Week 42 Tips for the Zone 9 Garden

This past week, we buried my mother-in-law.  Patricia Ann Krischke was an amazing woman!  I have never known anyone that was so full of life.  She loved to laugh and sing and dance and she would do it any time she got the chance.  She truly lit up a room with her presence.  She spent the first part of her life being the perfect wife that raised four amazing children.  She was a constant volunteer, a devout Catholic and a hostess with a true gift for entertaining.  Once the kids were gone she went to work for Harris County where she was instrumental in getting the bonds passed for the Astrodome.  She was also a HUGE Republican and was very proud of the of the work she did on the campaigns of Ronald Reagan, Bush 1, Kay Bailey Hutchinson and countless other state and local officials.  In the end, there was only one thing she could not do – defeat Alzhiemers.  Please pray for my family and all families that are dealing with the horrible disease.  Rest in Peace Pat Krischke.  The world is a lot less bright without you in it.

In honor of Pat, I am going to talk about some fall crops (or crops that can be planted in the fall) that have been shown to prevent or fight Alzheimer’s Disease.

Patricia_Krischke

Alzheimer’s was the only challenge my mother-in-law, Pat Krischke could not overcome. Eternal rest grant unto her O Lord!

  • Strawberries – Plant Chandler, Douglas or Sequoia varieties now for a spring harvest. Strwberries will tolerate a lot of soil types and pH ranges.  However, it will not tolerate wet feet.  Plant in soil with excellent drainage.
  • Cucumbers with skins –. Fisetin is a plant compound that may prevent or fight plaque buildup in the brain. This compound is highest in the skin and area just between the skin and the fruit.  So, even if they make you burp, eat those cucumber skins!
  • cucumbers

    I am ready to to harvest my second crop of cucumbers of the year. Cucumbers contain the Alzheimer fighting chemical called fisetin. Photo by Bruce Leander

    Apples – Who doesn’t love fresh, crisp fall apples? Again, eat them whole to get the most Alzheimer’s fighting qualities.  Plant apple trees now.

  • Kiwi –Besides tasting great, science believes that kiwis possess a lot of healthful compounds. My friend Tim Hartman is currently doing his PhD work on the kiwi.  Pray that he finds something in these furry, green fruits that will finally cure Alzheimer’s and other diseases.
  • Peaches and plums – Both peaches and plums are great Alzheimer fighters.  It will soon be time to plant peach and plum trees so you can grow your own Alzheimer fighters at home!
  • Tomatoes – If persimmons and kiwis are not to your liking, just eat tons of tomatoes. The most popular vegetable in the world is packed with fisetin.
  • Onions – Onions are another garden staple that have great Alzheimer fighting characteristics. Right now, it is just about time to plant onions in south and central Texas.

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 Week 41 Tips for the Zone 9 Garden  

Well, summer is refusing to leave.  It is hard to believe that after the record rainfalls of spring, we are slowly slipping back into a drought situation.  Because of this, take time this weekend to do some deep watering of your trees, shrubs and other perennials.  Below are some more things you can do in your yards and gardens this weekend.

Now is a great time to plant lettuce from seed and shallots.  I grow them together in the beds of my potager.

Now is a great time to plant lettuce from seed and shallots. I grow them together in the beds of my potager.

VEGETABLES

  • Plant greens – Now is a good time to plant spinach and lettuce from seed. I use my Cobrahead Hand Hoe to make a shallow furrow in soil that has been well worked with compost.  I spinkle the seeds and then cover lightly.  Most greens need some light to germinate os do not plant too deeply or compact the soil too tightly after planting.  Keep the soil moist until the plants are at least 1 inch high.
  • Plant shallots –. While it is still too early to plant bulbing onions, you can plant shallots now. I grow three varieites of shallots.  These keep us in onions through the winter and we use their tops in in soups and salads.
My "Crimson Glory" roses are putting on their fall show.  Feed your roses now with high phosphorus fertilizers

My “Crimson Glory” roses are putting on their fall show. Feed your roses now with high phosphorus fertilizers

