Lower South

December, 2008
Regional Report

Store Fall Potatoes and Squash

Potatoes and winter squash will keep for quite a while if conditions are right. Store potatoes and winter squash in an area with moderate humidity and cool temperatures. This will assure the longest possible shelf life. Check periodically and promptly remove any showing signs of decay.

Plant Winter Flowers

It is still a great time for planting winter flowers including pansy, viola, and ornamental kale. Be ready to cover new transplants with a row cover fabric when temps drop into the mid 20s or lower. Feed them every few weeks with a dilute dose of liquid fertilizer to keep them vigorous and blooming up a storm!

Prepare Soil Now for the Spring Garden

Prepare soil for spring planting now while the soil is still workable. In spring it is often too rainy to get in and start an early garden. Work in a few inches of compost and build raised planting beds for better drainage and faster warm-up in spring.

Protect Marginally Hardy Plants

Place a deep mulch around marginally hardy plants such a ginger, firebush (Hamelia), and banana to protect the roots and basal buds during a very hard freeze. Mound up sandy soil, sawdust, or compost around the basal trunk of tender fruit species like figs, satsuma oranges, and kumquats to help them survive and re-establish after a severe cold snap that may kill the above ground portion of the tree.

Extend the Life of Holiday Plants

That poinsettia, Christmas cactus, cyclamen, or rosemary can be kept happy and healthy with a little extra attention to light and watering. Keep these potted plants well watered but not soggy-wet. Set them in a sink to water and then allow them to drain well before replacing any foil pot wraps. Place them in a bright location during the daylight hours and they will stay beautiful throughout the holiday season.

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