Coastal and Tropical South

December, 2010
Regional Report

Rocky Pots

A container is anything that has drainage and can hold enough soil for the plant you want to grow. Although pots for plants are usually found above ground, a hole dug in rocky limestone ground meets the requirements. You may want to hollow out some small pots for succulents or go large for a combination of flowering plants. Fill these ground-level containers with a well drained planting mix or a potting soil mixed with ground bark or compost.

Poinsettias Indoors

Even gardeners who grow poinsettias outdoors get their start or add to their collection with greenhouse grown plants in December. Indoors, poinsettias are only a bit fickle. Put one in your sunniest window and you'll be watering everyday. Put it in a dark corner, near a door that opens and closes often or under a vent, it will drop every leaf before New Year's. Give your plants bright light, water when soil in the top of the pot feels dry to the touch and keep it out of drafts.

Seed Starting

Plant seeds now for cool season crops to set out next month in the Tropics zone. Peat pellets work well for small seeds like cabbage and broccoli. Plant two seeds in each pellet and thin to one plant soon after sprouting. Keep the tray of seedlings in full sun or under a grow light and water often enough to prevent wilting. Add fertilizer to the water weekly. Order seeds of tomatoes and peppers now in the Southern Coast zone to plant next month.

Trellises and Arbors

It's time to get structures in good shape. Wobbly trellises and missing lath look messy and, worse, can be less than supportive to vigorous vines. Use short lengths of rebar to put tilted trellises upright. Hammer the rebar into the ground until it is stable and wire the rest to the trellis. One-inch lath strips are available to repair this type of panel trellis. Cut pieces to replace the broken sections and then wire, glue or staple them in place.

Clean Up Perennials

As flowers, leaves and stems turn brown, cut back perennials to neaten them up and prevent pests from overwintering. Perennials going dormant can be a host for fungus and a hiding place for insects and their eggs. Dig, divide and replant if weather conditions remain favorable in your area and the soil is not too wet to dig. Work in the mulch around the perennials as it decomposes and replace it with fresh mulch.

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