Middle South

September, 2005
Regional Report

Plan for Fall Bulbs

Although it's too early to plant bulbs, it's not too early to start planning and placing orders. Survey your gardens and decide where you'd like a drift of cheery tulips. Choose a spot in the lawn for some early-flowering crocuses. Avoid planting later-flowering bulbs in the lawn, however, because the bulb foliage won't have time to ripen before it's time to mow.

Practice Good Garden Sanitation

Removing diseased plant matter from the garden regularly will go a long way toward reducing problems next year. Dispose of diseased material rather than composting it, unless you're sure your compost pile heats up thoroughly and you are diligent about turning it regularly to incorporate any partially decomposed material.

Fertilize Lawns

Help your lawns prepare for winter by fertilizing them in fall. Both cool- and warm-season lawn grasses benefit from fall feeding. The grass will grow into autumn, crowding out weeds, and the additional root growth stimulated by feeding will help plants endure winter weather.

Order Wildflower Seeds

It's almost time to sow wildflower seed mixtures, or to plant individual packets of wildflowers that perform best when grown as winter annuals, such as bachelor buttons, shirley poppies, and larkspur. Many perennial species, such as black-eyed Susans and ox-eye daisies, also grow best when sown in fall.

Harvest Sweet Potatoes

Dig sweet potatoes while the soil is still warm. The roots tend to develop mold when the soil temperature drops below 55 degrees. Cure the tubers in a very warm (80-degree) place for two weeks before storing them in a cool, dry place.

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