Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Lower South

September, 2001
Regional Report

Strawberry Planting Time

October is the best month for planting strawberries here in the lower south. The plants will grow slowly through our warm southern winters, preparing for a great harvest season in March and April. Prior to planting work some compost into the soil and build raised beds for optimum drainage.

Prepare Soil for Wildflowers

Planning a mini wildflower meadow or just a "wild" area of the yard? Now is the time to get the spot ready for planting. Wildflowers love sun and good drainage, with few exceptions. Lightly till the soil to loosen the soil and improve germination. Mow turf and meadow areas very closely to help the seedlings receive maximum light and to minimize competition from existing weeds.

Plant Cool Season Flowers

Plant snapdragons, stock, calendula, cyclamen and primula. The cool rainy days of fall provide excellent conditions for these flowers to establish and grow rapidly for a beautiful fall and winter show. Add some compost to the soil prior to planting and build up raised beds to insure good drainage. While snapdragons, stock and calendulas prefer full sunlight, cyclamen and primula do well in a bright shade location.

Prepare Poinsettias and Christmas Cactus

Place a cardboard box over poinsettia and Christmas cactus plants when you leave for work in the morning and take it off when you arrive back home around 5 or 6 pm to fool the plant into thinking that the days have become shorter. Continue the procedure for about 6 weeks to induce the bloom response in time for the holidays. Short days along with cool (60-65F) nights will encourage development of good color.

Saving Seeds for Next Year

Collect seeds from non-hybrid annuals and perennials that have gone to seed. Seeds from hybrids don't produce offspring true to type. Spread seeds on a newspaper for a week to allow them to dry thoroughly and then store them in a sealed jar in the refrigerator or freezer.


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