Coastal and Tropical South

September, 2004
Regional Report

Thinning Is In

Leafy greens (mustard and turnips) and lettuce of every sort (heads, mesclun, and oakleaf) must be thinned to reach their potential. Relax, everybody overplants those little seeds, but pull with your fingers or use tiny scissors to cut out the excess so plants stand at least 6 inches.

Remove Acorns

Thousands of tiny oaks have sprouted already this year, thanks to early acorn drop. Get them out while they're less than 3 inches tall, unless you're trying to reforest with seedlings. In that case, thin to at least 1 foot apart and fertilize with 0-20-20 this fall.

Plant Celery and Kohlrabi

Two underappreciated vegetables -- celery and kohlrabi -- belong in the fall garden in our region. Odd-looking kohlrabi looks a bit like its relatives in the cole family, but its stem swells like a tennis ball right above ground level. Sweet and crunchy, it's eaten raw or cooked.

Heed the Signs of Dieback

Many shrubs and trees can lose a limb or two a year with no apparent affect on their ultimate age or size. But when such losses are progressive and no new growth comes along to replace them, consider they may have dieback, and prune severely to forestall it.

Take Care Disposing of Chemicals

When disposing of garden chemicals, use common sense and check local regulations regarding empty vs. full containers. Sometimes they must be treated differently. Don't pour out the remains of anything you aren't familiar with, and wrap bottles carefully so they don't break in transport to an appropriate disposal facility.

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