Middle South

October, 2006
Regional Report

Plant Garlic

Purchase garlic sold specifically for planting, or buy organic garlic. Supermarket garlic may have been treated to inhibit sprouting. Break the garlic head into individual cloves, and keep the largest ones for planting. (Use the small cloves for cooking.) Plant cloves about 3 inches apart with the pointy side up. Experiment with different varieties to try different flavors and see which grows the best.

Continue Mowing

Cool-season grasses will continue to grow into late fall. As long as the lawn is growing, it will need mowing. Rather than raking up fallen leaves, mow right over them; they'll decompose and return nutrients to the soil.

Add Lime to Gardens

It takes some time for powdered limestone to dissolve and begin its job of raising soil pH. Therefore, fall is a good time to add lime to gardens and the lawn so it will have several months to dissolve before planting season begins in the spring. Depending on the results of a soil test, spread lime with a lawn spreader, using the powdered or pelleted forms. If your soil needs magnesium as well as lime, use dolomitic limestone.

Mulch Cold-Hardy Root Vegetables

If you have a proper root cellar or another method of storing root vegetables, go ahead and harvest them. If you don't, then wait to harvest. Instead, cover mature plantings of carrots, beets, and parsnips with a thick layer of straw. This will insulate the soil and prevent the ground from freezing, and you'll be able to harvest fresh produce into early winter by moving aside the straw and digging the roots.

Plant Spring-Blooming Bulbs

There's still time to plant spring bloomers, such as daffodils, crocuses, and tulips. Selection may be limited, but even if the stores or catalogs don't have your favorites, go ahead and get something -- anything -- in the ground. In early spring, even the plainest daffodils and crocuses are spectacular.

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