Middle South

September, 2006
Regional Report

Plant Fall Vegetables

Plant seeds of spinach, lettuce, kale, turnip, and radish now for a fall crop. After planting, water the rows and mulch lightly. You may find that your fall harvest is bigger and tastier than your spring planting, since these crops do best when they mature during cool weather.

Renovate Lawns

Fall is a good time to renovate bare spots in your lawn. Be sure to choose a grass variety appropriate for your conditions (for example, sun/shade). Prepare the area by raking thoroughly, then adding a thin layer of compost or topsoil. Cover newly seeded areas with row cover fabric or a light scattering of straw to keep birds from eating the seed, and keep it well watered.

Weed Around Fruit Trees

Controlling weeds around fruit trees can help prevent pest problems next year. Many pests overwinter in leaf litter and on weeds, as well as in the top inch or two of soil. Rake leaves and dispose of them and keep the area weeded or mowed. If you've got mulch under the tree, gently rake it around to expose overwintering insect larvae.

Bring Houseplants Indoors

Begin preparing houseplants for the move indoors. If possible, acclimate them over the course of a few weeks to the dryer, warmer, darker indoor conditions by placing them in a transition area, such as a porch. Inspect plants for pests before bringing them indoors.

Harvest Pumpkins

Harvest pumpkins and winter squash, such as acorn and butternut, when the fruits are fully mature; don't wait until the vines are killed by frost. Use a knife or pruners to cut the fruits from the vine, leaving an inch or two of stem attached. The fruits should keep for at least a month if stored in a cool, dark, dry place.

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