Lower South

March, 2008
Regional Report

Check for Plum Curculios

Plum curculio attacks peaches, nectarines, plums, cherries, apricots, pears, and quince, starting about the time the blooms have fallen. They are one of the more common "worms" found in our tree fruits. Check for them by spreading a white sheet beneath a branch early in the morning and jarring the tree with a hard jolt. The sluggish insects will fall to the sheet. Controlled sprays should begin when about 3/4 of the petals have fallen. Check with your local Extension office for free information on managing these and other pests.

Plant Warm-Season Vegetables

The sooner you plant those warm-season veggies, the better. Squash, cucumbers, beans, and other spring crops need to have time to mature before the real heat arrives. Truly heat-tolerant crops like okra, sweet potatoes, and Malabar can wait if space is limited.

Give Transplants a Boost

Give all transplants you set out a drink of a diluted fertilizer solution at planting. Then feed them every week or so with a dilute solution to keep them vigorous. There are many types of liquid fertilizers available including fish emulsion and seaweed, which work quite well.

Control Weeds Early

Warm-season weeds are getting a start in our garden beds. It is much easier to control them with a light hoeing just below the soil surface or with a blanket of mulch when they are still young. If you wait a few more weeks it will be a lot more work, and your garden plants may suffer in the process.

Plant Warm-Season Flowers

The passing of the last average frost date brings warm-season gardening to center stage. After the danger of frost is past in your area, begin setting out cold-tender flowers such as ageratum, bacopa, cockscomb, coreopsis, cosmos, cleome, marigolds, nasturtiums, petunias, phlox, portulaca, salvia, sweet alyssum, sunflowers, and zinnias.

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