Upper South

August, 2004
Regional Report

Explore Turnips

If you only know turnips as giant, knobby, and strong-tasting, consider growing some of the types that are eaten when only 2 inches or so in diameter, such as 'Tokyo Cross', 'Shoigoin', or 'Oasis'. They are mild and tender, great for eating both raw and cooked. Planted now, they will be ready to harvest in about two months. Just before heavy frosts, protect with leaf mulch, fabric, or a cold frame. That way you can continue to harvest well into winter.

Keep Up the Annuals

Even with the unseasonably cool weather our region has been having, container plantings are likely filled with roots and need daily watering. To keep plants thriving, use a water-soluble or slow-release fertilizer. Some annuals self sow, such as spider flowers, love-in-a-mist, abelmoschus, and annual poppies. Assist them by letting some of the faded flowers remain until seeds have developed, then pull up the plants and shake the seed over the bed.

Fertilize Yellowing Hibiscus

Tender tropical hibiscus growing in containers may begin to exhibit yellow foliage by this time of year from lack of iron. Apply an iron-based, liquid fertilizer mixed with water around the base of the plant according to the manufacturer's directions. Remove the yellowed leaves, and the remaining foliage should stay green. Overwinter the plants indoors, and apply the iron fertilizer periodically or whenever leaves start to yellow again.

Renew Lawns

Late summer/early fall is the ideal time to repair or replace problem lawn areas. Good soil preparation and plenty of fertilizer are important, as is choosing the right grass. For a sunny area with light use, go with a mixture of bluegrass varieties and fine fescues. For shade, use a higher percentage of fine fescue but still include some bluegrass. For areas that get a lot of use, consider one of the newer varieties of coarse fescue.

Evaluate Your Gardens

Take a notebook and walk around your yard now to analyze what's working and what isn't. Cut a flower and carry it to different areas to see what color combinations might work better. Decide if certain shrubs would be better suited to a different location, and make plans to move them in late fall. Look at your yard from both inside your home and from various other vantage points to see if certain areas should be expanded or reworked. Go through magazines and make a clipping file of favorite gardens or plants.

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