Middle South

July, 2004
Regional Report

Plant Legumes

As garden space becomes vacant, fill it with tasty bush beans, limas, or purple hull peas. Fast-growing, heat tolerant and nutritious, they're good for the soil and for you, too. After the seeds sprout, be sure to thin plants to at least 12 inches apart.

Propagate Tomatoes

Look for 4-inch-long suckers on your tomato plants that show no signs of flowering, and pot them up in fresh potting soil. Kept moist and protected from strong sun, they will quickly strike roots and be ready to set out in only 3 weeks, assuring you of plenty of tomatoes in early fall.

Tend to Brambles

Relieve blackberries and raspberries of canes that bore this year, cutting them off at ground level. When new canes grow chest high, pinch off the tips to encourage the development of short lateral branches, which will produce next year\'s crop.

Sow Sunflowers

Spring-sown sunflowers are peaking, which is your sign to plant a second crop for fall. Sunflowers planted now will grow quickly and do a great job of shading out weeds. Varieties that bear flowers tinged with bronze and burgundy look great with the yellows and golds of autumn.

Make Hot Compost

If you want to turn out a batch of steamy compost, gather some grass clippings and mix them with soil and other random waste from your kitchen and garden. Turn the heap every other day, and it will cook so hot that the finished compost will be ready to use in only three weeks.

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