Upper South

July, 2009
Regional Report

Have A Berry Nice Time

Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, gooseberries, and currants are all ripening now. Enjoy them fresh every day (on your cereal, with yogurt, over ice cream or flavoring homemade, in pies and crumbles, or in any of your favorite recipes), freeze some for this winter, and make some jams, jellies, and other preserves. If you don't grow your own, visit farmer's markets for them. Plan on purchasing some plants this winter for planting next spring. All these berries are easy to grow and will reward you with bounty for many years.

Visit Daylily Gardens

Daylilies are in the glory right now, so it's a perfect time to visit gardens that specialize in these beautiful but tough-as-nails plant. Some members of the American Hemerocallis Society, an International Daylily Society, make their gardens available to visitors. Many of these are at private homes, so it's important to call ahead to make arrangements for visiting. Also, check with your local daylily society for daylily shows.

Control Japanese Beetles

Japanese beetles are one of the most destructive of garden pests, especially to fruit crops. There are a number of different safe ways to limit the damage from these pests. One simple way is to get up early in the morning and pick them off plants, dropping them into soapy water. Another way is to treat the surrounding areas with a spray containing beneficial nematodes that destroy the grub stage. This method is expensive and takes time to have an effect, but it does work. Pesticides containing either natural or synthetic pyrethrums will directly kill the beetles. Use these either early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid harming bees.

Check Container Plantings Daily

Quicker than you can say "petunia," the rainy spring has turned to hot, dry summer. As plants grow and roots fill containers, it's important to check the soil daily before you notice that the plants have wilted. If plants do wilt, take the planter to a shady location and water thoroughly. Wait a day or so before taking back into hot sun. To keep plants looking their best, use either a slow-release fertilizer sprinkled on top of the soil or a water-soluble fertilizer, applied according to manufacturer's directions. Trim off faded flowers as necessary.

Start the Late Summer Food Garden

Main-season vegetables may be just getting into full swing, but that means it's just the right time to plan and plant late summer vegetables. Potatoes can still be planted, even long-season ones. Start seeds indoors of cabbage and broccoli for transplanting in a month or so. Beets, radishes, turnips, kale, and collards are crops that are planted in the heat of the summer for maturing when it gets cool. The key to success is to keep the soil moist. And don't forget to make second and third plantings of corn, beans, and summer squash, too.

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