I have never missed writing my column by a whole month before; however, due to the 4th of July I was lazy and thought I will do that next week. It never entered my mind what was about to take place and change our lives forever. My wife Patty had a car accident and 48 hours later had open-heart triple bypass surgery. Needless to say, my focus was on Patty and nothing or nobody else. Patty is home now.
While watering my pepper plants the other morning, I noticed the mulch moving around and I was curious what was going on. Living in the country one never knows what may be lurking in your garden. Much to my delight, the critter soon surfaced, first the eyes, then the tiny ears, and then the little noses and whiskers. Out popped two baby Cottontail rabbits. They were so cute and, of course, I had already stopped watering, so they immediately settled back into the mulch from which they came. I sure love living in the country.
I have finally solved the grasshopper problem. I have an eighteen-month-old Labrador retriever named Esther. Esther loves to catch and eat grasshoppers on our morning walks, and she is very proficient at removing the plant-eating little monsters. Unfortunately, there is only one of her and there are huge numbers of them. Now, if I only had several hundred Esthers I might get a handle on the situation. Just kidding, of course.
Another Fire ant solution
We all have read about it and I have been meaning to try it; however, as of this writing I have not tried it. My friend Linda Rogers of Oakalla fame says it works that she has tried it. The solution is that of pouring Club Soda down the ant mound. She swears that it works. Thanks, Linda, for a tip that works and that is easy. Any time you have other ideas we all want to hear them.
Duties Around the House and Garden
With all this dry heat you need to protect your home’s foundation. This is easily done by the use of soaker hoses. Just lay them out around the foundation and turn the water on and keep the soil moist. This will keep your foundation from moving when the soil conditions dry out; when the rains come again (and they will come again), turn the water off. You really don’t have to let the water run until it rains but you do need to keep the soil moist around your foundation.
Time to Prepare for Fall
If your squash plants are waning, then it is time to remove and till or turn under whatever is not producing (don’t till under the weeds if you have any). Then add a layer of compost approximately one inch thick and add some liquid molasses and other soil enhancers such as Lady Bug Soil Activator. We need to feed the microbes in the soil; this is sorta like giving your garden a big dessert after performing all summer. You know that life is short, so always eat dessert first.
Now that you have your garden clean and refreshed, you can begin to plant for Fall. Each of us have our favorites and you should always plant what you want to eat or want to share with others. Remember to rotate your crops, even in your garden, and you will have a healthier garden. If your tomatoes are finished producing (and most are), then you can cut them back down to about 12 inches, feed them and let them produce for you through the Fall. If your tomatoes were like mine and did not produce that good this year, then take them out and put in new tomato plants.
This time of year is when the nurseries put their plants on sale. To us gardeners, this is like the day after Christmas sales to everyone else. All those plants that you wanted to buy earlier but were not in the budget, now you can have them. Always have a place for a plant before you buy or you will have a big nursery, as do I, to hold those plants that I did not think ahead about and just bought.
Till Next Month!
Keep your souls and your soles in your garden! Remember the TrueMaster Gardener: Jesus said, “I am the vine; my Father is the Gardener.” John 15:1
Have questions or comments? Contact Bill Luedecke at The Luedecke Group Realtors, P.O. Box 1632, Bertram, TX. 78605 (no Post Office in Oatmeal) or email email@example.com. For additional gardening web sites, go to his web site at www.TexasLand.Net and click on links.