Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Lower South

October, 2001
Regional Report

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.

Plant Naturalizing Bulbs and Other Perennial Flowers

Now is a good time to plant naturalizing bulbs, which are those species adapted to our climate that return dependably for years of beauty and enjoyment. Narcissus, Oxblood Lilies (Rhodophiala bifida), Spider Lilies (Lycoris), Amaryllis, and Rain Lilies (Zephranthes) are among the time-tested choices. Work a few inches of compost into the soil prior to planting.

Protect Tender Vegetable Plants From Hungry Pests

Sprays containing B.t. are an effective, natural, low toxicity way to prevent caterpillars from turning your broccoli, cabbage and other veggies into "Swiss cheese." Cool season greens are a favorite target of caterpillars, beetles and aphids. Spread a lightweight rowcover fabric over the row after planting, leaving extra slack in the cover to allow for plants to grow. Secure the edges with boards or soil and the plants will grow virtually pest free right up until harvest.

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 damaged by the cold if left out in the garden. Store the roots in a warm, moist location for 2-3 weeks for curing, and then move them to a cool, dry location for long-term storage.

Clean Up Pests On Outdoor Houseplants

Houseplants that have spent the summer outdoors often bring pests with them when they are brought in for the winter. Check them over and make sure to get rid of pests like mites, aphids, scale and mealybugs while they are still outdoors. Soap or oil sprays are often enough to clean up these pests.


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