Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Southern Coasts

October, 2000
Regional Report

Planting Herbal Bowls

Now is the time to plan for herbs for cooking this winter. Plant an herb bowl and grow it on the porch or just outside the back door for easy cutting. In a shallow planter, combine 2 parsley and 2 chive plants with sage and oregano. Leave the rosemary for its own pot or a garden bed. It will take over a pot from the other, less vigorous herbs if allowed.

Planting Peas

Plant green peas now for a fresh harvest in December. Plant varieties that take less than 60 days to mature, and don't add extra fertilizer, especially nitrogen, to their row. Keep the peas standing tall with a trellis or fence. Any kind of trellis will do, but I use the same 4-inch wire mesh panels that held the cucumbers upright during the summer.

Keeping Container Plants Warm

If you have a patio, deck, or balcony full of container plants, put a thermometer among the pots to keep an eye on the temperature. Plants grouped together and close to a house will stay warmer than plants out in the yard by themselves. But a thermometer will let you know when it\'s time to cover them with a blanket or tarp.

Thin Greens

It\'s a gardener\'s toughest job, but if you don\'t thin the mustard, collard, Swiss chard, spinach, beet, carrot, and turnip seedlings, they\'ll never produce larger roots or big leaves as you expect. Leave leafy green plants a few inches apart and clip or pull the rest. Give root crops more room to develop edible-sized roots; they should be 3 to 6 inches apart depending on the crop.

Protecting Hibiscus

Keep exotic, glossy hibiscus trees growing strong by covering them when temperatures dip below 40F at night. Slip a big black garbage bag over the whole top and secure it to the trunk with twisties for easy removal. The bag will trap warmth from the tree and protect flower buds and leaves. Take the bag off in the morning.


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