Middle South

July, 2008
Regional Report

Water Soil Before Fertilizing

Only apply fertilizers to actively growing plants, and make sure soil is moist before feeding. If container plants have dried out completely, rehydrate the soil and let the plants revive first. Be sure to dilute fertilizers according to the label; concentrated solutions of synthetic fertilizers can burn plant roots. Better yet, choose organic fertilizers derived from fish emulsion and seaweed.

Cut Back Perennials for Rebloom

Some early summer-blooming perennials can be sheared back now to produce more blossoms for the end of summer and into early autumn. Trim back leggy stems and faded flowers of catmint, delphiniums, geraniums, and salvia to make the plants produce compact new foliage and blossoms.

Nurture Roses

Continue removing spent flowers from roses to encourage continued bloom. Starting next month, allow some flowers to remain on the plant and develop into hips to signal the plant to begin entering winter dormancy. Keep an eye out for black spot disease, and remove leaves with brown or black spots and those that have yellowed. Pick up fallen leaves, too. Finish the last fertilization of hybrid roses by the end of the month.

Plan Your Late Summer and Fall Garden

Plant beans, bush cucumbers, beets, and carrots now for a fall harvest. Wait until the end of July to plant seeds for cool-season crops like broccoli, spinach, and lettuce. Sow seeds for a variety of greens every two weeks so you can harvest fresh, young leaves into fall and even early winter.

Water Tomatoes to Keep Soil Moist

Maintaining even soil moisture helps prevent blossom end rot and cracking on tomatoes. Maintain a thick layer of straw mulch beneath plants, and try to keep the soil moist at all times so they don't suffer from alternating drought-rain cycles.

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