Upper South

April, 2008
Regional Report

Keep Planting Cool-Season Vegetables

Vegetables that thrive in cooler temperatures and are able to withstand frost can continue to be planted through the end of April and into May. For peas, it's best to choose a variety with a short maturity. Plant radish and lettuce seed every two weeks in order to have a continuous supply into summer. Sow seed of carrots, spinach, kohlrabi, beets, parsnips, and turnips; and transplant cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. Save seeds of greens like kale and collards for late-summer planting.

Plant Everbearing Strawberries

Enjoy your own pesticide-free, homegrown strawberries from July until frost by planting everbearing strawberries this spring. The best varieties are ones designated "day neutral," meaning that their ability to flower and fruit is not affected by day length. The most widely available of these are 'Tribute' and 'Tristar'. Choose a sunny spot and prepare soil. Mulch around plants. Pick off flower buds until July, then allow the plants to bloom and bear fruit.

Get Roses Ready for Growth

If roses were protected with a winter covering, remove it now. Cut dead or damaged canes back to green wood. With modern roses, prune interior and crossing canes, with the aim of creating a vase-shaped bush with an open center. Cut canes at a 45-degree angle just above an outward-facing leaf bud. Sprinkle a half-cup of Epsom salts around each rose plant and scratch it into the soil. Also apply a complete fertilizer according to the manufacturer's directions.

Keep Up With Lawn Care

If you haven't tuned up the lawn mower yet, better get to it. Replace the spark plug, drain oil and replace, clean or replace air and oil filters, and sharpen blades. Start cutting grass when it's about 3 inches high. It's best to split the total amount of fertilizer for the year into at least three applications, timing the first one to coincide with the first mowing. If there are bare spots in your yard, reseed them now with a high-quality seed mix suited to the amount of sunlight the lawn receives.

Take Notes On Spring Bulbs

Although the earliest of the spring-flowering bulbs, such as snowdrops, have been blooming since mid-January, the majority of bulbs are at their peak now. Make an outing to a nearby public garden with a bulb display or to gardening friends to see the many possibilities of these glorious flowers. Think about where and how they would bring beauty and pleasure to your garden. Take notes so that later in the summer you can order bulbs and plant them this fall.

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Special Report - Garden to Table

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