Middle South

October, 2010
Regional Report

Plant Evergreens

When the deciduous trees and shrubs lose their leaves, it will be easy to see where the garden would benefit from the addition of evergreens. Experts agree that fall is the best time to plant junipers, yews, boxwoods, laurels, and hollies. Winter rains, cool temperatures and bright sunshine will help the new plants become established before the challenges of the next growing season.

Grow Parsley From Seed

Some gardeners say the parsley in their garden reseeds every year and grows like a weed, but I've never been so lucky. In fact, growing parsley from seed has always been a bit tricky for me. To improve my germination rate, I now soak seeds overnight in warm water before I press them into a moist growing bed and sprinkle them with a light cover of soil.

Dry Flowers

Late blooming flowers, such as gomphrenas, golden rod, Mexican bush sage, cockscombs and roses, can all be collected now for pretty bouquets later on. To dry, remove the foliage along stems, tie stems in bundles with twine, and hang them upside down in a warm location with good air circulation.

Pick the Best Pumpkin

The local farmers' market is a prime location to find locally grown pumpkins, winter squash and waxy-skinned or dried gourds for display. To select fruits that will last the longest, look for ones that are firm, unblemished and have their stems still attached. When possible, extend their life by arranging the display in a cool, dry location, such as a covered porch or stoop.

Prep Soil

As you clean annual flowers and vegetables from beds, take time to prep the soil before replanting with ornamentals or productive crops. Use a spade or fork to loosen the soil about twelve-inches deep, then layer and turn in several inches of organic matter. Chopped leaves, leaf mold or compost (rendered from either manure or plants) will improve soil tilth, fertility and drainage.

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