November Garden Chores

Now is a great time to plant bulbs for spring blooms.  Some include: paperwhites, Spanish bluebells, tulips, yellow spider lilies, Chinese ground orchid, Byzantine gladiolus, Bearded irises, daylilies, oxalis, rain lilies, spider lilies, Louisiana iris, and African iris.

Is Late October – Early November too late to plant Brassicas in Gulf Coast gardens?

For cabbage, days to harvest from the time we plant the seedlings are around 90 days. Brussels sprouts take between 90-100 days, and broccoli takes between 60 to 80 days. The difference in the time spreads indicates different varieties. So, if planted now, none will be mature before the first frost.

September Gardening Chores

Hooray. August is finally gone and it’s now time to start thinking about September gardening chores. Not that the hot and dry days are gone – we’ll probably be experiencing more of them during this month. But the good news is that we can start planting some vegetables.

Invasion of the Cicadas

Thankfully the large numbers of cicadas aren’t coming to the Gulf Coast. The only thing we get here is the annual or “dog-day cicadas,” called that because of their emergence every year during the dog days of summer, although all cicadas, whether Brood or Dog-day, emerge in the summer.

The march of the cicada killers

Cicadas are emerging from their almost two-decade sleep and cicada killers will not be far behind. Compared to most insects in North America, the cicada killer is gigantic. The body can be two inches long, and the extended wingspan three to four inches long. It can be terrifying as it zips around the yard, dipping this way and that, looking for its prey, strongly resembling a giant, angry hornet.

What the Heck is pH?

pH is an abbreviation for “power of hydrogen” where “p” is short for the German word for power (potenz), and H is the element symbol for hydrogen. Why a Danish scientist used a German word is Greek to me, but he was a scientist, and I’m not, so I’ll just go with the flow. The H is capitalized because it is standard to capitalize element symbols. So now you understand about as much as I do.

Your Lawn Loves Low Nitrogen Fertilizer

Your lawn loves low nitrogen (N), low phosphorus (P), and low potassium (K) fertilizer. It also likes organic fertilizer or urea-based fertilizers, not nitrate-based fertilizers. Why? Well, let’s look at the nature of lawns, especially warm-season grasses like St. Augustine, Bermuda, and Zoysia.

Gardening Chores For February

It’s February, and just one more month until spring here on the Gulf Coast. Although it hasn’t been a very cold winter, most of us gardeners are excited to plant our tomatoes come the first week in March (I hope), as well as enjoy all our spring-bloomers that we planted in the fall.

Try “No-Till” in your vegetable garden

Soil scientists now realize that tilling interferes with the soil’s complicated relationship and the micro-organisms that keep the ground healthy and productive. Tilling also compacts the soil, brings long-dormant weed seeds to the surface sale, and adds to erosion.

November in the Garden

La Nina is messing with our weather again. The National Weather Service reports above normal temperatures and below normal precipitation in our area and most of the U.S. for November, December and January. Being forewarned is being forearmed. You might want to consider installing drip irrigation for your vegetables and your ornamental

Cowpeas? Southern Peas? Or Just good eating?

As a legume, they put a considerable supply of nitrogen back into the soil. That makes these peas an excellent rotation crop to plant between spring and fall gardens. Drought-resistance and low water requirements make it an ideal crop for our hot Gulf Coast summers.

Do you know where your garden seeds come from?

Bayer now controls the seed for 55 percent of the lettuce, 75% of the tomatoes, and 85 percent of the peppers in U.S. groceries. The company also holds a significant portion of the markets on beans, cucumbers, squash, melons, broccoli, cabbage, spinach, and peas. Interesting food for thought, not so interesting for our bodies and health.

Soil-The Living Layer of Earth

All these creatures and entities are involved in the tremendous work of decomposing everything in their sight, and reducing these to their basic elements of carbon, nitrogen and other necessary nutrients into a material that plant roots can take up and provide to the rest of the plant.

Which turf grass is best

here are over 5,000,000 acres of turf grass grown along the Gulf Coast. All are warm-season turf grass, each with its own characteristics and its own pros and cons. Others, like buffalo grass – although considered a warm-season grass – do not do well in Gulf Coast lawns. There are, however, three types of grass which grow reasonably well here.

The only garden tools you absolutely need to get the job done.

I’ve got a lot of gardening tools. Hand rakes, and four of five different shovels and spades, several types of pruners, a couple of pruning saws, as well as a bow crosscut, three or four hoes, some long- and short- handle weeders, dibbles, a ton of hand tools, and a plethora of other instruments.

Beware the attack of the winter lawn weeds

But weeds are ornery and persistent. Even in the most well-cared-for lawn, it’s probable that a few plantains and thistles are going to pop up. While “manufactured” herbicides may not be the best choice, there are a few products available to the environmentally conscious homeowner.

Soil types along the upper Gulf Coast

Covering over 3 million acres and extending from Mexico through Louisiana. Just at sea level or a couple of feet above, it also contains areas of salt-water marsh and drainage is slow. The water table is either at or just below the surface. Used mostly for cattle grazing, or wetland wildlife refuges, residents have developed wonderfully bountiful gardens by amending soils.