Thursday, September 17, 2009

Planting Red Spider Lily

By Keith Markensen

Droughts are common in the South. We usually have one or two severe ones during the summer. This means supplemental watering to keep plants growing actively. In fact, "soaking" is a better term. The only way to keep plants in good condition is with a sprinkler and don't stop until the ground is wet down 4 or 5 inches, at least.

Summer heat presents problems, too. Some plants which are supposed to be grown in full sun actually do better when shaded from hot afternoon sun. Even roses like a little protection in late afternoon. Dahlias, too, produce their best blooms under similar conditions. So do snaps and mums.

Fall vegetables should be started this month. Keep your food garden producing at full capacity. Plant snap and butter beans, beets, carrots, cucumbers, peas, lettuce, turnips and rutabagas. In the lower South plant celery, eggplant, okra and tomato seeds.

Set out cabbage, collard and tomato plants in all sections of the South. Tomatoes set out now in the upper South probably will not mature before frost but are usu-ally planted for green tomatoes to pickle.

Plant fall potatoes this month. Instead of cutting up large potatoes as in spring, plant whole small potatoes now. One peck dropped 10 to 12 inches apart will plant two 100-foot rows. Fertilize well before planting or apply plant food as a side-dressing in two applications after the potatoes are up.

Perennial Seeds

Mid-August planting gives the seedlings a head start before winter sets in. Start seeds in a shaded frame where they can be given attention and where they will be shaded from hot sun. Pansy seeds sown now produce blooming size plants before Christmas. And, don't forget, plant some herb seeds too. There are many that can be grown with ease.

The Bulbs

It is too early for most spring flowering bulbs but there are some that should be planted this month. One is the Madonna lily and the other is the variegated peace lily. Give it a well drained soil and plant just deep enough to cover the bulbs or the peace lily plant. Colchicums and autumn-flowering crocus are novelties everywhere. Colchicums can be flowered on the table or windowsill without soil or planted in the garden.

Red Spider Lily, Lycoris radiata, is another that should be planted this month for September blooms. It, too, likes to be planted shallow and left alone. In Florida it is called Hurricane Lily because it blooms in September, the hurricane season. Other bulbs to plant this month include leucojurns and zephyranthes.

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