Lower South

November, 2012
Regional Report

Dig and Store Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes can be damaged by a freeze since the tops of the roots are often exposed to air by soil cracks near the surface. Prior to the first freeze dig the roots for storage. It is best to not wash the roots but rather to carefully brush off any soil left clinging to them. Place them in a warm, moist area for a week to 10 days to allow the skins to toughen in preparation for longer term storage at 55 to 60 degrees and for development of the sugar content.

Divide Perennials

Perennials that bloom in spring and summer can be dug and divided now to make more plants to expand the planting or share with friends. Reset the divisions at the same level they were growing, firm soil in around the roots and then water them in well to settle the soil. Semi-tender perennials will benefit from a mulch cover to hold in some of the soil warmth during hard freezes.

Plant Perennial Herbs

Herbs that are perennial in your area can be planted in fall to allow them time to establish over the winter months. This will give them a head start in the spring. If you have perennial herbs growing in your garden, now is also a good time to divide them to make new transplants.

Plant Naturalizing Bulbs

Finish planting any naturalizing bulbs in the landscape including daffodils, paperwhites, amaryllis, schoolhouse lilies, rainlilies, and crinums. Wait until late December to plant tulips, crocus, and hyacinth types that don't naturalize in your area.

Check Seed Viability

Seed catalogues are arriving in the mail. Check your leftover seed packets to see if the seeds are viable or if you need to order more of a particular species or cultivar. Place 10 seeds on a moist paper towel folded over the seeds. Then place the paper towel in a plastic bag and set in a location where the temperature is close to what that species prefers for germination. Check the seeds every few days to see how many have germinated. By using 10 seeds you can get a rough idea what percentage germination to expect. Then when you plant you'll know to put in extra seeds to allow for less than 100 percent germination.

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