Coastal and Tropical South

August, 2006
Regional Report

Train Tomatoes

It's important to keep those young tomato plants away from soil-borne fungi and slugs. As they grow, trellising allows the good air circulation important to pollination. Use a stake and long, soft pantyhose or cotton ties, install cages, or set up fence posts strung with plastic-coated clothesline wire, whatever you need to get them up off the ground.

Sow Spinach

It's time to soak those spinach seeds for a few hours or overnight in warm water. Use a hoe to open a row in that garden bed you limed last month (remember?). Drop the seeds in at 1-inch intervals and cover with a half inch of soil. Tamp lightly and keep watered.

Revitalize Lawns

If your lawn hasn't been up to snuff lately, take action now. Fertilize with a formula made for use at this time of year on your particular kind of lawn grass, and use a spreader to apply it. Look for "winterizer" or "fall feeding" lawn foods and use as directed.

Keep Pinching

Some plants are at their best when not in bloom. Annual flowers are quick to age, go to seed, and die, but coleus and basil -- grown for their leaves -- will soon lose their vigor if allowed to bloom. Get into the routine of continually pinching the tiny flowers out of the top of each stem.

Making a Mini Planter

Looking for a good classroom project? Recycle 2-liter plastic bottles into planters. Cut off the bottom third of the bottle and punch holes in the sides near the bottom. Fill with potting soil and plant overwintering annuals, such as cornflowers and calendula. If seeding, thin to two or three plants per pot.

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