Middle South

April, 2008
Regional Report

Plant in Succession

Plant small sections of leaf lettuce every two weeks or so, rather than planting the whole bed at once. That way, you'll have tender, young leaves to harvest throughout the spring. As spring gives way to summer, choose non-bolting varieties.

Set Up Trellises

While you're waiting to plant warm-season pole beans, cucumbers, and climbing annual flowers, set up trellises and tepees for these vining plants. Set posts deeply into the ground and make sure the structures are sturdy enough to hold a heavy crop on a windy day.

Save on Soil in Large Planters

When planting large containers for the deck or patio, save on soil by creating a false bottom. Most annuals and vegetable plants don't need more than a foot of soil depth for their roots, so put some foam packing peanuts or empty plastic soda bottles in the very bottom, then cover with landscape fabric or a piece of cardboard cut to fit to keep the soil from sifting down.

Spread Corn Gluten Meal

To control annual weeds, spread corn gluten meal with your lawn spreader. It's a safe, organic option for preventing the germination of weeds, and it provides a small dose of nitrogen fertilizer. Don't use it in any areas you're trying to reseed or in the vegetable garden where you'll be planting seeds.

Mulch Wisely

While you're spreading decorative mulch, check to see that the mulch isn't getting too deep, especially around trees. A 2- to 4-inch layer is plenty. A deeper layer can inhibit oxygen and water movement in the soil. If necessary, remove some of the old mulch and compost it. Keep mulch several inches away from stems and trunks to minimize disease problems.

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