ORNAMENTALS

  • Feed your roses – Most of my roses are putting on their fall show. Feed them now with a high phosphorus fertilizer and give them regular water until the first freeze
  • Gather seeds – My wife loves saving seeds. By this time some of our zinnias and bachelor buttons are beginning to look pretty ragged.  Sally pulls up the entire plant, ties them in bundles and then hangs them upside down in our garage.  Once they are dry she crushes the seed heads into paper bags, lables them, and them places them in the refrigerator to be used next spring.
  • Plant poppies – Thanks to my wife’s efforts we have lots of poppy seeds saved from last year. Scatter them on the ground and then drag a rake over them.  Water and then forget them.  Wait until April and enjoy one of the most prolific and showy flowers of the spring garden
  • Divide Daylily and iris now – I dig up the entire clump and then beak them up into individual plants. I space my daylilies about and iris about a foot apart.
dividing-daylilies

This weekend is a great time to divide day lilies and iris.

 

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!

Week 40 Tips for the Zone 9 Garden

I spent last night with a 43 year old friend that just survived a massive heart attack!  Things like this kind of stop me in my tracks and make me re-evaluate the important things in life.  While I am definitely going to do some gardening this weekend, I think I will spend a lot more time than usual smelling the flowers!  Our weather woman told me that this is going to be a great weekend to be outside.  With highs in the low 80s it will be a great time to do some of the more labor intensive tasks that you have been putting off.  Below are some of the things you can do in your garden this weekend.

fava-beans

Fava beans are a cool season crop that can be planted from now until around Thanksgiving.

VEGETABLES

  • Start preparing for spring – Traditional gardeners can plant all year round with little preparation. By applying commercial fertilizers they can give their plants whatever food they need whenever they need it.  Organic gardeners don’t have it so easy.  Rich organic soil takes time to build.  I generally leave a few rows unplanted in the fall garden.  I add compost and till it in just like usual, but I do not plant in it.  Instead I cover with leaves and a heavy layer of mulch.  The leaves attract the earth worms which will begin to turn the compost into a nutrient dense soil that will feed my spring garden.
  • Plant fava beans from seed –. One of my four son-in-laws is an Egyptian (and a very good gardener). A big part of his food culture includes fava beans.  I had never eaten or grown a fava bean before he joined our family.  Now they are one of my favorite things to grow.  This is a good weekend to plant them.  You can plant them now until about Thanksgiving to ensure a long harvest.  Click here to read an article I did on them a few years ago: Succession Planting of Fava (Broad Beans) in the Potager.
Fall-Arrangement-1

Last week, Sally and I made this arrangement for her mother.

ORNAMENTALS

  • Enjoy those flowers – One of my favorite things about gardening is making cut flower arrangements. Sally and I grow lots of flowers and herbs that we use in arrangements for our house, our guest house and for friends.  Cut flowers early in the morning and drop them immediately into cool water.  To extend the time you get to enjoy your arrangements keep them away from windows and gas stoves
  • Mulch – While tough summer weeds like Bermuda, spurge and purslane are slowing down, fall broadleaves like pigweed are coming on. Give your beds a good weeding and then mulch, mulch, mulch!  Mulch will suppress weed germination.  Plus, a good thick layer of mulch will insulate the roots of your perennials and ensure they come back for you in the spring .
lycoris-aurea-4

Right now my lycoris are stunninging. This lovely shot is of L. radiate and L. aurea.

Lawns

  • Plant rye grass now – September 15 used to be the date that landscapers put out rye grass. Thanks to climate change that date is no longer accurate.  Plant rye grass when day time temperatures are in the 70s to low 80s and night time temperatures are 20 degrees cooler.  For very detailed instructions on how to properly over seed with rye, check out my article entitled “Doing Rye Grass Right”.

 

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!

Week 39 Tips for the Zone 9 Garden

Turns out I did not have to spray pesticides last weekend.  I discovered that the pest that was eating my brassicas was Gallus domesticas.  Gallus domestica is a large flying garden pest that is more commonly known as “the chicken”.  While my chickens have scratched things up a bit in the garden, they have never eaten the foliage of the brassica.  Guess they were looking  to expand their palate.  This weekend I will be replanting broccoli again (as I caught them eating the transplants I bought last weekend).  Below are some more things you can do in your garden this weekend.

