Middle South

June, 2006
Regional Report

Mulch Pathways

Mulching your garden paths will keep weeds under control there, so you can focus your attention on the beds. A thick layer of newspapers topped with hay or straw works great. The occasional weed will pop up, but it's easy to pull from the deep mulch.

Control Mosquitoes

Examine your yard for areas with standing water, such as old tires or upturned garbage can lids, and dump them. Mosquitoes breed in these types of places, so by removing them you'll get a head start on controlling the pests. In ponds and water gardens, use mosquito dunks -- disks that contain a specific strain of Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) that controls the mosquito larvae.

Rein In Exuberant Perennials

Some perennials are more aggressive than others and will completely take over a bed if not kept in check. For example, yarrow, bee balm, and coneflower are lovely, but all will spread. Dig up extra seedlings or divide the plants to give away or use in a new bed.

Root Coleus Cuttings

To increase your supply of coleus, take 3-inch-long stem cuttings, strip off all but the top two sets of leaves, and place them in a jar of water to root. You should see roots within three weeks. Pot up the rooted cuttings and you'll have fresh new plants to place outdoors for the second half of summer.

Pinch Basil

Pinch flower buds and blossoms from basil plants to force them to develop new branches. The green buds are edible, just like the leaves. Meanwhile, start seeds of a new crop indoors in a sunny windowsill. Succession planting is the best way to have a steady supply of flavorful leaves all summer long.

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