Gardening in Mississippi and the South: May, June, and July
With all the recent flooding of farmlands in Mississippi, some are predicting skyrocketing food prices and food riots by late August or early September. I suggest you head this possibility off and start your own garden if you haven’t already done so. Your family’s survival may depend on it.
In the Vegetable Garden
- Cover unplanted vegetable beds with clear plastic to sterilize soil and kill weed seeds and disease.
- Renew old beds with fresh compost, fertilize and lime if necessary.
- Sow tomato, eggplant, cabbage, collards, and rutabaga seeds indoors for a fall crop.
- Make summer plantings of hot weather vegetables like okra, black-eyed peas, lima beans, watermelons, and sweet potatoes. Also replant beans, corn, carrot, cucumber, radishes, peppers, squash, zucchini, pumpkins, kale, Swiss chard, chicory, and Florence fennel.
- Tie climbing beans to supports as soon as they are large enough.
- Weed and water regularly. Keep a large water barrel near the garden or beside the house where you can catch any summer rainfall. You can put it at a downspout to catch most of what comes off the roof. Use this water to water your garden.
- Harvest beans, onions, garlic, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, squash, summer greens. Lift first new potatoes, carrots, turnips, and beets.
- Fertilize asparagus plants. Do not cut down until fall. Save any seed from female plants.
- Make new sowings of successional crops in July like lettuce, carrots, radishes, beans, and greens.
- Pinch out side shoots and growing tips of tomatoes and growing tips of climbing beans when at the top of supports. Fertilize.
In the Herb Garden
- Take cutting of perennial herbs to propagate.
- Plant out any herbs grown from seed like chives, fennel, dill, mints, oregano, rosemary, sage, tarragon, thyme, caraway, chamomile, Spanish lavender, and lemon balm.
- Weed and water regularly.
In the Flower Garden
- Prune evergreen shrubs to keep the growth compact.
- Prune old roses after blooming by about 1/3.
- Sow fast growing annual flowers like zinnias and marigolds directly in the garden.
- Deadhead annual and perennial flowers and cut back after bloom.
- Put mulch around plantings to protect from drought.
- Water and weed regularly.
- Hint- Daylily flowers are edible and taste like lettuce.
Cooperative extension services www.msucarescom
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Gardening in Mississippi and the South