Middle South

July, 2010
Regional Report

Plant Round Two Crops

The Middle South has an especially long warm season that allows for a second planting of summer crops such as tomatoes, southern peas, squash and beans. Now is also the time to plan for fall additions such as greens, broccoli, and cabbage. Most summer vegetables should be planted no later than end of July, while a number of cool season crops can be added as early as mid August. For a list of exact dates for all crops, check with your local Extension Service.

Pick a Ripe Watermelon

It's watermelon season and you'll find huge bins of these juicy summer treats at grocery stores, farmers markets, and roadside stands. To pick the best one, look for a melon that's heavy for its size, has a yellow rather than white bottom, and when thumped makes a dull thud, not a ringing metallic sound.

Manage Powdery Mildew on Dogwoods

This year there is a higher than usual incidence of powdery mildew on dogwood trees. This host-specific disease can stunt and deform leaves, cause leaf spots and marginal browning, and early leaf drop. The best way to manage powdery mildew is to rake up and destroy fallen leaves. Spraying of fungicides is not recommend for homeowners, as it is difficult to achieve adequate coverage on large trees. When planting new dogwoods, choose resistant varieties such as 'Jean's Appalachian Snow,' 'Karen's Appalachian Blush' and 'Kay's Appalachian Mist.'

Plan for Affordable Drifts of Bulbs

A natural looking drift of spring-blooming bulbs requires more than a few flowers. To establish an impressive display within budget, contact friends before fall catalogs arrive so you can purchase a large quantity, saving as much as fifty percent. Look for bulbs described as being "naturalizers" or "perennializers." These types will multiply faster and should be spaced slightly further apart when planting.

Double the Light for Houseplants

Make better use of available sunlight by placing a mirror behind houseplants. Get creative to make it a great recycling project while also ensuring that plants grow symmetrically, rather than towards the light, without being turned. Imagine an antique wall mirror propped behind a dramatic weeping fig, or a decorative tabletop dressing mirror illuminating a jade plant.

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