Ameraucana-1

Turns out two legged pests can be more destructive then insects!

VEGETABLES

  • Plant Sugar Snap Peas – Now is a great time to plant the American version of English peas. Sugar Snaps are kind of like rye grass.  Plant them when day and night temperatures are about 20 degrees apart.  Sugar Snaps vine so be sure to plant on some type of support.  I grow mine on cattle panels.  However, they will grow over any type of support you supply
  • Plant root crops from seed –. Now is a good time to plant root crops like beets, turnips, rutabagas, carrots, daikon, parsnip and radish. Beets, turnips and radish mature very quickly so you can get in several crops between now and April.  Carrots, daikon and parsnip mature more slowly.
  • Plant leeks and garlic – Now is a good time to plant garlic and leeks. I have some heirloom “Old German” leeks I will be planting this weekend
  • Plant artichokes and spring blooming lavender now – Lavender and artichokes are perrinials. Because of that they will both reward you with beautiful flowers and edible parts for years  If you don’t already have these plants get some and get them in the ground now.
There are so many varieties of radish and they all mature very quickly.  why not try a French Breakfast or Icicle radish this fall.

There are so many varieties of radish and they all mature very quickly. why not try a French Breakfast or Icicle radish this fall.

ORNAMENTALS

  • Fertilize blooming plants now – Right now my yard is bursting with color. Cannas, lantana, bulbs, zinnia, cockscomb, bachelor buttons and roses are all blooming profusely.  Feed with compost tea or other organic fertilizers and compost.  If using blended fertilizer apply 1 cup per ten fet of bed of a fertilizer with low N and high P and high K.  Something like a 10-20-10 is ideal.
  • Water fall blooming bulbs – Right now I have spider lilies, lycoris aurea and oxbloods up. Theie blooms last only a few days.  Keep the bulbs well watered to extend the blooms for a couple of days.
My spidelilies are blooming right now.  Give yours lots of water to extend their bloom time

My spidelilies are blooming right now. Give yours lots of water to extend their bloom time

TREES and SHRUBS

  • Plant trees and shrubs now – Now is the absolute best time to plant ornamental trees and shrubs. Last year I planted two Empire Live Oaks for nationally known decorator Holly Mathis. Check out the post we did that explains how to properly plant all trees and shrubs.  One more thing, at this time of year many nurseries will have things like Vitex, crepe myrtles and wax myrtles marked down.  Visit your local nursery and look for deals.

Week 38 Tips for the Zone 9 Garden

Well, I have a problem.  All of the broccoli and cabbage transplants that I put out a couple of weeks ago are now gone.  Something has eaten every last one of them.  So, this weekend I will be replanting and trying to figure out how to control whatever it is that is eating my brassicas.  Since I will be applying organic pesticides this weekend I thought this would be a good opportunity to review some of the major organic herbicides and pesticides available to the home gardener.

While our chickens eat a lot of bugs I still have to spray things like Bt and spinosad from time to time

While our chickens eat a lot of bugs I still have to spray things like Bt and spinosad from time to time

BUG CONTROL

  • Bt– Bacillus thuringiensis has been used to kill soft bodied pests in the organic garden for a very long time. I suspect that what is eating my broccoli is either a little green caterpillar called the cabbage worm or another green caterpillar called the cabbage looper.  Both of these pests can be controlled fairly well with Bt.  Like all pesticides, organic or not, Bt should be mixed for a single use.  Bt rapidly degrades in the sunlight.  Because of this, spray the plant late in the evening, covering all areas of the plant where the bug will eat.  If you mix too much Bt, add more water too the mixture and leave it out in the sun.  In 48 hours the mixture will be completely inert. NOTE:  Bt does not kill pests mmediately.  You may need to apply three times to get maximum effectiveness
  • Spinosad –. If you pests are tougher than caterpillars you will need to use spinosad. Spinosad is a live bacterium that speeds up a pest’s metabolism to the point where they stop eating and die within a couple of days.  Spinosad has been shown to be effective against caterpillars, leaf miners, fire ants, hornworms and even fleas.  Like Bt, spinosad breaks down in heat and sunlight.  However, it can remain active for five to seven days.  Only use spinosad if Bt has failed as it will kill bees and other pollinators
  • Neem oil – Neem oil is a plant extract that is mostly effective against aphids and scale insects. It can kill some insects if they are covered when they are very young (rigt after hatching).  It has also been shown to prevent some insect eggs from hatching.  It is not very effective against mature beetles like stink bugs or other leaf footed bugs
Large, broad leafed weeds like thistle and dandelion can be easily controlled with acetic acid

