Middle South

March, 2005
Regional Report

Repot Houseplants

Indoor plants are starting their burst of spring growth now that the days are longer, so it\'s a good time to repot, if necessary. Carefully remove plants from their containers to see if they are rootbound -- that is, if the roots are filling the container and starting to circle or grow out the drainage holes. If so, it\'s time to repot into a container about an inch larger in diameter, using fresh potting soil.

Start Begonias

Plant begonia tubers concave side up in pots filled with moistened, well-drained potting soil, covering the tuber with about 1/2 inch of soil. Place flats in a warm room out of direct sun and water to keep the soil moist but not soggy. Keep the plants indoors until all danger of frost has passed.

Start Basil Indoors

Heat-loving basil won\'t thrive in cool spring temperatures, but you can start seeds indoors for an early summer harvest. Plant seeds in premoistened seed-starting mix, and place the pots in a sunny windowsill or under grow lights. Plant outdoors after the last frost date, and be prepared to cover the plants should a late frost threaten.

Plant Beets

Sow beet seeds. Note that beets always need thinning, because an individual beet \"seed\" is actually a fruit made up of multiple seeds. So you\'ll need to thin the seedlings down to about 4 inches apart. Saute those beet green thinnings for a special treat, and look forward to a harvest of roots in early summer.

Harvest Early Greens

Continue to harvest early greens. Many cool-season greens will begin to bolt (go to seed) once the weather heats up, and will become bitter tasting. So harvest and enjoy them now, and plan to replace the plants with heat-tolerant greens, such as chard or malabar spinach.

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