Middle South

July, 2003
Regional Report

Collect Japanese Beetles

Commercial Japanese beetle traps may attract beetles that would otherwise eat your neighbor\'s plants. It\'s better to collect the beetles by hand by shaking them into a jar of soapy water. For best results, collect them in the morning, when they\'re moving slowly.

Plant Cucumbers

Start a few cucumbers indoors and set out the plants when they are two to three weeks old. Plants started now will produce a good crop in early fall, when there may be little else ready to pick in your garden.

Seed Kale

Sow fresh kale seed indoors in individual containers, and keep the seedlings under bright lights to encourage strong growth. Set the seedlings out four to five weeks after sowing, and cover them with floating row covers to deter pests.

Prune Tomatoes

The best way to rejuvenate tomatoes that aren't sick, merely tired, is to trim the plants back to encourage new growth. New stems will quickly emerge, complete with blossom clusters. You also can propagate tomatoes by rooting stem cuttings in water or damp seed-starting mix.

Mulch Peppers

Peppers are finally loading up with fruit, so be sure to mulch the plants to keep the roots cool and moist. Stake plants if you like, or you can allow them to tumble over onto ground that is covered with a thick blanket of hay, straw, or even newspapers.

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