Lower South

March, 2011
Regional Report

Prune Plants Damaged by Cold

This past winter brought very cold temperatures to the Lower South. Many of our plants have suffered from freeze damage. To determine if a small branch is dead or just leafless, take your thumbnail and scratch through the thin outer bark looking for light green to cream colored tissues underneath. If you see brown, then it is not going to resprout and needs to be removed. In some cases this means cutting some shrubs back almost to the ground level.

Fertilize New Transplants

As you set out new transplants of flowers and vegetables, water them in with a dilute fertilizer solution to get the plants off to a fast start. Repeat the application a week later and your plants will be off to a great beginning. The goal is to help them get a good root system established out into the surrounding soil.

Plant Warm Season Seeds

As the danger of frost passes in your area, it is time to direct seed your first set of warm season vegetables in the garden, including corn, green beans, squash, and cucumbers. Swiss chard can also still be seeded. If you started these crops earlier as transplants, it is time to set them out in the garden as well.

Fertilize Roses

Roses are starting to put on new growth and will soon be blooming up a storm. If you haven't fertilized your roses in the past few months, apply a cup of fertilizer evenly over a circular area extending out two feet from the bush. Then lightly rake it into the soil surface and water the area well.

Allow Herbs and Vegetables to Go To Seed

Herbs and vegetables such as cilantro, arugula, lettuce, and broccoli will bloom and set seed if you leave them in long enough. The blossoms will support your local bee population, and you can gather and save the seeds they set for next year's planting. Remember that hybrid cultivars will not produce seed that are true to the parent type, so focus your seed-saving on "open pollinated" cultivars.

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