Monthly Garden Calendar for Southeast United States

Organic Gardening Month-to-Month Almanac

By Don Boekelheide

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I garden smack dab in the middle of the Carolina Piedmont. Some folks call it Zone 7 or 'The Middle South', but I like the ecological term 'Piedmont' better. One of my passions is vegetable gardening (I do it in my front yard, back yard, and in community gardens, too).

You can grow cool season crops—lettuce, broccoli, you name it beautifully in the spring and fall. In the summer, all the heat-lovers thrive, from tomatoes to okra to sweet potatoes. Annual and perennial flowers also grow well, and you can have field day with hearty native perennials like black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia). Fruit crops are a challenge to grow organically here, but three stand out as good choices: Figs, strawberries and, best of all, the native rabbiteye blueberries.

Challenges? Well, sure, that's part of gardening. Here, in addition to that hot summer weather, gardeners often have to deal with acidic heavy clay soils, insect and disease pressures, unpredictable weather including long dry spells between August and October. But these can all be overcome generous helpings of compost, a bit of good advice, and most of all, a laid-back and positive attitude that's not afraid to try new things in the garden.

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