Upper South

November, 2012
Regional Report

Plant Garlic

Garlic is easily grown in any well-drained, fertile soil. You'll get the best crop if compost is worked into the soil. Break garlic bulbs into individual cloves just before planting, and space each clove 4 to 6 inches apart, covering with 2 to 3 inches of soil. Mulch the planted area with a 4- to 6-inch mulch of leaves, compost or straw, which you'll remove in the spring once frost danger is over. To estimate how much to plant, one pound of garlic bulbs will plant approximately 25 feet with 4-inch spacing and should yield about 10 pounds.

Make Successive Plantings of Paperwhite Narcissus

For many gardeners, paperwhite narcissus are as important to have blooming for the upcoming holidays as poinsettias. Paperwhite narcissus, relatives of spring-blooming daffodils, are powerfully fragrant and easily grown in a container of gravel with water just reaching the base of the bulbs. To keep the leaves and flower stalks from becoming top heavy, once the green leaves reach 1 to 2 inches tall, pour off the water and replace with a solution of seven parts of water to one part 80 proof gin or vodka. Continue to use this alcohol solution for watering the narcissus bulbs

Fertilize Trees and Shrubs

Trees and shrubs grow their best if fertilized twice yearly, once in early spring before growth starts and again in the fall after leaves drop but before the ground freezes. Choose an organic-based fertilizer designed for trees and shrubs and apply following manufacturer's recommendations. In general, small trees and shrubs can be fed by sprinkling the fertilizer throughout the area under the branch spread. For larger plants, make a series of holes several inches in diameter and 12 to 18 inches deep, spaced 2 to 3 feet apart under the outer edges of the branches. Divide the fertilizer among these holes, then fill with soil. Water all plants thoroughly after applying fertilizer.

Prevent Perennials Becoming Uprooted

Because many perennials do not have deeply growing roots, the normal freezing and thawing cycles during winters in our region can force many herbaceous perennial plants out of the ground. A layer of mulch applied in late fall helps to moderate these cycles, plus the mulch helps to conserve soil moisture and acts as an insulating agent during severely cold temperatures. Use compost or leaves that don't compact, such as sugar maple, oak, or chestnut. Place the mulch around the plants, as the goal is to keep the soil at an even temperature.

Cook with Pumpkins and Winter Squash

Pumpkins as well as the many kinds of winter squash are rich sources of carotenoids plus vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and B vitamins. Any of these vegetables can be simply prepared by baking whole or cut in half. Another option is to peel and cut into 1- to 2-inch pieces, then steam or toss with olive or coconut oil and herbs and roast in the oven. Pumpkins and winter squash are also wonderful when used in stews and casseroles, as well as made into soups or desserts. Winter squash is a easy vegetable to store for the winter in area that is 50 to 60 degrees F.

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