Top Crops: Southern Interior

Okra, sweet potatoes, and watermelon might be signifiers of the southern interior, but sweet peppers are the surprise #1 among the region's top crops.


| April/May 2009


Broccoli finally makes it onto the list of 10 Top Crops thanks to the Southern interior region’s long fall, which starts in September and lingers until December. In addition, educational programs that encouraged farmers to switch from tobacco to broccoli probably trickled down to gardeners. Seedlings must be set out during the torrid days of August, and you will need to use row covers. Weekly sprays with a Bt or Spinosad insecticide will control cabbage worms and other leaf-eating caterpillars, but with row covers you get additional protection from grasshoppers — the scourge of the late-summer garden.

Most of the crops Southerners claim as their own — okra, sweet potatoes, Southern peas, and watermelon — lined up just behind the region’s Top 10. One gardener commented that he took the survey just so he could say how happy he was with his okra. Yet it does look like the red clay soils of the South are tough for root crops, which even experienced gardeners often find difficult to grow. Framed raised beds filled with sandy loam may be the only solution.

On the other hand, fall greens pretty much grow themselves, and most Southerners value collards the most. Spinach, turnips, chard, and mustard may be good, but in the South, collards are king.


Top 10

  1. Sweet pepper
  2. Slicing tomato
  3. Bush snap bean
  4. Summer squash
  5. Broccoli
  6. Garlic
  7. Bulb onion
  8. Pole snap bean
  9. Cherry tomato
  10. Hot pepper

Other Highly Rated Crops

Cabbage family: Cabbage, collards, kale

Cucumber family: Cantaloupe, watermelon, winter squash

Leafy greens: Arugula, chard, lettuce, mâche, mustard (all types), pac choi, sorrel, spinach, turnip greens

Joy Ann Cone
4/26/2009 7:25:19 AM

did I miss my window to plant this year?


MC_2
4/7/2009 4:15:11 PM

Well, I reckon this applies to NWAR-- that tiny little white corner of the state up there-- just as well. Thanks for the tip on dealing with the @!#%* grasshoppers. Any recommendations on the best materials to make rowcovers out of???? I hope I started my salad garden early enough.


Claire_2
4/6/2009 3:55:43 PM

I live in far South Texas and I didn't see my area in any of the articles. It's hot and dry and I could use a little advice!






mother earth news fair 2018 schedule

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Next: April 28-29, 2018
Asheville, NC

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!

LEARN MORE



Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Money-Saving Tips in Every Issue!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).


Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard


Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
Ogden Publications, Inc., 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, Kansas 66609-1265