In the Garden:
Lower South
August, 2000
Regional Report

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Foil mulch around squashes repelled various insects.

It's Fall Gardening Time

Summer in the South can be a trying time for gardeners. High temperatures and humidity and a lack of rainfall push our plants to the limit. Folks new to southern gardening are often lured into procrastinating during this hot summer season. It seems that since it's very hot, it can't be time to start a fall garden. However, by the time that first cool front and some fall rains arrive, the fall gardening season is well underway. In order to grow all those great-tasting fall veggies, we have to start planting now.

Planting Tomatoes

Tomatoes and peppers should be in by now to get some production before frost. Rather than using new tomato transplants, I usually tip-layer some of my old established plants. Here's how: Bend to the ground a strong-growing, disease-free vine and cover a section of that vine 18 inches back from the tip with some soil, leaving the last 8 to10 inches uncovered. Keep the soil moist, and in a few weeks the new plant will be well rooted and can be severed from the "mother plant." Pull up and discard the mother plant and allow the new one to take over.

Planting Squash-Family Crops

I'll be planting our summer squash, bush beans, and cucumbers this week, too. They will begin to bear fruit in late September and continue for one month before a frost shuts them down. Last summer we tried planting a garden using aluminum foil as a mulch and compared it to a newspaper and leaf mulch. The foil treated plants has less infection from insects. I think it was due to light reflecting into the air from the foil, confusing the insects that transmit the viruses.

Potato Planting Time

Potatoes will go in next week. There is a short window of opportunity for planting fall potatoes in mid to late August. If you wait until September, it will be too late to grow a good crop of nice-sized tubers. Next month will be the time to start some of those cool-season veggies, such as broccoli and cabbage. This fall I'll be glad I sweated and did all this planting.


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