Coastal and Tropical South

July, 2009
Regional Report

Get Planting

If you haven't already, get yourself to the vegetable rack for eggplant, pepper, and tomato transplants. Regular, consistent watering is essential in summer plantings, if rainfall isn't plentiful. There's plenty of time for squash from seed, and pumpkins for pie at Thanksgiving, if not Jack O'lanterns. Plant gourds now, too, for luffa gifts to give everyone this year.

Seed Now

To grow your own cole crops including broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, and cabbages of all sorts, seed now. Get a bag of sterile seed-starting mix or use peat pellets, but start clean. Grow in direct sun or use a full-spectrum grow light for best results. Water from the bottom. And try the kohlrabi raw -- it's crunchy like apples and slightly sweet.

Yellow Grass

If your lawn is slightly yellow, and not flooded, consider topdressing it with a half inch of compost or milorganite. It's likely in need of nitrogen, and an organic material will not burn. Especially if you have used chemical fertilizers on the lawn, the organic matter is a necessity. You can put the organic matter on with a spreader or by hand, then rake it into the sod.

Lawn Fungus

When take all root rot is diagnosed, it's time to dethatch the lawn. Not a pretty sight, but necessary to reduce the host environment for the fungus. As the lawn starts to grow back in, top dress it with half an inch of peat moss. Fungicides alone do not control this fungus disease, but your good garden sanitation goes a long way towards containing its spread.

Oleander Care

The queen of summer flowers should be beautiful this time of year, but it's fine to do a little pruning to encourage new growth and to thicken up sparse stems. If black sooty mold is growing on leaves, wash it off with soapy water. Spray at eight-day intervals with insecticidal soap. Remember to spray this shrub with horticultural oil in the fall.

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