Large, broad leafed weeds like thistle and dandelion can be easily controlled with acetic acid

WEED CONTROL

  • Acetic Acid – Acetic acid is available in concentrations up to 20%. Concentrated acetic acid is very effective on a wide range of both grassy and broadleaf weeds.  I have seen dandelions and crabgrass begin to wither 30 minutes after the initial application.  Vinegar is best when applied to young plants.  Established weeds may need a second or third application to finally kill them.  Be careful when applying vinegar.  Overspray can kill things you don’t want to die.  I use a spray bottle and a shield when spraying close to my desirable plants.  If you want to spray a wide area, then a pump sprayer works well too.
  • Horticultural Molasses – Neil Sperry recently said that Nut Sedge (grass) is the cockroach of the gardening world. I agree.  I have tried everything to control nut sedge.  This year I read an article by Howard Garrett (The Dirt Doctor) about using horticultural molasses.  Well, I tried it and it works—kind of.  While it killed all nut grass in the cracks of my brick patio, it did not do much damage to the nut grass that was growing in my beds.  I applied the molasses at full strength.

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!

Week 37 Tips for the Zone 9 Garden

This morning I woke to the sound of rain on my tin roof.  Weatherman says this is the leading edge of a cool front that is going to give us our first taste of fall temperatures.  Several days of highs in the mid 80s and lows in the 60s means this is going to be the best weekend to garden in a very long time.

Cotton-1

Sally and I grew cotton for the first time this year.

Vegetables

  • Still time to transplant – Brassica transplants can be planted throughout the fall. This is good because you really don’t want 12 heads of cauliflower ready for harvest at the same time.  I stagger plant (plant 3 or 4 plants every two weeks) cauliflower and cabbage through October.  Stagger planting allows me to enjoy a steady supply of these vegetables throughout the spring.
  • Tomato care – By now, your tomato plants should be flowering or setting fruit. To ensure your best fruit possible feed regularly.  I side dress monthly with finished compost.  I also like to apply liquid fertilizers like homemade compost tea or Ladybug’s Secret Recipe.
  • Harvest cotton – Ok, I don’t expect that you have a lot of cotton to harvest. However, we did.  One of Sally’s student’s gave her some seeds last spring so we planted them.  First time I have ever grown the crop that a lot of our grandparents grew for the cash that kept their families and farms going.  We will use our cotton to make a holiday wreath.  Neat experience and I hope to do a post about growing it, and the wreath we will make from it, in the near future.
outdoor-fall-arrangement

Crotons, mums and marigolds combined with pumpkins and other winter squash make outstanding fall arrangements. These plants do as well in pots as the do in the ground

Ornamentals

  • Plant fall color now – The stores are filling up with marigolds, crotons and chrysanthemums. All of these plants perform well in a pot or in the ground.  Mix them with the winter squash and gourds you harvested earlier this year to make outstanding arrangements for you yards or porches
  • Water fall blooming bulbs – All of my fall blooming bulbs are blooming now. Oxbloods and lycoris are all beautiful but their blooms fade very quickly.  Keep them well watered to extend their flower time

