Lower South

January, 2009
Regional Report

Cover Plants Properly

When covering plants before a freeze, drape the blanket or other covering over the plant and weight it down to the soil. This will allow soil warmth to rise and help warm the plant's branches and leaves. Wrapping the top and tying the cover to the trunk creates "landscape lollipops" that won't benefit from this natural protective heat source.

Protect Tender Seedlings

We can continue to sow seeds of lettuce and other cool-season veggies throughout the winter. However the seedlings are somewhat tender so whenever a hard freeze threatens, they will need a cover to help make it through. Seed a small quantity of lettuce seeds about every two weeks to maintain a constant supply.

Soggy Soil is Death Sentence for Houseplants

Water houseplants carefully, especially during the winter months. They often stay too wet, leading to root rots and major problems for the plants. Feel the soil an inch or two below the surface. If it is still moist, wait until it dries out a bit more to water.

Have Your Soil Tested

If you are planning on turning a new area into a garden next spring, there is still time to have your soil tested. Your county Extension office can provide information on how to take and submit a soil test, and how to amend the soil based on the results. It is much easier to amend the soil before planting rather than after.

Starting a New Christmas Cactus From a Cutting

Want to start cuttings of your Christmas cactus? After the blooms are done, break off a section with 4 or 5 joints, and insert the basal end into a pot of moderately moist potting soil. Place a plastic bag over the cutting and secure it around the pot with a rubber band. Set it on a windowsill out of direct sunlight. The cutting should be rooted in 3 to 4 weeks.

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