Lower South

January, 2008
Regional Report

Starting Christmas Cactus From a Cutting

Want to start cuttings of your Christmas cactus? After the blooms are done, break off a section with four or five joints and insert the basal end into a pot of moderately moist potting soil. Place a plastic bag over the cutting and secure it around the pot with a rubber band. Set it on a windowsill out of direct sunlight. The cutting should be rooted in three to four weeks.

Fertilize Cool-Season Color Beds

Cool-season flowering bedding plants need good nutrition to keep them vigorous and blooming up a storm. Microbial activity slows down considerably in cool winter soils, making nutrients less available. These plants perform best with a light fertilizing every four to six weeks. Use a complete plant food with a 3-1-2 or similar ratio of nutrients.

Order Seeds Early

Order seeds soon so you will be ready to get an early start on the spring and summer garden. Seed catalogs are arriving now and it's fun to page through them and plan the best gardening year ever. There's plenty to plant even now, whether starting seeds indoors or directly out in the garden. The early orders get the best selection, too.

Test Soil in New Gardening Areas

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 rather than after.

Plant Tulip and Hyacinth Bulbs

If you purchased bulbs that you have not yet planted, it is time to do so. Don't forget those tulip and hyacinth bulbs you have stored in the refrigerator. They should be planted by early January for best results. These are usually one-season performers in the south, so plan on reworking the beds in spring to plant summer color plants.

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