Trees and Lawns

  • Prepare perennials for the move – If you have a rose, shrub or other spring blooming perennial that has grown too large for its spot, or is not doing well in its location, move it.  If the plant is large, begin gently cutting roots by sticking your shovel into the ground in a semi-circle about a foot from the trunk.  After a week or so, do the same thing to the other side of the trunk.  Water deeply for two weeks before the move.
  • Plant trees now – If you are going to plant trees this fall, consider buying smaller trees. While they do not have the immediate impact of a large tree they have several other advantages.  First, they are cheaper.  Second, they are easier to establish.  Third, they have a much better chance of having a healthy root system.  If you plant a small tree and give it ample food and water, it will reward you with rapid, healthy growth.
fall-floral-arrangement-1

Still a lot blooming at our house. This lovely arrangement consists of zinnias, gomphrena, roses, coreopsis and carlic chive blooms.

 

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!

Week 36 Tips for the Zone 9 Garden

I am really looking forward to this weekend.  Work has been very stressful so I really need three days of intensive garden therapy.  While many of you will be beaching, boating or barbecuing, I will be spending all of my Labor Day Weekend laboring.  I am going to spend all three days catching up on chores and planting lots and lots of transplants.

cabbage-head

This is a great weekend to plant cabbage and other cole crops from transplants.

Vegetables

  • Transplant! – I love the vegetables that come from the fall garden best of all-and this is the weekend to plant the ones I love. This weekend I will be planting broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts from transplant.  It is also a great time to plant shallots.  Plant transplants in well-draining soil that has been thoroughly worked with compost.    Keep soil moist for the first couple of weeks to ensure good rooting.  No fertilize is needed at transplant time.
  • Plant from seed- We are running out of time to plant a lot of fall crops from seed. My first freeze usually comes around November 16.  Because of this it is too late to plant anything that takes more 70 days to mature. You can still plant most beans (green, lima, runner, wax).  You should still have time to get a cucumber harvest from seed if you plant now. Some yellow squash will produce in under 70 days.  However use transplants at this late date to ensure a harvest.
  • Plant herbs from transplants – Herbs do great in the cooler fall temperatures. Plant basil, chives, cilantro and dill.  Use that dill to make fresh pickles with cucumbers that you will plant this weekend.
mexican-mint-marigold

Mexican mint marigold is an anise flavored herb that blooms prolifically in the fall

Ornamentals

  • Prune roses – If you have not yet pruned your roses, do it this weekend. There are different types of roses and they all have different pruning requirements.  Check out this great article from Heirloom Roses about how to properly prune your roses this fall.  http://www.heirloomroses.com/care/pruning
  • Redo Potted Plants – Fall potted plants require less water and their foliage stays bright the entire season. While marigolds and chrysanthemums are perennial fall favorites consider adding some clumping grasses or large scale cactus to your arrangements.  They will add color, texture and drama to all of your creations.

 

cactus-potted-plant

Fall is the best time of the year for potted plants in Texas. Spice up your arrangements by mixing grasses or cactus with the standard annuals

Trees and Lawns

  • Plant bluebonnets and other wildflowers – To over seed wildflowers, mow the lawn as close as possible then spread your seed. Once the seed is down walk around on them.  Wildflowers need to come in contact with the soil to get the best germination
  • Control fire ants organically – Fire ants love okra and broccoli. If you are like me you do not like to use chemicals anywhere near the vegetable garden.  Control fire ants organically by combining compost tea, molasses and orange oil.
plant-happiness

Plant Texas wildflowers in September

 

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!

Week 34 Tips for the Zone 9 Garden

Well, I learned an expensive lesson today.  If you water your black gumbo yard for 23 hours it still will not close up the cracks that the July and August heat have made!  Yep!  I ran the sprinkler ALL DAY,  And yes, my wife asked me if I had turned off all of the water before we went to bed last night.  Oh well, live and learn.  At least I know my trees and primrose jasmine are now DEEPLY watered as they head into fall.

Even though it is hot and dry, this is going to be a great weekend in the garden.  Forecast says highs in the low to mid 90s with a chance of showers. So start early, drink lots of fluids and get a big part of your fall garden in the ground.

