Upper South

July, 2006
Regional Report

Combat Cucumber Beetles

Cucumbers, melons, and squash are all susceptible to cucumber beetles, either striped or spotted. Cleaning up garden debris in the fall helps to reduce their numbers, but they're still almost inevitable in the garden. Larvae feed on the roots, while the adults destroy above-ground parts; plus they introduce bacterial wilt to the plants. To control, use pyrethrum, rotenone, neem, or kaolin-clay sprays, applying every one to two weeks.

Start Fall Vegetables

Begin planning the fall garden by acquiring seed for direct-sown crops like spinach, arugula, winter lettuces, kale, collards, turnips, and Asian greens. These crops are usually planted starting in mid-July until mid-August. For crops that are best transplanted, like cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower, start the seeds indoors or in the greenhouse for planting into the garden in a month to six weeks. Order frost-protection fabric now so that you'll have it on hand when you need it later this year.

Create Beds Around Trees and Shrubs

Trunks of trees and shrubs are often damaged by lawn mowers or string trimmers. To prevent this, create beds at least several feet in diameter around the base. Layer cardboard or sections of newspaper around the plants in order to kill the surrounding grass or weeds. Cover with an organic mulch, such as dark hardwood chips. Planting annuals in these beds provides an opportunity for creating more visual interest in the landscape, as well as a means of protecting trees and shrubs.

Harvest Garlic, Onions, and Shallots

As the tops begin to turn yellow, dig up garlic, onions, and shallots. Gently wipe the soil off the bulbs, then spread in a single layer on screen raised off the ground. Let cure in a cool, dry, well-ventilated place out of direct sun for at least a week, although two weeks or longer may be needed for hardneck garlic. When thoroughly dry, cut off the tops, keeping an inch-long stem, and store in net bags in a cool, dry location.

Take Note of Daylily Colors

Although enthusiasts often grow daylilies grouped together in beds, these mainstays of the garden are also wonderful when combined in flower beds and borders with other plants. With the wide range of colors now available among the thousands of cultivars, it's possible to create some great color combinations in the garden. To help you in determining some combinations, take photos of the daylilies now when they're in bloom, marking them either by name or some type of code, then when dividing and replanting you'll be better able to match colors.

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