Coastal and Tropical South

July, 2007
Regional Report

Patrol the Garden

Take a walk around the garden between rainstorms to look for signs of fungus diseases. Spotted leaves, collapsed annuals, and fallen flowers can harbor the culprits, and a dry day or two will send their spores flying onto previously undamaged plants. Clip the sad sacks and remove all debris.

Provide Support to Weighty Pear Limbs

Kiefer pears often bear heavy crops that bend their branches down. In a wet summer, the bent branches can break. If yours begin to droop severely or try to crack, prop them up from below to prevent breakage or prune off some fruit to ease the strain on the tree.

Spread Pre-Vacation Mulch

When you'll be away from home for more than a week, especially if new shrubs and trees depend on you for water, take steps. To prevent dehydration or a washout, depending on the weather that week, add an extra inch or so of mulch to the blanket around them.

Prevent Sun-Damaged Plants

Not just a problem for people, the sun can cause damage to tomatoes and other vegetables. If you have removed leaves because of spotting, or if the leaf canopy is otherwise lacking, eggplant and peppers can get burnished brown patches. Sunburn ruins the flavor and discolors the fruit. Harvest sooner, or shade them.

Using Oversized Squash

Ok, so you let the squash get a bit too big. Pick them quick, and pull up the plants if they're skeletonized. It's time to plant again. Slice the fruits in half and flake out the largest seeds with a fork. Then grill them or peel and chop them for a casserole or souffle.

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