Tips for Week 26 in the Zone 9 Garden

Can you believe half of the year is already gone?  I can’t.  I saw an article yesterday that said we have reached the point in the year where our days will become 1 minute shorter each day from now until winter.  That means that preparations for the fall garden are just around the corner.  Until then, here are a few things you can do to start winding down your spring garden season.


Sunflowers are some of my favorite flowers. Mine are beginning to bloom. Photo by Sally White

Pest Control

  • Use flour and wood ash for insect control– OK, I am not sure this works because I have never tried it. However I recently visited with a man that has been growing organically for a lot longer than I have and he swears by it.  He said he mixes a grocery bag with five pounds of flour and a shovel full of wood ash.  He then throws it on everything to control caterpillars and squash bugs.  I would love to hear from any of you who have tried this or other organic bug control remedies.
  • Smother weeds when possible – Plants need air, light and water to grow. Remove any of these from the equation and the plant will die.  If you have fallow ground cover it with heavy cloth, mulch or building material to deprive weeds of the light they need to germinate
  • Solarize future planting areas – If you are going to till and plant a new area in the fall, mow it shortwater heavily and cover with 6 to 8 mil poly. Secure the edges with soil or lumber.  The hot Texas sun will raise temperatures under the poly to over 140 degrees.  This is hot enough to kill almost every plant and weed seed that is trapped under the cover

All of the rains of the past couple of months have delayed my tomatoes. I am pleased to say I am finally beginning to bring in a few each day.


  • Plant fall transplants now- If you want to save a few bucks you can grow your own fall transplants. Start broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, chard, Brussel sprouts and cabbage now 
  • Place spent plants in the compost bin – As you pull up your spent plants throw them on the compost pile. Keep it moist and turn it regularly for best results
  • Pick tomatoes when they begin to show color-Nothing brings big pests like birds, bunnies, raccoons and possums into the garden faster than red, ripe tomatoes.

Marigolds and daisies are beginning to be plagued by spider mites. Dispose of infected plants in the trash.


  • Pull up plants that are invested with spider mites-Marigolds are notorious for spider mite infestations. If your plants are looking bad remove them and dispose of them in a sealed plastic bag
  • Fertilize blooming plants – I use a finished compost to fertilize my flower beds. Along with feeding them it acts like mulch which suppress weeds and conserves moisture. I also make compost tea on occasion and apply as a drench.  Feed blooming plants monthly through August

I share these posts on Our SimpleHomestead Blog Hop.  Be sure to stop by.  The “hop” has tons of great information from gardeners and homesteaders all over the world!

6 thoughts on “Tips for Week 26 in the Zone 9 Garden

  1. Jay, mowing the yard tonight. Mustang grapes look like ready to start picking! Flatonia TX..!!! Is this going on in your area? Two yrs ago, we picked July 4th!??? Is it / was it all the rainfall?

    • Looks like you are a little ahead of us. Ours are not quite ripe yet. With all of the rain we have had they should be full of juice this year!

  2. Re squash bugs: When gardening in Columbus, Ohio, we successfuly lowered our squash vine borer problem with a handfull of hardwood ashes thrown into the center of each plant. Does not work as well for us in Austin.

    • Thanks for the comment Harry. Sad to hear that the wood ash doesn’t seem to work here. I wish I could find something that would work. I have vine borers so bad I gave up on growing summer squash two years ago.

      • This will be my 2nd try at wine making, first try two yrs ago, wasn’t half bad. Last year, Central TX, no grape crop! From first time I figured out sugar is what creates the alcohol, so putting more of that in this go round! Thanks Jay!

        • You are more than welcome. Last years late freeze did got all the grapes and all of our plums. However, all of the rain this year is going to give us a grape crop to remember!

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