Lower South

December, 2010
Regional Report

Stagger Lettuce Plantings

Planting lettuce in small sections every 2 weeks will keep you in fresh produce all winter. To conserve garden space, plant lettuce in between slower maturing winter veggies like cabbage, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. By the time these veggies are getting larger the lettuce will be ready to harvest.

Protect Marginally Hardy Plants

Place a deep mulch around marginally hardy plants such a ginger, firebush (Hamelia) and banana to protect the roots and basal buds during a very hard freeze. Mound up sandy soil, sawdust or compost around the basal trunk of tender fruit species like figs, satsuma oranges and kumquats to help them survive and re-establish after a severe cold snap that may kill the above ground portion of the tree.

Prepare Gas Powered Equipment for Winter

Mowing season is behind us at last. Drain gasoline form mowers, gas edgers and other power tools and run the engine until fuel in the carburetor is used up. Then they are ready to go into winter storage. That way they'll be in top shape when spring arrives and they are called up for service once again.

Plant Berrying Shrubs

Shrubs that produce ornamental berries add interest to the landscape. Many types produce their fruit in fall and winter, a time when landscape color is limited. Now is a great time to plant shrubs. Hollies have separate male and female plants so be sure you are getting female plants if you want berries. Ask about whether or not it is necessary to plant a male plant for pollination.

Reduce Fertilizer for Indoor Plants

The low light and cooler temperatures of winter mean your houseplants will need less fertilizer. Unless plants are in a warm, very well-lighted atrium or bright window, you can probably cut back fertilizing by half. Also watch soil moisture, as it is easy to overwater during the winter months.

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