Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Coastal and Tropical South

June, 2010
Regional Report

Recycle clay pots

When a clay pot breaks, most gardeners see dollars signs falling with every piece. Instead of tossing that clay, put it to use. Crushed clay cinders make a fine addition to potting soils for cacti and other plants that require great drainage. Inch size pieces can be used to shield drain holes in the bottom of pots filled with fine textured growing mix. Or you can paint some pieces and use them to decorate other pots or surfaces in a mosaic technique.

Weed patrol

Find some time this week to weed the vegetable garden and the area along its perimeter. Several common pests spend summer in senescence or a rest period, and hatch just at the time your fall flowers and vegetables get started. By mowing around the veggie patch or using a string trimmer at the base of vegetable boxes, you keep insect habitat more under control.

In the tropics

Prepare new beds for vegetable planting next month. If lots of weeds have troubled you, or if the knees aren't what they once were, consider building a raised box garden bed or investing in a growing system such as Earth Box. Use a combination of native soil, compost and/or a commercial planting mix, and ground bark to achieve a soil mix that holds water yet drains well. That quality is called "tilth" and it is not always a quality of tropical soils. If you improve soil quality before planting vegetables, you will use less fertilizer during the growing season and, over time, the soil will develop good tilth.

Vegetables for the Southern Coast

Start these seeds now in small pots to set out transplants in August: hot peppers such as habanero, jalapeno, cayenne, and Thai; tomatoes with heat-resistant qualities such as 'Solar Set.' Use Jiffy-7's or peat pots to start seeds of the following crops so you can transplant them without disturbing their roots: small watermelons and summer squash of all sorts- yellow, patty pan and zucchini. Start the seeds of bush cucumbers directly in large containers.

Grow three plants from one

Now's the time to do something about that overgrown corn plant (Dracaena) or other tropical foliage plant that grows from a cane. When a handful of leaves top a six foot stalk, you can turn the spindly mess into at least three nice plants. First, make an air layer a few inches below the leaf cluster. In about 2 months, it will have roots. Cut it off, and then cut off any cane six inches above the base of the plant. Root the cane in 2 inch pieces in a sand bed. Fertilize and water the base and look for new sprouts in a few weeks.


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