Middle South

August, 2005
Regional Report

Start Sowing Lettuce

Get a head start on your fall lettuce crop by sowing seed indoors. Seeds will germinate better in cooler indoor temperatures than in hot summer soil. Plan to transplant seedlings into the gardens when the first one or two true leaves appear. You may want to provide some afternoon shade for several weeks.

Divide Daisies

Shasta daisies often persist through winter as a dark green ground cover in our area. This doubles their value in the landscape. Now is a good time to dig and divide crowded clumps. Dig the whole clump and divide it into equal sections. Fall division leads to better leaf growth in winter, followed by heavy flowering next spring.

Sow Biennials

Indoors, start seeds of biennial flowers, such as foxglove, hollyhock, Siberian wallflower, and lunaria (also known as money plant). When set out in mid autumn, these short-lived perennials and biennials will bloom the following spring. If the weather is kind to them, they will continue to grow for another few years before dying off.

Root Cuttings

Take cuttings of favorite geraniums and any other "annual" flowers that you want to overwinter for replanting next year. Several popular bedding plants are perennial in warm climates and can be brought indoors as houseplants. Geraniums are one of the most commonly overwintered "annuals."

Organize Seeds

Store leftover seeds in tightly sealed glass jars in a cool, dark place. In the garden, collect seeds from flowers such as coneflowers and rudbeckia, and either replant immediately or place in jars for storage. You can also allow the plants to drop their seeds naturally, then plan to transplant new plants next spring.

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