If you need a reminder as to why gardening in Texas is so difficult, here it is. According to something I heard on the radio the other day, this is the earliest spring since something like 1884. Despite that, if you planted your “tomatoes” when you were “supposed to” in a normal year, they still got burned by a late season freeze during the earliest spring ever! Gotta love Texas!!!
If you took my advice and planted your tomatoes last week then I hope you got them covered before the cold weather came in. If not, I apologize. There was a 95% chance it would not freeze. Since it froze anyway many of you will probably need to replant if your tomatoes lost most of their leaves. This late season cold snap also hit ornamentals. If you had already put out tender flower transplants they likely got burned as well. Pull them up and replant if more than 50% of their foliage was burned.
If last weekend was the perfect time for planting, then this weekend is the perfect weekend to get control of the weed problems that are “popping up”. I get a lot of weed control questions on the blog. For an organic gardener, the options are fairly limited. You can pull them, hoe them or spray with an acetic acid mixture. Only problem with acetic acid is it kills everything. So if you are trying to kill a few dandelions in the middle of your beautiful lawn, cover them with a shield. A great trick is cut the bottom out of a jug. Place the bottomless jug over the weed and spray your herbicide into the top of the container. This will limit the amount of grass, or other plants that are potentially affected by overspray.
If you go to the trouble of pulling and chopping all of those weeds this weekend, be sure to mulch afterwards. The best way to control weeds is to prevent them and nothing does that better than a thick layer of mulch. I am lucky enough to have a truck so I get my mulch in bulk from my local landfill. I use wood chips in my ornamental beds and spoiled hay in my vegetable garden. Any dead, organic material will work. Another thing I often use in the vegetable garden is newspaper. If you wet newspaper and then overlap several layers over an area it will dry and form a very good barrier. Cover it with mulch to make your rows and beds look a little mote tidy.
I also get a lot of lawn questions this time of year. Here are my tips. Do not put out pre-ememrgent weed and feed products now. It is too late. The fertilizer is going to feed the weeds that have already germinated. Instead, mow your lawn on your lowest setting. In fact I would do this for the next two or three weeks in a row. This will kill most of the weeds that are growing now. After mowing put out a high nitrogen fertilizer like “Sweet Green”.