Summer heat is arriving with its usual ferocity. Some plants may be suffering from it– as well as some of us. That’s no reason to stop our favorite pastime. Here are some helpful hints to prepare for the coming dog days.
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.
If you’re planning for a late summer garden, you might want to look at the following: okra, southern peas (crowder, black-eyed, purple hull, zipper cream), watermelon, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, eggplant, peppers, and pumpkin
Our job is not only to manage our gardens but to manage the organisms that benefit our gardens. Mass and indiscriminate spraying of pesticides kill not only the ubiquitous stink bugs but also bees, ladybugs, praying mantids, and other beneficial insect predators.
I was proud of my work, and my wife, who has forbidden me to use any electric tools to cut, shape, or build anything, under pain of bodily harm, actually approved of my handiwork. (I secretly used a circular saw to cut the PVC, but what she doesn’t know won’t hurt me – unless she reads this post or one of you tells her about it. Please be discreet.)
The temptation to put plants in the ground before March is sometimes overwhelming, so anxious are we to begin our spring garden. Late unexpected frosts around the end of February can lead to disaster for tender seedlings, even if they have been hardened off.
Believe it or not, fall is the best vegetable growing season along the Gulf Coast. Snap beans, all the brassica, Swiss Chard, Cucumbers, potatoes, squash (summer and winter), tomatoes and turnips can be put in now or shortly. Others like carrots, beets, garlic, lettuce, mustard, onions, parsley, radishes, spinach and turnips can wait until November.
In a few weeks, slightly cooler weather will be arriving along the upper Gulf Coast. Now’s the time to get your garden ready for fall crops.
Don’t know why they’re called “southern” peas. Does that mean that only people in the south eat them? They’re also called “cowpeas”, because they were also used as cattle feed. However, give me a plate of purple hulls cooked down with some bacon and onions (and a little jalapeno thrown in for good measure), add a pork chop and some fresh tomatoes, and I’m in heaven. I’ve been known to make a meal out of purple hulls and bread. And crowder peas are my absolute favorite.
The USDA tells us that the “average” date of the last frost here is around February 27. It also reports that we are “almost” assured that we will receive no frost between March 20 and November 1, making the frost-free growing season around 270 days.