Patty Leander reminded me of an old adage about Texas weather. It goes something like this “Texas weather is a series of droughts broken up by an occasional flood”. These past few weeks have been a great reinforcer of that old saying. Once it stopped raining the sun came out in a big way. After the rainiest May in history I found myself watering Sunday night. Oh the joys of gardening in Texas! If it is not raining again this week end (as is predicted) here are a few things you can do in your yard or garden.
- Control squash bugs-The bugs that a lot of us call “squash bugs” or “stink bugs” are actually called leaf footed bugs. While these pests are most often seen on our tomatoes and squash, they will eat just about anything. In fact I even found them in my plum tree today. This hard bodied bug is really prolific and hard to kill. Pick adults and drop into a bucket of soapy water or suck up with a dust buster or shop vac. You can also leave boards or shingles under your plants. The bugs will go under them at night. In the morning step on the board or shingle!
- Control broad leaf weeds with concentrated acetic acid-Household vinegar is around 6% acetic acid. While it will kill weeds real killing power is found in concentrated acetic acid found at your local garden center. You can find acetic acid concentrated to about 20%. This is the “Round up” of the organic world. It will kill just about every type of weed (or desirable plant) in your garden so use with caution.
- Re-mulch tomatoes-Remove old mulch and destroy it. It harbors bugs, bug eggs, blown in weed seeds and fungus. A fresh new layer of mulch will help you keep an even soil moisture level. This will prevent both cracking and blossom end rot
- Continue removing suckers from tomato plants
- Trim tomato bushes branches that have outgrown their supports
- Pick cucumbers and okra daily
- Side dress all plants with hign nitrogen composts like mushroom or cotton bur
- Trim shrubs so they are slightly fuller at the bottom than the top. This will allow sunlight to reach the entire plant and prevent “leggy” shrubs
- Plant more zinnias and sunflowers
- Clip back any remaining foliage of daffodils, jonquils or narcissus
- Plant fall blooming bulbs like oxbloods and spider lilies
- It is now time to apply nitrogen to your St. Augustine
- Fertilize trees by applying your fertilizer at the drip line of the canopy