Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Southern Coasts

September, 2000
Regional Report

Stake Grasses

Flower stalks rising from stately ornamental grasses sometimes flop over, leaving their plumes dragging on the ground. Cut those stalks off or use jute to tie up the clumps and stalks. Wrap it around the base of the whole clump, hold one end in each hand, and pull up until you've gathered the grass into a loop no more than a foot above the ground. Tie the jute to itself.

Divide Swamp Iris

Swamp Iris start growing again this month, so now's the time to dig, divide, and replant them. Dig up the whole clump, add a 2 inch layer of organic matter, and add a sprinkling of complete garden fertilizer to the bed. Cut the rhizomes into 10-inch long pieces, trim the leaves to a 6 inch tall fan, and replant.

Sow Annual Flowers

Now is the time to sow seeds for overwintering annual flowers such as larkspur, candytuft, foxglove, alyssum, snapdragons, and calendula. These will be transplanted in November and flower early next spring. Use sterile seed-starting mix in clean flats or pots (wash recycled plastics in a 10% bleach solution). Moisten the potting mix, sow seeds and keep them out of direct sun and well watered.

Plant Beans and Squash

Plant bush beans and summer squashes now for a great fall crop - maybe the best of the year. Both crops will take about 50 days to mature and it's not uncommon for me to pick beans and squash on Halloween and again for Thanksgiving Day. Squash grows best mulched with clear plastic, then spray circles of shiny silver paint around each plant to repel aphids.

Poinsettia Care

If you want colorful bracts on your poinsettia for this year's holidays, act now. Exclude all light from the plant from 6pm to 6am by putting the pot in a closet or covering it with a big cardboard box. During the day bring it out into bright light, water regularly, and fertilize with a flower formula every 10 days or so. Don't pinch it anymore. Continue with this process daily until you can see red developing, and be prepared to brag.


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