Upper South

June, 2011
Regional Report

Don't Be Afraid to Trim Plants

Gardeners often tend to plant too many plants too close together. After the brief moment when the garden looks lush and full, it quickly descends into overgrown. If the plant spacing is truly too close, then digging and moving is the only solution. An alternative, if the spacing is reasonable, is to trim back the most aggressive plants that may be overgrowing and overshadowing the ones next to it.

Dive Into Berries

The height of the berry season is in full swing, including blueberries, red, yellow, black, and purple raspberries, blackberries, and gooseberries. Each of these bring important phytonutrients to your diet, to say nothing of great flavors. If you're not growing your own, then be sure to buy some at a farmer's market. Berries are easy to freeze for year-round use in desserts, smoothies, salads, and sauces. Just pop them, unwashed, into freezer bags, usually about 1 to 1-1/2 pounds per gallon bag.

Get Ready for Fall Vegetable Garden

Yes, summer vegetables are just now coming in, but it's also the time to begin thinking about the fall garden. Start seeds of broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts to transplant later for a fall harvest. Buy seeds of lettuce, turnips, beets, kale, collards, and Asian greens for planting directly into the garden in August. Order garlic and shallot sets for planting late this fall. The best varieties are usually only available by mail-order and sell out quickly.

Learn When to Harvest

For those new to vegetable gardening, one of the skills involved is knowing when to harvest. For example, with sweet corn, harvest when the silks begin to dry and the kernels exude a milky, rather than a watery, juice when punctured. Not all cucumbers are picked at the same size; know what size is best for the varieties you are growing. Also, some crops can give extra harvests, like broccoli, which forms edible side shoots after the main head is removed. Mature cabbage heads don't have to be harvested all at once, as they will hold for several weeks in the garden.

Visit Daylily Shows and Tours

With daylily blooms at their peak, daylily societies are now holding their annual shows, garden tours, and plant sales. These are all great opportunities to compare varieties and, when available, acquire new plants for your garden. There are so many wonderful new colors and forms that there is bound to be at least a few that catch your eye. To keep the daylilies in your own garden looking their best, try to remove the faded flowers at least every couple of days.

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