce, spinach, and turnips. A light scattering of pine needles over the seedbed will reduce soil drying and help seedlings get off to a good start.

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 are ornamental kale and cabbage. With a little protection from hard freezes alyssum, dusty miller, cyclamen, and stock can also make it through the season.

Satsuma Citrus Harvest

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


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