Southern Coasts

June, 2001
Regional Report

Water Melons

Don't underestimate the amount of water a melon needs to mature its sweet flavor. To water melon plants, build a shallow well around the vine's base and keep it full of water from fruit set until harvest. Add soluble fertilizer weekly, mulch under the fruit to keep it clean, and let the leaves shade the fruit to prevent sunburn.

Harvest Veggies When Young

To grow your own cute, small, "gourmet" vegetables, simply harvest their fruits when they are young. Pick green beans at three inches long, squash and cucumbers when they reach the size of your thumb. Keep plants well watered to produce more fruits into July.

Plant Pumpkins

Get ready for Halloween by planting pumpkins now to mature in October. Bigger isn\'t always better when it comes to variety selection. I like \'Baby Bear\', a 1993 All-America Selections winner that stands the heat and delivers two-pound pumpkins with delicious meat, seeds, and jack-o-lantern shape.

Amend Difficult Soils

Soils that are difficult to grow in such as sandy or soggy sites in our region can be made usable by creating pockets of fertility. Amend selected pockets within these sites with leaf mold or compost, cotton gin trash, or sawdust combined with native soils. Work these amendments into the planting area slightly deeper and wider than the prospective plant\'s growing container.

Grow Adapted Marigolds

Marigolds are a great summer flower in many areas, but certain ones grow better in our coastal climate. The dwarf varieties seem to die, not from lack of water, but from spider mite infestations. Single-flowered African types seem to grow much better in our region.

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