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Gulf Coast Gardening: Gardening Calendar

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This month-by-month gardening calendar will help you decide what tasks to do in your Gulf Coast garden and when to do them.

Gulf Coast Regional Map

March

  • Compost kitchen scraps, leaves, and yard waste to increase your own supply of organic matter.
  • Train vining vegetables (pole beans, squash, and cucumbers) up a trellis, obelisk, or netting between poles.
  • Plant perky annuals such as alyssum, gaillardia, gazania, and lobelia -- they’ll last until summer.

April

  • Fertilize your lawn properly, but wait until the lawn shows signs of consistent top growth.
  • Remove dead fronds from palm trees. Feed with a slow-release 8-2-12 plus magnesium palm fertilizer.
  • Harvest the last of cool-season edibles such as spinach, lettuce, and radishes.

May

  • Plant bulbs of Amazon, crinum, and blood lilies as well as varieties of caladiums, calla, and canna.
  • Replenish decomposed mulch in planting beds with new pine bark or melaleuca chips.
  • Monitor the garden for increased pests as nighttime temperatures warm. Use an organic insecticidal soap for soft-bodied pest such as aphids, thrips, spider mites, and mealy bugs.

June

  • Identify troublesome weeds such as skunkvine (Paederia foetida) and partridge pea (Cassia fasciculata). Your local extension office can offer control options.
  • Mow the lawn frequently but keep the blade at its highest level. Save grass clippings to add to compost.
  • Replace tropical plants such as bananas and colocasias that haven’t recovered from winter damage.

July

  • Apply iron to a yellowing lawn to green it up mid-summer. Nitrogen fertilizers are prohibited in most areas to protect waterways.
  • Make cuttings of pentas, coleus, begonias, and plectranthus. Cut 4 to 6 inches and place cuttings in small containers of vermiculite and/or potting mix. Keep them misted daily. Transplants will be ready for the garden in a few weeks.

August

  • Replace heat-weary annuals with colorful salvia, gaillardia, or vinca.
  • Give palms with yellowing older growth an application of magnesium sulfate.
  • Pinch back coleus and other blooming annuals to promote fullness and longevity into late autumn.
  • Assess lawns for fungal issues and treat -- this is especially important during the summer rainy season.

September

  • Plant warm-season vegetables -- green beans, pole beans, and peppers still have time to produce before winter.
  • Add heat-tolerant herbs to containers and edible spaces: try rosemary, oregano, and mints.
  • Monitor your lawn closely for persistent insects such as sod webworms and chinch bugs.
  • Divide and transplant perennials and bulbs if growing too large or rejuvenation is needed.

October

  • Fertilize shrubs and ornamentals. Use a slow or time-released fertilizer for the last time until spring.
  • Sow seeds. Plant winter crops directly in the ground: broccoli, collards, cabbage, lettuce, and radish.
  • Plant bulbs for spring blooms such as lilies, agapanthus, zephyranthes, and amaryllis.

November

  • Inspect poinsettias. These leafy plants can be quickly defoliated by hornworms. Handpick these munching pests and drop in a cup of soapy water.
  • Increase fall color. Add mass plantings of cool-season pansies, petunias, lavender, and snapdragons as focal points in beds and containers.
  • Plant trees and shrubs in the fall -- the perfect time -- so they can establish their roots before the hot, dry spring weather.

December

  • Plant vegetables. Sow in succession for extended crop time: try carrots, lettuce, spinach, and greens.
  • Test your soil. Prepare for new spring plantings by knowing what amendments to add.
  • Enjoy herbs. The cooler, dryer weather provides relief to herbs that appreciate it, such as basil, cilantro, dill, and fennel.

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