Middle South

February, 2008
Regional Report

Plant Tuberous Begonias

Tuberous begonias flower all summer long and are perfect for containers and hanging baskets. Start tubers indoors in flats or individual 6-inch pots, placing them hollow side up. Keep soil moist but not soggy. Plants should sprout in about three weeks. Provide bright light and keep them indoors until all danger of frost has passed.

Prune Woody Herbs

Prune off the woodiest stems from your thyme and sage plants to encourage vigorous new growth. If your sage plants are more than four years old, consider starting some seeds or rooting cuttings so you can add new plants. Quality tends to decline on older plants. Both sage and thyme are ornamental as well as tasty, so consider adding them to perennial gardens.

Start Seeds of Slow Growers

Start seeds of slow-growing annuals including ageratum, alyssum, coleus, dusty miller, geraniums, impatiens, petunias, phlox, and snapdragons. These may take up to 12 weeks before they're large enough to transplant in the garden. Write the number of days to germination on plant tags so you don't give up too soon on slow-to-germinate types.

Finish Early Spring Chores

Repair and paint window boxes, planters, and trellises. Spruce up lawn furniture and add new cushions if needed. Erect rabbit- and groundhog-proof fences around your vegetable garden. Construct or set up supports for pole beans, cucumbers, and tomatoes. Come spring, these tasks will be done and you'll be ready to plant.

Plan for Bare-Root Plants

Plan to plant dormant, bare-root shrubs and roses about one month before the average last frost date. Plant as soon as possible after purchase; in the meantime, keep plants in a cool, shaded spot, and keep packing material moist. At planting time, dig a hole large enough to accommodate the spread-out roots. Prune off dead or damaged roots. Follow label instructions on planting depth.

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