Week 30 Tips for the Zone 9 Garden


Unfortunately this barred owl was hit by a car on our road. Sally took it to the Wildlife Center of Texas in Houston. GREAT non-profit that always appreciates your donations.

This has been an interesting week.  Of course it has been hot and dry, but in addition to that I have killed another big snake in the chicken coop, my wife has rescued a large barred owl, and I picked up a pretty good case of poison ivy while weeding.  I worked outside from 8 am until 8 pm on Saturday.  Pulled a lot of weeds and even moved a few plants.  However, I got over heated and wound up giving myself a fever.  While July is a good time to accomplish several garden chores you really do have to be mindful of the heat (and the poison ivy).


  • Start transplants of cole crops– We are about to run out of time to start our broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, cabbage and Brussel sprouts from seed. Start seeds in a high quality media and keep moist.  You can plant your brassicas anytime between August 15 and September 15.
  • Prune tomatoes-I do not replant tomatoes in the fall. I prune my vines by half, mulch with compost and continue to water.  This allows me to start harvesting fall tomatoes in October and right up through December in a mild winter
  • It’s a bad time to transplant, but … This week a friend let me dig up some blackberry runners. This is the ABSOLUTE WORST TIME to transplant.  However, he was going to mow them down and I wanted some blackberries that will grow in my area.  If you find yourself needing to move something in the summer do this:
    • Water the plant well for several days before digging
    • Deeply water the new location for several days
    • When digging the plant create the largest root ball you can handle
    • Dig the hole that will receive the plant 1 ½ times as big as the root ball
    • Remove as much as half of the plant’s vegetation. Green parts transpire and cause large amounts of water loss
    • Water often enough to keep the soil moist but not soggy. DO NOT fertilize.  Fertilizer grows green stuff.  When transplanting you want the plant to put all of it resources toward growing new roots, not foliage
In this heat, containers need water almost every day and feedings at least once a week.

In this heat, containers need water almost every day and feedings at least once a week.


  • Prune native sunflowers and fall asters – I grow a lot of native Maxamillion sunflowers and fall asters. They get leggy this time of year so I cut them back a third to a half.  This makes the plants have thicker foliage in the fall and encourages additional flower bloom
  • Plant fall blooming bulbs like oxbloods, spider lilies and other lycoris
  • Water containers daily. Once a week water with a soluble fertilizer mixed to 50% of its recommended rate



Prune fall asters and native sunflowers now

Trees and Lawns

  • Water a little more frequently – People sweat, plants transpire. Transpiration is the process that moves water from the roots through the plant and out their stomata in the form of water vapor.  Right now they are transpiring almost 24 hours a day.  Water deeply and more frequently until night time temperatures drop out of the 80s.
  • Water trees at the drip line – Small, tender roots take up vastly more water than older, thicker roots. In trees these tender roots grow where water drip off of the tree’s canopy.
  • Water new trees deeply – Those crepe myrtles that you planted in March are still trying to establish themselves in your yard. In addition to your regular watering schedule add a slow, deep watering once a week.  Set the hose to a trickle and place it beside the trunk.  Let it run for an hour.

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!

2 thoughts on “Week 30 Tips for the Zone 9 Garden

  1. LOVE your blog and all the sound advice and beautiful pics you share. HATE your pics and descriptions of snake killing; a big turn-off that make me want to unsubscribe completely. Really am trying hard not to judge so in an effort to understand your situation, I want to ask: is there no alternative to killing the predators that find their way to your coop? No way to make a snake-proof coop? You seem to be so handy and crafty with things. No way to remove said pesky snake to “greener pastures?” No other alternative but to kill? We know the snake just wants to eat; seems to me that an unfair fight between unequal opponents is a cowardly fight for the stronger. I would hope that humans can evolve beyond this when their own survival is the last thing at stake.

    • I think those are fair questions. In fact, I mostly agree with your sentiments. Until this year I was not generally a “snake killer”. Even though I have never hesitated to kill poisonous snakes (they are a threat to my survival. In the last two years I personally know three people in my little town that were bitten by copperheads). I have always had a live and let live philosophy for the nonvenomous types. This has worked fine for years. However, this year, the chicken snakes have become a real problem. In the past two months they ate the only chicks we were able to hatch and we are losing eggs on a very regular basis. I only began killing them when I felt I had no other choice. As for building a “snake proof coop” I am sure that is possible, but not practical in my situation. We let our hens “free range” on our property. Because of that we have to leave a door open to the coop so they can go in and lay their eggs. This is a battle that everyone that keeps livestock has to decide how to handle. I hope you don’t unsubscribe as I understand, and mostly agree with, your feelings. I am not “a killer” by nature. I have rabbits that actually live in my garden. I don’t spray pesticides to kill bugs and I don’t spray herbicides that harm the microbes in the soil. I built a mammal proof coop that I lock and unlock everyday. I have done all I feel I can realistically do to leave in peace with my environment. While you are correct that my survival is certainly not in peril, the lives of our baby chicks and ducklings are. Hope you understand.

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