Coastal and Tropical South

April, 2008
Regional Report

Growing Green and Yellow Beans

Last call for bush beans, but keep planting limas on the southern coasts. Limas are an indicator of the climatic differences in our region: coast region gardeners plant them March through August, while in more tropical areas limas are grown August through April. Areas like central Florida fall in between and can plant now or in September.

Plant Melons on the Southern Coasts

Reliable cantaloupe varieties like 'Hales Best' can still safely be planted along the southern coasts, as well as watermelon 'Moon and Stars' or 'Sugar Baby' for smaller families. Sandy soils are preferred, or well-drained garden soils with a pH near neutral, so lime may be needed.

Watch for Insects on Okra

Okra is as attractive as its hibiscus family relatives, and as likely to have ants "farming" aphids on them or to be attacked by skeletonizing insects, or both. Watch the plants for the first activity of pinhead-sized aphids or little larvae, and spray with insecticidal soap to control them.

Cut Roses to Promote Reblooming

To promote reblooming in roses, watch where you deadhead or cut flowers for the vase. Just below the flower will be a compound leaf with only three leaflets, but look further down the cane for a five-leaflet leaf. Cut the rose 1/4 inch above a "fiver" that points toward the outside of the plant.

Encouraging Ground Covers

It can be frustrating to wait as ground covers spread to fill in a new bed, and weeding can be a constant chore. Lay newspaper between the plants and mulch the top with ground bark or other organic material. Use a sprayer to apply fertilizer only to the plants.

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