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Soil Preparation

Soil preparation is the most crucial step in success with annuals. Roots of annuals have to penetrate soils quickly, anchor plants, and absorb water and nutrients in one season, often under adverse conditions. Most Mississippi soils can be improved with cultivation and the addition of other ingredients.

Cultivating wet soils may cause lumping and shallow "pans," which resist air, water, and root penetration. Soil that is ready for cultivation holds its shape when squeezed, but crumbles easily. Power tillers are useful for preparing large areas, but may create a compacted zone in the soil directly under the tilled area. Use a digging fork to help avoid soil compaction.

The first step in preparing a bed for annual plants is to remove any unwanted plants with a hoe and rake or with a nonselective contact herbicide. After weeds have been removed or killed, dig the soil a shovel's depth; deeper soil preparation is normally not necessary. To prevent resprouting, remove grass and weed roots while turning the soil. Break clods and lumps into smaller pieces.

Add 3 to 4 inches of organic material, such as composted leaf and yard litter, pine bark, peat moss, or composted manure. Then add an inch or two of sharp sand if the soil is heavy. Also, if the soil test indicates a need for lime or fertilizer supplements, spread them at the recommended rate over the top at this time. Mix amendments together, blending the organic matter, sand, and fertilizers. Rake the prepared bed smooth when finished.

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News

A brown, plastic container is filled with a variety of plants in varying shades of green. Some grasses stand above the other plants. Other foliage drapes over the sides.
Filed Under: Flower Gardens September 17, 2018

When summer starts to roll around to autumn, some gardens and landscapes nearly start all over, as worn-out summer annuals are composted and new seasonal selections take their place.

Dozens of bright-orange pumpkins sit in rows on the grass.
Filed Under: Flower Gardens September 10, 2018

I came to a shocking realization this past weekend: Even though it still feels like summer, the signs are all around us that fall is about to begin.

First, we see the tropics heating up with storm activity. T.S. Gordon made landfall in Pascagoula Sept. 5 and spread rain all the way up to north Mississippi. Behind it are several more tropical storms that we will have to keep an eye on.

Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens, Herb Gardens, Vegetable Gardens September 4, 2018

Garden enthusiasts and horticultural industry professionals can enjoy the largest home gardening show in the Southeast Oct. 12 and 13.

A single branch has bunches of white berries growing at each leaf junction.
Filed Under: Flower Gardens September 3, 2018

I’ve noticed a common characteristic among us gardeners. As we go through the year, our favorite plants in the landscape and garden seem to change from week to week.

Two long, green bell peppers hang from a plant growing in a container above black plastic.
Filed Under: Flower Gardens, Vegetable Gardens August 27, 2018

Several weeks ago, I wrote about looking forward to the time of year when ornamental peppers start strutting their gorgeous fruit colors. What I didn’t mention is that late summer is not just for ornamental peppers; I always get my best home-grown culinary peppers from August until frost in the fall.

My tastes for culinary peppers range from the mild and colorful bell peppers all the way to the superhot selections like Ghost, Scorpion and Carolina Reaper.

Watch

Roundabout Color
Southern Gardening

Round About Color

Sunday, September 23, 2018 - 7:00am
Ornamental Peppers
Southern Gardening

Ornamental Peppers

Sunday, September 16, 2018 - 7:00am
Summer Vinca
Southern Gardening

Summer Vinca

Sunday, September 9, 2018 - 7:00am
Summer Penta
Southern Gardening

Summer Penta

Sunday, September 2, 2018 - 7:00am
Calibrachoa Color
Southern Gardening

Calibrachoa Color

Sunday, August 26, 2018 - 2:00am

Listen

Monday, September 24, 2018 - 2:00am
Friday, September 21, 2018 - 2:00am
Thursday, September 20, 2018 - 2:00am
Wednesday, September 19, 2018 - 2:00am
Tuesday, September 18, 2018 - 2:00am

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