Coastal and Tropical South

September, 2005
Regional Report

Sow Spinach

September is the only good time to plant traditional spinach varieties in our region, and the later the better. Work up a small area in the garden now, and add lime to the soil to sweeten it. Later, soak seed for a couple of hours in warm water before planting.

Caring for Camellias

If camellia or sasanqua leaves are pale or yellowed, turn them over to check for scale insects. Camellia scale looks like small oyster shells stuck to the back of pale leaves. Tea scale produces cottony masses under the splotchy leaves. Use products containing Neem to control them.

Etch Gourds

Got gourds or pumpkins ripening now? Take a sharp, fine-pointed tool and cut faces, shapes, or messages into the skin of the birdhouse and ladle gourds and jack-o'-lanterns. As the fruit ripens, the cuts will deepen and expand, making yours an exclusive decoration for the holidays.

Allow Reseeders ... Or Not

Lots of flowers and some vegetables will seed themselves in place if you let them. As the seed heads mature, rake back the mulch and spread a thin layer of compost around the mother plants if you want babies. If not, add to the mulch to prevent the reseeders from acting naturally.

Watch for Chinchbug Damage

Late summer adds chinchbugs to the mix of lawn pests on the attack. Spots turn yellow, then brown, as the bugs eat and move through. They flee fast when you look for them, but chinchbug damage is serious. Rake the dead areas very well, and use the least toxic pesticide drench -- not granules -- in this case.

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