Lower South

December, 2006
Regional Report

Reduce Fertilizer For Indoor Plants

The low light and cooler temperatures of winter mean your houseplants will need less fertilizer. Unless plants are in a warm, very well-lighted atrium or bright window, you can probably cut back fertilizing by half. Also watch soil moisture, as it is easy to overwater during the winter months.

Grow More Salads

Here in the south we can grow many salad vegetables all winter. Plant lettuce in small sections every two weeks to keep you in fresh salads all winter. Other winter greens include spinach, arugula, kale, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, broccoli, green onions, and chard. Give these cool-weather veggies a cover on a bitter cold night to keep them going all winter.

Put Perennials to Bed

Clean up freeze-damaged tender perennials, such as cannas, ginger, lantana, salvia, and some ferns by cutting tops back to a couple of inches above the soil and mulching the beds. Use the trimmings for the compost pile or as a base for garden paths.

Care for Holiday Plants

Keep holiday plants moist but not soggy and in a cool, bright place. This will help them last longer and look their best. Avoid leaving them in areas where hot air drafts will blow on them.

Use Soil Tests to Help in Soil Preparation

If you are planning on turning a new area into a garden next spring, there is still time to have your soil tested. Your County Extension office can provide information on how to take and submit a soil test, and how to amend the soil based on the results. It is much easier to amend the soil before planting than after.

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