Release date: May 10, 2013
When have we ever had such days in May? Cool days, hard winds, little rain (give or take an inch or two). And the effect these topsy-turvy weather patterns have on one’s lawn and garden are visible from the looks of the plants and the yields that aren’t coming from early planting. If you are lucky and still had cool weather crops in your vegetable beds, they might be having a continued life, with lettuces not bolting, for example. But your warm weather vegetables, like the cucumbers, could be in a holding pattern, waiting for their feet to thaw.
Now’s the time for sowing the summer crops, those that love our hot Texas weather. Okra, black-eyed peas and purple hulls, the melons, and the fall/winter squashes can be planted safely when the days are consistently warmer. New plants always need water to establish, so keep that in mind when you set either seeds or plants into your vegetable or flower beds. Flowers that can take the heat include impatiens and vinca (periwinkle); the vinca likes the sun while the impatiens prefers shade, so if you like the look of these similar plants, keep that in mind. Zinnias and the salvias are very heat tolerant.
If you have some antique roses that don’t bloom throughout the summer, you can prune them safely, now that their spring show is winding down. You want to get it done before they set their fall buds (as you do with all the late-spring flowering shrubs).
Blackberries set their fruit on one-year old canes, so as they send out new shoots this year, pinch the strong shoots back some to get more branching and fuit. Blueberries are setting fruit now, and netting over the bushes will keep those hungry mockingbirds away until you can get to the plump ripe berries yourself. Loquats have just about finished their fruiting, but the peach and fig crops are arriving soon; keep an eye on all these fruiting bushes and trees for signs of possible insect arrivals. It’s much easier to get them when they are few and far between than to resort to going nuclear when they have taken over the tree (and the fruit). And remember: a healthy plant is much better able to resist disease and insects; fertilizing the fruit plants at the right time, and providing them with adequate water in our hot summers will go a long way to provide that resistance.
Lawn care moves into high gear right now; consider yourself reminded to keep the mower blades sharp! Dull blades can make your lawn look like a bad day at the barber, and if they tear badly, can leave an area open to opportunistic diseases. Keep your weed eaters away from the trunks of the trees, especially the young tender ones. Weed eater damage can kill a young tree in seconds, stripping it of its bark at a very critical time. Use a thick circle of mulch around the new trees instead, to prohibit the growth of the grass next to the trunks.
As always, contact the Chambers County Agri-Life Extension Office at White’s Park for help with issues in your lawn and garden.
Contact: A. Lynette Parsons, 409-550-3065
– Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.