Provide ample fertilizer and water to any veggies that are still producing

Provide ample fertilizer and water to any veggies that are still producing

Vegetables

  • Remove old mulch and burn it – I use spoiled hay to mulch my vegetable garden. Regardless of what you mulch with you will need to remove any that is left and bag it or burn it.  Do not put it in the compost.  Spent mulch is full of bug eggs and larvae.  A warm compost pile is the perfect place for garden pests to over winter
  • If its growing, feed it – I still have okra, purple hulls and tomatoes growing in my garden. This weekend is a great time to feed them.  Side dress with finished composed or give them a foliar application of fish emulsion or other water soluble product.  If using commercial fertilizers apply a high nitrogen blend at a rate of 1 cup for ten feet of row
  • Plant potatoes – You can plant potatoes now. It is better to plant small, whole potatoes, as opposed to cut up pieces, in the fall.  The extremely warm soil will rot potato pieces that are not thoutoghly scabbed.
yellow-canna

Cannas are great, heat tolerant plants that bloom all throughout the summer.

Ornamentals

  • Weed, feed, water and mulch – August is a tough time on existing plants and a tough time for establishing new bedding plants. Take advantage of slower growth rates to remove tough weeds like Bermuda.  Once an area is weeded, sprinkle a little fertilizer, mulch and water.  Water every three or four days.  This will get your beds in prime shape for planting later in the month

Trees and Lawns

  • Baby your pecans! – The shells of pecans are beginning to fill with fruit. Keep your pecan trees well watered to ensure your best possible crop
  • Cut out bag worms – If you see bag worms forming in your trees, cut them out before they get too big. If you have missed them and you have a large mass, use your long handled pruners to open up the webs to encourage the birds to come in and clean up larvae
  • Be on the lookout for chinch bugs – August is prime time for chinch bugs. While chinch bugs can definitely do a lot of damage to St. Augustine lawns, they can be controlled if caught early.  My buddy Randy Lemmon (host of Garden Line on KTRH) has a great article about how to identify and treat them.  Click here to learn more.

Pecans are filling their shells with fruit right now so keep your trees well watered!

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!

Week 33 Tips for the Zone 9 Garden

As I write this I am sitting on an incredibly comfortable 75 degree back porch in Oklahoma City.  Sally and I came north to spend a little time with our grandson (and his parents).  Since this weekend is the official kick off of the Fall garden season I will be driving back on Saturday so I can begin planting my garden in the 100+ temperatures that we are expecting this weekend.

Roger and I having a little fun while mom and Nana do a little shopping

Roger and I having a little fun while mom and Nana do a little shopping

Vegetables

  • Plant the following from seed – While it is still too hot for transplants, there are many things you can plant this weekend from seed. Below is what I will be planting (don’t forget to check our planting calendar to get a complete list of what you can plant from seed this weekend):
    • Green Beans
    • Black eyed peas
    • Beets
    • Carrots
    • Kale
    • Collards
    • Mustard Greens
    • Squash (both summer and winter varieties)
    • Chard
    • Lima Beans
  • Prepare beds for transplants – By September 1 you can plant most transplants. Get your beds ready now by removing all weeds, rebuilding the row or beds and then applying a deep layer of compost.  Once this is done mulch heavily and begin watering on a regular basis
  • Plant tomato transplants ASAP – I know I said wait until September 1 to plant transplants, but tomatoes are an exception. Plant them as soon as they show up in stores.  Most tomatoes take so long to mature that you need to get them in the ground now if you want red fall tomatoes.  Baby them!  Give them a little shade cloth, lots of water and mulch heavily with finished compost.  Then feed them with liquid fertilizer.  Fall tomatoes need to establish quickly and start putting on flowers early in the fall season.
Now is the time to spend money on compost.  Everything in your Fall garden will benefit from the addition of compost

Now is the time to spend money on compost. Everything in your Fall garden will benefit from the addition of compost

