Middle South

May, 2005
Regional Report

Pinch Mums

Snip the tips of chrysanthemum stems to encourage branching. This makes the plants much bushier and doubles the number of flowers that appear in late summer. Also pinch back asters, Mexican bush sage, and other late bloomers.

Plant Basil

Make a few successive sowings of basil several weeks apart to ensure a continuous supply of this must-have herb. Be sure to includes a purple variety, because its shiny leaves are especially beautiful. Sliced tomatoes with fresh chopped basil and crumbled feta cheese is one of summer\'s finest treats.

Seed Summer Squash

Four summer squash plants is plenty to ensure good pollination and a continuous supply of young, tender fruits. If space is limited, choose bush, rather than vining, varieties. Plant seeds 1 inch deep, then thin plants to 18 to 24 inches apart, depending on variety.

Plant a Variety of Beans

Plant several varieties for an extended harvest. Bush beans grow quickly and produce a large harvest over a short time. Pole beans start producing later but will continue until frost, as long as you harvest them regularly.

Set Out Tomatoes

Set tomato plants in the garden, keeping an old blanket nearby so you can cover the plants if temperatures drop to the 40s at night. Set the plants so that half or more of the stem is buried. The plants will form new roots along the buried stems, which will help them get the water they need during dry spells.

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