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The Online Magazine FOR and ABOUT Southside Virginia







May '09 Contents

May '09 Cover


See You in the Morning By Gert Slabach

A Mouse in the House By Tammy Tillotson

Shadows on the Roanoke By Auntie Bellum

Halifax Heritage Festival (Event Photo Gallery)

Danville Community Market (Grand Opening - Photos)




South Winds
(Life in Perspective)

Southside Gardener
(May "To Do List")
By William H. McCaleb

Ask Bubba - Advice
Skools Out


Editor's Page
(Low Cost Entertainment)
V & B Comics
(Verrnack & Blupirk)

Press Releases

South Hill Happenings

Spring Fest (Sat May 9th)

Beef Fest (Wed May 27th)

YMCA Active Older Adults (Wed May 20th)

Local Ins Agency Achieves Certification
(Brandon Scearce Insurance Agency Achieves On Your Side Certification)

Past Issues

Past Issues are available from June 2008 through the current issue.
Select the desired issue from the drop-down box below.


Southside Gardener

May To Do List for the Gardener

 Contributed By William H. McCaleb

 Master Gardener Coordinator
 Virginia Cooperative Extension


   Some Sweet Trivia

   Did you know that�?

  • Honeybees tap 2,000,000 flowers to make 1 pound of honey.

  • A hive of bees flies 55,000 miles to bring you 1 pound of honey.

  • The average worker honeybee makes 1� teaspoons of honey in its lifetime.


   The Best �DE-FENCE� Against Deer

   Dealing with deer in the landscape can be difficult. While you do find lists of plants that are noted as being less likely to be eaten, it�s hard to say for certain that deer will NEVER eat a particular plant. It seems to depend on what else there is for them to eat, and how hungry they get. Azaleas are commonly consumed as well as hosta.

   Some shrubs that don�t seem to be consumed as much as others include: juniper, viburnum, bayberry, beautybush, hydrangea, boxwood, and butterfly bush. Some perennials that seem to be left alone by deer include: yarrow, butterfly weed, aster, astilbe, Sweet William, iris, bee balm, and peony.

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What to do in MAY



   Dahlias may be set out after the danger of frost is past.

   Continue to plant annuals this month. Set out petunias, marigolds and dwarf ageratum which are all good edging plants.

   Plant nasturtium, zinnia, cleome, and cosmos seeds in soil that is not too rich.



   Prune trees that bloom in the spring, such as cherry and crabapple, after they bloom as well as the early spring flowering shrubs, such as azalea, deutzia, beauty bush, weigela, kerria and viburnum. Later pruning will remove the buds set for next year.

   Flowering shrubs like spirea, forsythia and lilac should be pruned for renewal. After flowering, remove a few of the oldest and largest canes at the very base of the plant, leaving the plant thinner and smaller, while keeping the shape.



   Pull faded flowers from daffodils after blooming. Let foliage die naturally. Mark areas where bulbs need dividing and bare spots where you want to plant bulbs in the fall. Fertilize with any low nitrogen fertilizer. A handful of fertilizer sprinkled around each clump is enough.



   Mulch daffodils well with pine needles or shredded hardwood mulch.



   Newly planted annuals and perennials need watering every 2-3 days if the weather is dry.



   Put in stakes and tie tall growing perennials to protect against summer storms

   Continue a weekly schedule of spraying roses for black spot and monthly fertilizing with a rose fertilizer.

   Spray clematis with a solution of Mancozeb mixed with copper sulfate (1/2 tbs. copper powder per gallon of water) if it has a fungus.



   If plants arrive at a time when you must delay planting, punch holes in the bottom of a sturdy carton and put in 3 in of peat moss. Unwrap plants, place them on peat moss, and cover their roots with damp mulch. Water them gently with a soluble fertilizer. Plants will hold for two weeks if kept moist and in the shade.


Nemotodes � the Hidden Garden Pest

   Nematodes are the biggest garden problem you�ll never see. What you will see is the injury these tiny wormlike creatures cause.

   Common signs of nematode injury include yellowing leaves and wilting, even when the soil is moist. They milk you of yield and can cost in unnecessary soil amendments or chemical treatments as you try to guess what�s wrong with your garden.

   To deal with nematodes, the first step is simply to be sure you�ve got them. This requires a soil test. They are virtually impossible to eliminate, but you can learn to garden around them. If you had nematodes in your garden this past year, here are some things you can do to have more success next year:


   Research shows that nematode levels are lower if you rotate crops from one area of the garden to another. Root knot nematodes seem to favor tomatoes, okra, beans, squash, peppers, carrots, cucumbers, muskmelons, eggplant and watermelons.

   Crops that have partial built-in resistance to the root knot nematode include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, mustard, chives, cress, garlic, leeks and rutabagas.

   Root crops are susceptible to nematode damage and should not be planted in the same garden area year after year.


   It may seem extreme, but if over the years, you�ve built up high levels of nematodes in your soil, moving the garden to another location might be a good idea. If this new area also has nematodes present (which is highly likely), don�t continually plant crops that tend to increase the nematode population.


   These vegetable varieties usually have the letter N on the seed packet. Tomatoes now come in several nematode-resistant forms. Resistance does not mean total suppression though. You will still have the nematodes, even if you plant a resistant crop.


   Nematodes seem to be at their worst as soil temperatures rise. So plant early crops like lettuce, onions, and radishes before nematode activity picks up again.


   Plant roots provide nematodes a place to feed and reproduce well into the fall and winter. As you pull up your garden, don�t put root matter in your compost pile.


   More organic matter means more microbes actively feeding in the soil, some of which can lower nematode levels. Some gardeners plant what is called a green manure crop to build up organic matter. This is usually a legume, clover, vetch or rye crop that is tilled into the soil before planting.


   If you have questions about your landscape plants, you can also call the Extension Office and ask to speak to a Master Gardener or the Horticulture Technician.




William H. McCaleb
Program Assistant, ANR
Master Gardener Coordinator
Virginia Cooperative Extension
171 S. Main Street
P.O. Box 757
Halifax, VA 24558-0757
fax: 434-476-7777






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