Ornamentals

  • Prepare beds for fall – Flower beds need the same work as the vegetable garden. Remove weeds now.  Fertilize heavily with finished compost and mulch.  Begin watering regularly to encourage fall blooming bulbs to sprout
  • Plant from seed – This weekend is a great time to plant more zinnias, cockscomb, marigolds and sunflowers from seed
  • Plant from transplant – While it is too hot to plant transplants in the vegetable garden, garden beds that get some shade can receive several great transplants. Some of my favorites are pentas and angelonia
  • Refresh potted plants. If summer has zapped the plants in your pots I recommend redoing them.  Throw away spent plants and soil.  Replace with a high quality planting mix that has perlite or other water holding components.  When watering in plants use a water soluble fertilizer mixed to 50% of package recommendations.  Some of my favorite fall potted plants are coleus and portulaca
coleus-potted-plant

Coleus and portulaca are some of my favorite potted plants

Trees and Lawns

  • Prepare trees and shrubs for transplant – if you have a tree or shrub that needs to be moved, now is the time to start getting ready. The larger the tree or shrub is the more preparation it needs.  Start giving it a slow, soaking watering every third day.  This will assure the plant is full hydrated before its move
  • Continue to water trees and shrubs deeply – If your trees or shrubs are shedding leaves now there is a good chance they are suffering root stress. It has been very hot lately.  This is very hard on young trees and woody perennials.  Mulch heavily, water deeply and regularly and feed with a slow release fertilizer.

 

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!

Week 32 Tips for the Zone 9 Garden

sunflower-arrangement

A lovely sunflower and gomphrena arrangement in our little guest cottage that we call “The Nest”. Photo by Natalie Lacy Lange

Last night Sally and I came home to every Texan’s worst August nightmare; our air conditioner was out!  Thank goodness for our little guest house!  While watching the news from the air conditioned comfort of our little cottage I caught the forecast for next week.  They are saying it is going to be 105 and 106 on Monday and Tuesday.  That should motivate you to get out there this weekend and get your garden ready for the fall planting (since it is only going to be 101 on Saturday and Sunday).  You will want to get as much done as possible while it is still cool!

cucumber-seeds

It is time to order your seeds for the Fall garden. Check out Patty’s Variety List and Seed Sources on the sidebar.

Vegetables

  • Order seeds now – With only two or three weeks left before the Fall planting season begins, you need to place your seed orders ASAP. Patty Leander has created two great guides that will tell you the best varieties for Central Texas and where to find them.  Click on the links below to read her Vegetable Variety Guide and her list of her favorite seed sources.

Patty Leander’s Vegetable Varieties for Central Texas

Patty Leander’s On-Line Seed Sources

  • Take advantage of the heat – We are right smack dab in the middle of the hottest part of the year. Solarization is a great, cheap and organic way to solve some serious weed problems.  Patty talks about this in her latest post on Nematode control and I did a post a while back (called Weed Free Organically)that is worth revisiting.  Check them both out.  Solarization is very easy to do and very effective.
  • Water and turn your compost – Your compost pile has to stay moist to work properly. Water and turn regularly
purple-fountain-grass-sweet-potato-vine

One of my beds with three of my favorite heat loving ornamentals-puple fountain grass, sweet potato vine and zinnias

Ornamentals

  • Dead head – Last night my wife made a very attractive bouquet of sunflowers and dark purple gomphrena. All of our summer blooming flowers need to be deadheaded to encourages rebloom.  Also, water your flowers more often in this heat.  Right now I am applying about an inch of water every third day to my cut flower garden
  • Order seeds for fall blooming flowers – When you order your vegetable seeds pick up a few packets of flower seeds. It will soon be time to put out spring bloomers like larkspur and poppies.   Order now to ensure the best selection

Trees and Lawns

  • Watch out for sod webworms – August is the month for this pest. The worms are the larval form of a very small, gray moth.  The larvae will strip your grass down to the stolons.  Infestion clues are yellowing grass and/or lots of birds on the lawn.  The birds are eating the caterpillars.  These pests can do a lot of damage in a hurry.  Unfortunately there is no good organic control.  Spray Bayers “Power Force” on day one and Bayer’s “Bayer’s Complete” on day two.
  • Trim shrubs and hedges now – The high heat of August slows the growth of woody perennials. Since they grow less now, your shaping efforts will ensure they look good much longer than they did after their Spring pruning

 

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!