Lower South

March, 2006
Regional Report

Protect New Transplants

If you are a gambler and like to set out tomatoes and other warm-season transplants early, take steps to protect them from cold nights. Set two milk jugs full of water on each side of a transplant, right up against the plant. Cover the cage with a row cover or clear plastic. Leave the cage tops open during the day if you use plastic, but fold them over to close the tops at night.

Preparing Seed Potatoes

We have a narrow window for getting potatoes in the ground in spring. Cut the seed potatoes into pieces with a bud or eye on each piece. Toss them in a paper sack with some sulfur dust and shake them to coat the cut surfaces. Then let them dry on a piece of newspaper for a few days before planting in the garden.

Prevent Weeds from Seeding

Garden weeds like henbit and chickweed are growing fast toward flowering and setting seed. Remove them now or you'll have a few years of weed seed out there in the garden. If the seeds have matured, it's best to discard the weeds in the trash as most compost piles don't heat up enough to destroy the seeds.

Get an Early Start On Cucumbers and Squash

Cucumbers and squash like warm temperatures so it's still too early to plant them outdoors. However, you can start your own transplants in 4-inch pots indoors. In a few weeks they'll be ready to move outside to the garden. Don't leave them too long in the pots or they will not transplant well.

Plant Roses

Planting bare-root roses is an economical way to add new plants to your garden, but they need to go in soon so they have time to develop new roots before warm weather arrives. Firm soil in around the roots and water the plant in well to insure good root-soil contact.

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