Coastal and Tropical South

July, 2006
Regional Report

Monitoring Root Health of Carob Trees

If you notice exposed carob roots, don't cover them with soil, and apply only an inch of mulch annually. Distorted, lumpy places in the roots may indicate a fungus infection at work. Consult a horticulturist or arborist for diagnosis and treatment.

Clean Up Before Replanting

Before you plant the fall garden, clean up. Cut down the weeds in and around the garden to eliminate potential pests and reduce competition for fertilizer and water. Use a wire brush to scrub metal tomato cages, dipping it frequently in a solution of bleach and water (1:10 ratio).

Solarize for Weed Control

If your garden has spaces that are not in use, except by a carpet of weeds, take note: now is the time to cover the soil with thick (6ml) clear plastic. Anchor the edges securely on all sides, and leave it alone until October. The heat that builds up underneath the plastic can kill weeds to a depth of six inches or more.

Caring for Gardenias

Summer brings flowers, but also yellow and black leaves, to gardenias. Resist the frequent advice to pour on iron supplements, or if you use them, put another strategy to work, too. Iron may be unavailable, not absent. Work an inch of compost into the soil, and apply fish emulsion fertilizer.

Keep the Veggies Crisp

To keep peppers crisp in vinegar sauces, blanch them briefly in boiling water, then plunge them into an ice bath, drain, and pack in vinegar. This procedure works to keep the color in many vegetables, such as green beans, before canning or preparing for tempura or salads.

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