Lower South

December, 2013
Regional Report

Grow Winter Veggies

Here in the Lower South we can grow many salad vegetables all winter. Plant lettuce in small sections every two weeks to keep you in fresh salads all winter. Other winter greens include spinach, arugula, kale, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, broccoli, green onions, and chard. Give these cool-weather veggies a cover on a bitter cold night, and they'll keep going all winter.

Extend the Life of Holiday Plants

To keep your poinsettias and holiday cactus beautiful, maintain the soil moisture and provide them with bright light. Remove the plastic or foil pot wrap, drench the soil, allow it to drain well, and then replace the pot wrapping. Keep them out of warm drafts and they should provide more than a month or two of beauty.

Prepare Landscape Equipment For Winter

Drain gasoline from power tools and run the engine until fuel in the carburetor is used up before storing them for winter. Drain and store garden hoses and watering equipment in a readily accessible location in case they are needed during an extended winter dry spell. Water left in a hose can cause damage to the hose when it freezes.

Clean Up Flower Beds

Now that a few freezes have zapped the remains of our warm-season flowers, it's time to remove the annual plants and cut back the top growth on the perennials. Then apply a layer of mulch to deter winter weeds. Areas to be planted in spring can be prepared now by rototilling in an inch of compost.

Keep Fallen Leaves Off the Lawn

Our southern turf grasses slow their growth in cool temperatures but don't go dormant. Whenever we have a few warm days, they become more active, producing carbohydrates for better hardiness and stronger spring growth. Fallen leaves shade the turf and can stress it. Rake them up to use as mulch, or shred them with a mulching mower to recycle them into the turf.

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