By Jannie Vaught
Texas with its hot and steamy days.
There aren’t many of us who just can’t seem to face another hot day. We start watering at dawn, weed and tend till were exhausted, rest, water ourselves and then attempt another go in the evening. And we have a month to go. Time to readjust the sun hat wet the neck handkerchief and get going. Let’s go to one of my favorite internet sites Central Texas Gardener. They have a very good To-Do List for us here in Central Texas. As well as Youtube shows that cover everything you are wanting information on. Even some cooking spots, Top of their list is Not a good time to plant! Too Hot Too Dry.
So keep those transplants ready to go or have Shade Cloth at 30% to cover them, Not lay on them but use hoops to keep it off of them. So far I have left some dried trellis green bean material on the big arched trellis to use as shade, there are no bugs on them as they are dry. Crispy dry. And seem to be making shade for new in-ground planted black-eyed peas. But they are wilting severely by noon, so it is a real challenge. I have 4 flats of indoor starts of cabbage, cauliflower broccoli and lettuce in the house under lights for secession planting when they are ready and hardened off it will be a good 6 weeks till they are close to ready and it hopefully cools down and rains. But in the meantime I’m still pulling out old plants, deadheading flowers, saving seeds, and cutting back tomatoes to 1/3, and I’m placing the cut tops into 5 gallon buckets of water under a shade tree with a dab of Tomato Tone organic fertilize very dilute like 1 tsp per bucket and see if I can get them to root and re-plant into large buckets or 5 gallon pots for late fall early winter growing. We’ll see how it goes.
If your existing tomatoes are showing yellowing or aphid damage, feed with a dilute seaweed as the heat will lock the calcium up in the soil and blossom end rot shows but it may only be the first few tomatoes and will pass after that. Pay attention to how deep your watering is going. dig down and if only the top part is wet the roots are dry and showing stress, water slowly so it goes deep if you’re in raised beds water to the bottom of the bed not running out of the bottom your washing all your minerals out. This time of year the soils are depleted from watering, plant growth, they take a lot to produce and heat, you need to replace 2 to 4 inches of good organic compost twice a year late summer early fall and late winter early spring. As weather permits. Lets have a look at grasshoppers and what to do, At the Central Texas Gardener site there is good information about organic control have a look, they are very specific about the products to use, how to read the label, it needs to be kept cool, and application timing, I used Nolo a few years ago and it did the job, Bu this year I’ve had some grasshoppers holes in the ground where they lay eggs and am applying strong vinegar down the holes and will be applying more Nolo bate or Semaspore, when you see the nymphs. Be diligent in following the directions, so you’ll get good results.
My small flock of hens are grasshopper eaters. They jump and catch and then run so the others don’t steal their grasshopper goodie treat. Yuck! They love ’em and I’m glad they do. Aphids can be sprayed off with a strong water sprayer, trimmed back and discarded in the big trash no compost these unless your compost is very hot to kill all larva and pathogens. Now to another issue lawn care. People want to pour high nitrogen fertilizer on their lawn due to the brown and patchiness. This is the overuse of fertilizer and mowing to the soil, and if you take a moment and look at the serious situation of fertilizer waste that runs off our property and eventually goes into our waterways and then on the gulf you will see we are participants in this huge Dead Zone in the gulf. We think it’s just my little yard no harm! But add all these together and you get Agricultural waste as toxic poison accumulated and heading to a water source and contamination. So Stop! Think! Wait! Is it worth the killing of the gulf I say no and here’s what we can do? Mow on the highest mower level, The grass is somewhat dormant now and will return. Mowing down to the soil will heat up the soil and result in soil depletion of microbes and all living creatures, worms and tiny good creatures you want in your soils. The Web of Life. Another reason to keep grass high in in these hot days is weed seeds, by mowing low they are exposed and will grow when the rain comes, so keep the grass taller only remove the top 1/3 and let off the fertilizer. We need our gulf to be restored and every little yard that stops over-fertilizing the more of a chance our water and rivers can restore.
Allow it to happen, work with nature not against and yes the cooler days will arrive with rain.
Growing with green Jannie