Middle South

October, 2010
Regional Report

Plant Cool-Season Herbs

Warm-season herbs have lost their best flavor by now, but seeds of chives and parsley can be direct-sown in the garden to grow during fall and winter months. You can also continue to plant onion sets and garlic cloves.

Divide Spring and Early-summer Blooming Perennials

Autumn is the best time to divide many of the perennials that bloom in spring and early summer. Though you can dig the whole before dividing, I often use a sharp spade to slice away a section or two, leaving a large portion of the original plant in place. In this way, a large number of roots remained undisturbed and the perennial recovers quickly. Sections will prosper, too, when the new location is readied in advance and care is taken to keep roots from drying.

Discourage Bird Pests

One of the best ways to discourage birds from snitching newly planted seeds or maturing crops is to stretch Mylar tape between two posts straddling the rows. To ensure the strip spins in the breeze, twist the strip several times, attach it to the posts with strong string, and allow enough slack for it to twirl freely.

Water for Warmth

Protect plants from an early frost by watering well when a cold snap is expected. Damp soil will help two ways, first by adding moisture to the air around the plants, and second by better enabling the soil to hold heat.

Grow Calcium-Rich Vegies

If you're lactose intolerant, or even if you're not, look to a variety of cool-season vegetables to provide calcium to your diet. A cup of milk contains 300 milligrams of this nutrient, while a cup of cooked rhubarb offers 348 milligrams. Other vegetables that deliver a healthy measure of calcium include collards, with 266 milligrams per cup; turnip greens, with 197 per cup; kale, with 179 per cup; and beet greens, with 164 per cup.

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