Spring is definitely in the air! Many of my roses are in full bloom and one of my chickens just hatched three new baby chicks! This is going to be a great weekend to be outside. The sun is out, temperatures are mild and all of this rain should make those beds a joy to work in.
The middle of April is a great time to plant our heat loving vegetables from seed. Patty Leander just did a great post on growing Butterbeans (Lima Beans). In addition to Butterbeans and Southern peas (black eyes and crowder), this weekend is a great time to plant vining crops like cantaloupe, water melons and gourds. It is also a great time to get your okra in the ground.
Quick note on vining crops. They are water hogs! If you give them as much water as they need by watering overhead you are setting yourself up for the best crop of uncontrollable weeds you have ever seen. Save water and reduce your weed problems by setting up some type of drip system for your watermelons, cantaloupes and gourds.
Most of my roses are truly beautiful right now. There really is not much in this world that is prettier than a rose bush in full bloom. If you have a rose (or other woody shrub) that you would like to make more of, now is the time to do it. I have found that people are somewhat intimidated by the thought of propagation. Don’t be. Most plants are very tough and adaptable. Making a new one from a cutting is pretty easy once you know a few tips.
If you would like to try your hand at propagation, read my article “Propogating Antique Roses”. It has all the tips you need to save a few bucks by creating your own plants from cuttings.
Right now the conditions are perfect for the formation of brown patch in St. Augustine. Brown patch is a fungal disease that forms when rainfall is high and temps or low. It is also more come in lawns that are over fertilized. Brown patch is not fatal. Generally, you can control it by cutting back on watering and fertilization. If it spreads to an area larger than a trash can lid you may want to apply one of several granular fungicides that are designed for control.
If your brown patch does not go away as the temperatures rise you may have Take All Patch. This is another fungal disease that is becoming more common. Unlike brown patch, take all patch is fatal. While there are fungicides for control, this disease is hard to beat once it is established. If you get Take All, you may want to consider replacing your water hungry St Augustine with Bermuda or zoysia. Both require less water and are bothered by fewer pests.
I share my posts on the HomeAcre Hop. Be sure to stop by the hop. It has tons of great information from gardeners and homesteaders all over the world!
Right now, if you are a Zone 9 gardener, you are busy. If you haven’t already gambled and done much of your spring planting, you will soon. If you are not planting, you are weeding, tilling or otherwise preparing your beds and borders for all of the flowers and veggies to come. Yes, it is definately a time of sore backs and aching muscles.
With so much to do, it is easy to overlook all of the amazing things that are happening all around us. That is why I always make a point to walk around and observe all of the beautiful things that are beginning to make their spring show.
I love the things that produce every year with out any help from me. My peach and plum trees are beginning to flower. In my mind, there aren’t many things that are any prettier than the delicate pink blooms of the peach tree.
Cherokee rose is an absolutely horrible plant. It is full of thorns, it grows like a weed and it only blooms once. However, this is the first “found rose” that I ever propogated. Plus, I did it with my daughter. So, despite all of the bad things about it, I will love it and keep it forever.
By far, the biggest and showiest announcer of spring are the native Texas Redbuds. The sight of their bright magenta blooms can bring cheer to the cloudiest day.