Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Lower South

October, 2000
Regional Report

Divide Perennials

Perennial plants that bloom in spring and summer such as hosta and daylily can be divided now. Carefully dig the clump and separate it into several sections. Reset them into a new location, working a few of inches of compost into the soil. They will establish roots over the winter and be ready to grow and flower next spring.

Control Brown Patch

Fall and spring are prime seasons for brown patch disease in St. Augustine grass. Brown patch doesn't kill turf, but it rots the leaves off the runners. This disease can be significantly reduced or even avoided by proper cultural techniques. It loves cool temperatures, frequent watering, and high levels of nitrogen. Fertilize only moderately and gradually rather than overdosing with an immediate-release product, and cut back on watering.

Seed Salad Veggies

There's still time to plant seeds or transplants of lettuce, spinach, and other cool-season greens. Lightly cover spinach seeds with 1/2-inch layer of finely screened compost. Leave lettuce seeds on the soil surface, as they germinate best with exposure to light. A light covering of pine needles or fabric row cover over the lettuce seed can help keep the soil surface moist and protect emerging seedlings.

Plant Cole Crops

Broccoli, cabbage, kale, collards, and kohlrabi are among our most dependable winter vegetables. They offer vitamin-packed, delicious produce for the kitchen. Plants can still be set out as transplants, but they may need a row cover to protect them against a bitter cold spell. Keep an eye out for looper caterpillars and cutworms. Spray products containing Bacillus thuringiensis (B.t.) to control these pests.

Forcing Bulbs Indoors

A great way to brighten up a dreary indoor winter day is with flowering bulbs. Many types of bulbs, such as paperwhites and amaryllis, don't need prechilling and are suitable for indoor forcing. Most can be set in a shallow tray of pebbles or planted in a small container filled with potting soil. Some even do well in a "bulb glass" made to hold a single bulb and filled with water.


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