Lower South

October, 2010
Regional Report

Plant Naturalizing Bulbs

Now is a good time to plant naturalizing bulbs, which are those species adapted to our climate that return dependably for years of beauty and enjoyment. Narcissus, Oxblood Lilies (Rhodophiala bifida), Spider Lilies (Lycoris), Amaryllis, and Rain Lilies (Zephranthes) are among the time-tested choices. Work a few inches of compost into the soil prior to planting.

Cool Season Containers

This is a great time to plant some cool season containers to decorate a front porch or back patio. Include some fall blooming perennials, as well as some cool season annuals like pansy, viola, alyssum, dusty miller, flowering cabbage and flowering kale. You can always move containers in when a really hard freeze threatens.

Plant Seeds of Salad Vegetables

It's still prime time for planting seeds or transplants of lettuce, spinach or other cool season greens in the veggie garden. Barely cover seeds of most greens with finely screened compost. Scatter lettuce seed on the surface as they need light to germinate.

Harvest Sweet Potatoes

When a frost or freeze is forecast, go ahead and harvest sweet potatoes. The tops of the roots are exposed to the air through cracks in the soil and can be cold damaged if left out in the garden. Store the roots in a warm, moist location for 2-3 weeks for "curing", then move them to a cool, dry location for long term storage.

Mums for Perennial Beauty

Chrysanthemums put on their big show in the fall season. There are many great varieties to plant in the southern garden. One of my favorites is 'Country Girl' with its large single blooms in fading shades of pink. The plant's sprawling habit make it a great choice for a cottage style perennial border.

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