Middle South

April, 2004
Regional Report

Plant Cool-Season Annuals

They won't last all summer, but that's no reason to bypass calendulas, lobelias, and snapdragons if you run across them as bedding plants. Place these cool-season beauties where you can enjoy them until midsummer, and then replace them with late-season marigolds and mums.

Clean Up Containers

It\'s a dirty job, but every fresh, new plant deserves a clean container. Fill a wheelbarrow with warm soapy water, let the old pots soak awhile, and then scrub them with a stiff brush. Once they dry in the sun, they\'re good as new.

Pot Up Tomatoes

Go ahead and buy tomato seedlings and shift them into roomier pots to relieve cramped roots. Peppers respond well to this kind of coddling, too. Keep the plants outside on sunny days in a place where they are shielded from the wind.

Start Basil Seeds

With so many tempting varieties to try, waste no time getting your first sowing of basil growing indoors under lights. To make sure I have a good supply all season long, I usually plant basil three times -- early spring, late spring, and late summer.

Tend the Salad Patch

If your spring lettuce is up and growing, thin it ruthlessly so that leaves of adjoining plants don't overlap. If you haven't planted a salad patch yet, get busy! Any kind of lettuce will grow beautifully as long as cool weather lasts. Ditto for spinach, mesclun, arugula, and other European salad greens.

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