Middle South

May, 2001
Regional Report

Set Out Tomatoes


It's open season for planting tomatoes, the flagship veggie in most home gardens. Experiment with heirlooms if you like, but I always plant some proven disease-resistant hybrids such as 'Celebrity' and 'Better Boy' too. Set plants deeply so they will develop roots along the section of their buried stem.


Plant Basil


I can't get enough of this fast-growing annual herb, which smells as good as it tastes. Plant basil at least twice. Set out a few plants now and start more from seeds for transplanting in early summer for a mid summer harvest. Try different varieties, which offer a range of leaf sizes, colors, and subtle difference in flavor.

Set Out Soaker Hoses

Soaker hoses are a great investment, because they slowly release water to plants. After flower and vegetable beds are planted and weeded, snake soaker hoses among plants just before you lay down a nice summer mulch. They\'ll save time and water later in the season, when both are in short supply.

Plant Salvias

Hummingbirds can\'t resist bright red salvias, but these robust annuals need just the right niche to grow their best. Plant them in rich, moist soil with partial shade; you\'ll need to provide water during dry spells. When happy they\'ll flower up a storm through summer.

Groom Spring Blooming Flowers


Now's the time to trim azaleas and other spring-flowering shrubs. Lightly shape plants as needed with sharp pruning shears trying to follow the natural architecture of the plants. When you're finished, follow up with a light application of an organic or timed-release fertilizer topped with a fresh helping of mulch to stimulate new growth.

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