Coastal and Tropical South

January, 2005
Regional Report

Growing Dependable Spuds

There must be twenty potato varieties that claim to be perfect for our regions, and perhaps with ideal drainage and favorable weather, they will be. For reliable, delicious potatoes, grow 'Red LaSoda'. Plant in a tall row, then pull up leaves as the plants grow for easy harvest.

Combat Early Weeds

Take a look at the lawn this month, and if henbit and clover are making their march across the span, take action now before they can flower and set seed. Pick your strategy to match the situation: pull if there's only a few, or spray large patches with non-toxic herbicides. Always read the label carefully.

Cut Down Ornamental Grasses

Cut down ornamental grasses this month. Whether it's pampas or maiden grass, liriope or mondo, it's time to make room for new growth. Rural gardeners may be able to burn the dead foliage, but in most municipalities you'll need to cut if off with hedge shears -- manual or power, depending on the size of the grass.

Monitor Soil Moisture in Preparation for Tree and Shrub Planting

With more than adequate rainfall in much of our region this winter -- and even snow in some spots -- soils are waterlogged. Don't despair of planting trees this month. If the next two weeks are warm and windy, soils won't be sticky and you can plant shrubs, too.

Make Compost in a Bag

If piles aren't practical on your property, you can make compost in a standard size (30-gallon) trash bag. You can even offer to pick up the neighbor's leaves (pre-bagged, of course) for this purpose. Add half a cup of fertilizer to each bag, keep it tied shut, and shake to mix. Vent the bag weekly.

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