Middle South

October, 2005
Regional Report

Feed Cool-Season Grasses

If you haven't already fertilized your fescue or bluegrass lawn, do it now. Choose an organic or timed-release fertilizer and use a spreader to ensure even distribution. Avoid weed-and-feed fertilizers and other weed control chemicals now. Instead, apply a fertilizer that contains plenty of nitrogen and phosphorus -- the first two numbers in any fertilizer analysis.

Pot Up Some Pansies

Plant some pansies in pots so you can shift them around wherever you want spots of color. Container-grown pansies often bloom earlier than those grown in beds, and they'll last longer into fall and early winter since you can place them in protected areas when cold weather threatens.

Harvest Lettuce

Chances are, most of your garden plants are winding down now. But cool-loving lettuce may still be going strong. Harvest leaf lettuces first, because they're usually the least cold hardy. Romaine types stand up to winter cold best, followed by some types of butterheads. Plastic-covered tunnels can keep lettuce and spinach protected for harvests right into winter.

Stockpile Pine Needles

Keep your eyes open for neighbors who think pine needles are trash, and offer to take the debris off their hands. To preserve the color of the needles, store your cache in a shady place protected from direct sun. Then use the needles to mulch azaleas, rhododendrons, blueberries, and other plants that prefer acidic soil.

Transplant Sweet William

This fragrant old favorite grows best if you renew the planting each fall by digging rooted sections and moving them to new places in your garden. Any garden location that receives at least a half day of sun will be fine for sweet William. Plant some near peonies, which bloom at about the same time in spring.

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