Coastal and Tropical South

May, 2012
Regional Report

Books

Organic Vegetable Issues
What's Wrong with My Vegetable Garden (Timber Press (2011, $24.95), the second book I have reviewed by David Deardorff and Kathryn Wadsworth, is simply a terrific resource for organic gardeners. Although not written specifically for the South, the book includes most of the backyard vegetable crops we grow and offers solid organic strategies that we can use or adapt. The authors provide an excellent guide to pests and diseases for each vegetable plant family that will help you recognize and deal with a wide range of problems in your vegetable patch.

Favorite or New Plant

Nerve Plant
Such a lovely and graceful plant deserves a less stressful sounding name, but Fittonia verschaffeltii soldiers on anyway. Sometimes called mosaic plant, which is not much better, this plant is low to the ground or container, happy to be watered daily or nearly so in well-drained, organic soil, and endlessly interesting to gaze upon in shady or semi-shady garden settings. Nerve plant is painted beautifully in an endless variety of bold vein patterns that make it recognizable whether the leaves are green with white or pink with green netting. Use it in mixed containers or as an edging plant in front of a shady shrub bed of camellias and mahonia.

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