Coastal and Tropical South

October, 2004
Regional Report

Plant a Pot

Even if you consider container gardening a wimp\'s way out of clay soil, grab big pots and make focal point planters to put by the door or in the breezeway. Start with a small shrub like nandina, drop in some bulbs (daffodils or freesias), and top them with panolas.

Save Kitchen Scraps

Put a plastic food container (with a cover) next to your cutting board to collect vegetable waste for the compost pile. You'll be amazed what a difference those celery ends, onion peels, eggshells, and coffee grounds (with filters) can do when you bury them in the leaves and grass clippings.

Start Bulbs for the Table

Don't miss this once-a-year chance to start bulb pots for the holiday table. Use paper white narcissus and bury them with just their noses showing in marble chips in a pot -- a Santa boot or a kettle perhaps. Water well and put containers in the dark until sprouts are 4 inches tall, then bring into sunlight.

Controlling Cabbageworms

Round holes in your greens can mean you've been visited by a small moth who laid eggs that hatched into cabbageworms. They can devastate a planting. Remove damaged leaves or even cut each plant down with scissors to a neat crown; most will regrow. Dust if you must with the biological control Bacillus thuringiensis, sold under the brand name Dipel, among others.

Fertilize to Rejuvenate Plants

Trees and shrubs that didn't perform this year or were damaged can be encouraged to grow new and stronger roots. Use a fertilizer with no nitrogen at all. To renew the blue in hydrangeas, mix 1 cup of aluminum sulfate in 1 gallon of water for a 3-foot shrub.

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