Upper South

July, 2008
Regional Report

Harvest Regularly

Many of the classic summer vegetables, including zucchini and other summer squash, beans, okra, and cucumbers, need to be picked regularly in order for the plants to continue producing for the longest possible period. While you're harvesting, check plants for any pest problems and control accordingly. Continue to weed, water, mulch, fertilize, or do any other care that's necessary, too.

Rejuvenate Annuals

Are you impatiens and petunias looking a bit bedraggled? Shear them back by half, then boost their regrowth by feeding with fish emulsion or other water-soluble fertilizer. This technique works with both plants growing directly in the garden as well as those in containers. Many other annuals also benefit from this rejuvenation technique.

Plan for Fall Harvest

In several weeks it will be time to start the fall garden, including sowing kale, beets, chard, spinach, and peas, and setting out transplants of cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli. If you haven't already planned for this, begin preparing the planting beds now, buy seeds, and start the transplants (or call around to garden centers to see if they'll be carrying them). To extend the fall harvest season, use floating row covers or hoops covered with plastic.

Gather Bouquets

Bring flowers indoors and also share them with friends. Keep a bucket of water and shears handy so you can go out early in the morning, which is the best time to pick flowers. Immediately after cutting a stem, plunge it into water. When you're done gathering, set the flowers in a cool, dimly lit spot for several hours, a process called conditioning. Then it's time to create beautiful bouquets. Make sure vases are clean and use cool water containing floral preservative.

Enjoy Summer Berries

Blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries are all ripening now. Hopefully, you have some in your own yard, but if not, plant some next year because they are all easy to grow. Meanwhile, go to a farmers' market to get locally grown ones. Any of these berries can be simply frozen in plastic freezer bags for use throughout the year.

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