Gardening This Weekend: March 29, 2018
It seems like every plant is calling your name this time of the year. You think you’ve finished all of the critical issues and more pop up to greet you. Here are the ones I’d put at the top of the list.
• Tomatoes. Getting them into the garden now is absolutely essential. Wait too long and they’ll get smashed by the heat. Stay with small and mid-sized varieties such as Celebrity, Tycoon, Porter, Roma, Super Fantastic, Sweet 100, Red Cherry and Yellow Pear. Large-fruiting types like Big Boy and Beefsteak are notoriously poor fruit-setters in Texas due to our temperatures.
• Other warm-season vegetables including peppers, bush beans, squash, cucumbers and corn. Okra and southern peas in South Texas.
• Warm-season annuals including marigolds, zinnias, cosmos, wax begonias, pentas, angelonias and coleus. In South Texas you can add lantanas, firebush, Gold Star Esperanza, moss rose and hybrid purslane to the list, but save them for planting later in April in North Texas.
• Lawngrasses. Sod or plugs of St. Augustine, bermuda, zoysia. Wait for warmer soils to seed bermuda.
• Remove spent flowers from spring bulbs such as daffodils and narcissus, but leave foliage intact until it dies to the ground in several weeks. It’s critical in nourishing the bulbs for next year’s blooms.
• Spring-flowering shrubs and vines to reshape as needed. Avoid formal shearing.
• Mow lawn at recommended height regularly to encourage low, spreading growth that will crowd out the weeds.
• Lawn with all-nitrogen fertilizer with half or more of that nitrogen in slow-release form.
• Same type of all-N food will work with most of your other plants, including trees, shrubs, groundcovers and even annual and perennial flowers and vegetables. One high quality fertilizer may truly “do all.”
• Annual and perennial transplants with liquid or water-soluble, high-N fertilizer weekly for several feedings.
ON THE LOOKOUT
• Aphids congregating on tender new growth. Most general-purpose organic or inorganic insecticides will control them, or you can blast them away with a hard stream of water.
• Cabbage loopers chewing holes in leaves of cole crops (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.). Apply B.t. biological worm treatment.
• Snails and slugs feeding at night. You’ll see their slime trails on the ground and on plant leaves. Dust with a snail/slug bait. Some people use a shallow pan filled with beer or with dry dog food to which you’ve added water. The pests will be attracted to the smell and will drown.
• Broadleafed weeds with a spray product containing 2,4-D. Read and follow label directions for best results and to avoid doing damage to desirable trees and shrubs nearby.