Middle South

October, 2007
Regional Report

Stockpile Pine Needles

Keep your eyes open for neighbors who think pine needles are trash, and offer to take the debris off their hands. To preserve the color of the needles, store your cache in a shady place protected from direct sun. Then use the needles for mulch, especially around azaleas, rhododendrons, blueberries, and other plants that prefer acidic soil.

Transplant Sweet William

Fragrant sweet William grows best if you renew the planting each fall by digging rooted sections and moving them to new places in your garden. Any garden location that receives at least a half day of sun will be fine. Plant some near peonies, which bloom at about the same time in spring.

Create a Windowsill Herb Garden

Dig up perennial herbs, such as chives and parsley, and pot them up to bring indoors. Start seeds of dill, basil, and other annual herbs to complete your windowsill garden. Then place it in a sunny windowsill or under fluorescent lights. There's a lot of flavor in a sprig or two of fresh herbs.

Prepare New Garden Beds

Dig new garden beds in preparation for planting next spring. Till the area and incorporate organic matter such as leaves and grass clippings. Plant a cover crop -- barley, winter rye, and/or Austrian peas -- to suppress weeds, minimize compaction by winter rains, and further increase organic matter when you till it in next spring.

Be Prepared for Early Frosts

Set aside some large cardboard boxes, old blankets, and tarps to cover tender plants if an early frost threatens. These early frosts are often followed by several weeks of warm weather. Cover plants in the late afternoon and remove the coverings the next morning after temperatures have warmed up.

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