Middle South

September, 2003
Regional Report

Thin Leafy Greens

Your salad and cooking greens will grow bigger and healthier if each plant has plenty of room to grow. Thinning also makes it easier to spot aphid problems should these sucking insects infest your plants. As you pull up baby plants, add them to salads or layer them onto sandwiches.

Fertilize Lawns

Both cool-season and warm-season lawn grasses do a better job of enduring winter weather if they are fertilized in the fall. Fall feeding helps tighten up the turf, making it more resistant to winter weeds, and encourages plenty of healthy new roots, which enhances winter hardiness.

Order Wildflower Seeds

It's almost time to sow wildflower seed mixtures, or to plant individual packets of wildflowers that perform best when grown as winter annuals, such as bachelor buttons, shirley poppies, and larkspur. Many perennial species, such as black-eyed susans and ox-eye daisy, also grow best when sown in the fall.

Harvest Sweet Potatoes

Dig sweet potatoes while the soil is still warm. The roots tend to develop molds when the soil temperature drops below 55 degrees. Cure the tubers in a very warm (80 degree) place for two weeks before storing them in a cool, dry place.

Coddle Holiday Cactus

Leave your holiday cactus outdoors for now, preferably in a spot that gets a few hours of bright sun and no light after dark. Give it regular water and fertilizer. The combination of attentive care, bright daytime light, and nights that are getting longer sets the stage for heavy bud production in early winter.

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