Coastal and Tropical South

June, 2009
Regional Report

Mosaic Pots

Some yard art, like large statuary, simply must be bought, but others can be made easily. Making mosaic tile-covered pots can be a fun project with hard-to-amuse "tween"-age children. Gather up clean clay pots, tile adhesive, grout, and a tray of precut tile shapes. Use adhesive to glue the tiles in place, then grout the entire surface. Use a damp cloth to expose the tiles, let the pot dry, and plant.

Fire Wisdom

Please don't be fooled by recent rains -- even small fires can be devastating if they spread. If you're going to burn, get a permit if it is necessary in your municipality. Even if it is not, do not burn on windy days, and always keep a hose handy when burning. If your property includes wild, grassy areas, keep them cut. Remove old tree trunks and large canopy branches left in debris piles. And drier pieces can too easily become air-borne in storms, so stack them carefully or tie them down when stormy weather approaches.

Weed Routine

Summer's hectic schedules can leave little time for garden chores, but find some time to weed the vegetable patch and the area around it. Lots of pests spend summer in senescence (rest period), hatching about the time your fall flowers and vegetables get started. Keep their habitat under control by walking the garden daily with a weeding tool such as a hoe in hand -- and use it!

Tropic Zone Notes

Plant these seeds now for transplant in August: cantaloupe, summer squashes ('Peter Pan' and other pattypans, straight- and crook-neck). Don't forget to provide stakes or other trellising for tomatoes and fall cucumbers like 'Tycoon'. Seed 'Solarset' tomatoes for the bed and 'Sweet 100's for big pots. Save seed from heirloom tomatoes -- often the second and subsequent years are more productive than the first because they have adapted to your microclimate.

Coast Notes

Seed these vegetables now in small pots to set out in six weeks: jalapeno, cayenne, and other hot peppers; tomatoes from 'Floradel' to little 'Sunsugar'. Use peat pots so you can plant these without disturbing their roots: small watermelons like 'Sugar Baby', summer-type squash like crookneck and scallopini. Water seedling pots from the bottom whenever possible, and thin to one plant per cell.

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