Upper South

May, 2012
Regional Report

Buy Spring-Blooming Bulbs

You may be worn out this summer from your gardening efforts, but muster some energy to plant spring-blooming bulbs this fall. Your weariness will be long forgotten as you revel in the glories of the first crocus or that swathe of daffodils next spring. Both local garden centers and mail-order sources offer a wide variety of bulbs. Be sure to experiment with ones you%%%ve never grown before. Plan on planting the earliest-blooming types in late September or early October and the later-blooming ones by Thanksgiving.

Store Leftover Seeds

It%%%s easy to buy too many seeds for your vegetable garden, but it%%%s also possible to save those leftover seeds, to say nothing of the money spent on them, by properly storing them for planting next year. The key is to think cool and dry. Place seed packets in plastic food storage bags or glass canning jars and store in the refrigerator. To ensure that the seeds stay dry, add a packet of silica gel to each bag or jar. An alternative is to use 2 tablespoons of powdered milk wrapped in a paper towel.

Give Roses A Boost

Whether you%%%re growing heirloom, shrub, or hybrid tea roses, they will all grow and bloom their best with some regular attention throughout the growing season. Midsummer is the time for the last fertilizer application of the year. Sprinkle a quarter cup of a fertilizer like 5-10-5 around each plant and work lightly into the soil, then water thoroughly. Or, use a fertilizer of your choice, following manufacturer%%%s directions.

Share Extra Produce

Often, if you have any success at all growing vegetables, you%%%ll find that you have more than you and your family can reasonably eat or preserve. Rather than letting such bounty go to waste, consider the various ways that you can share it. Friends and neighbors may be the first ones you think of, but don%%%t forget about older people who may no longer be able to garden or young families to busy to garden. Most important, try donating surplus to local food banks, soup kitchens, and service organizations to help feed America%%%s hungry.

Eat Fruit Now and Later

As summer progresses, we eat our way through the the range of fruits that grow in our gardens or are available at farmers markets. The season for June-bearing strawberries, blueberries, and black raspberries may have passed, but there are still plenty to choose from now, including red and yellow raspberries, everbearing strawberries, peaches, plums, and melons. As each fruit comes into season, enjoy as much as you can fresh and preserve some for eating later, either by canning, making jams and preserves or freezing.

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