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9:00 am to 5:00 pm Mon-Sat
10:00 am to 5:00 pm Sunday

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9:00 am to 6:00 pm Mon-Sat
10:00 am to 6:00 pm Sunday

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Maas Nursery

A Place for Quiet

 

By: Kim Messer Nichols

 

        As summer slowly winds down, it is a good time to plan and create a quiet spot in your yard to sit and relax from a hectic day or week.  The upcoming cooler weather will make an evening in your garden both peaceful and refreshing.  I have flowering plants and shrubs in my landscape as well as hanging baskets hanging from long chains from our Oak Trees.  I have plants which bloom for several days to weeks that attract butterflies and bees.  Pentas, Salvias, Lantana, Porter Weed are wonderful nectar plants for the bees and butterflies.  Milkweed, Fennel, Cassia and Passion Vines are host plants for butterfly caterpillars. I consider these plants to be my daytime standouts.

 

        Some people do not know that you may have nighttime standouts as well.  I have two upright Night Blooming Cereus.  They are slightly different varieties which open about 10:30 at night with quite a spectacular display.  The large bud, about 3 to 4 inches will pop open in about 5 to 10 seconds.  It will only last for the night and will start closing just after sunrise. I also have a night blooming Epiphyllum Cactus which is in the Orchid family.  It will also pop open around 10:30 and produce a very fragrant bloom until sunrise.  I usually have to catch them in early morning before sunrise.  What a great way to start the day.But I must admit,  my most favorite night bloomer, is my Night Blooming Jasmine.  Tiny white tubular flowers will burst open with fragrance once the sun sets.  Not at dusk, but once darkness envelopes the yard, the Jasmine flowers shoot fragrance out like a bellows creating a heady cloaking fragrance.  It is really quite spectacular.  What a great way to end the day.
        So pull up a chair and enjoy your garden.  Cooler weather makes morning, afternoon and evening all equally enjoyable.  A bird, bee and butterfly friendly environment will be a joy to all who take the time to sit and enjoy the view.

 

Night Blooming Cereus
Epiphyllum Cactus

Planting for Fall

By: Jennifer Gregory
Summer may still be scorching us, but September is just around the corner and with it the optimal time to plant many of the seeds for fall and winter gardens. Prior to planting seeds make yourself a check list of products that will increase your propagation, yield and over all health of your crops.
* Mycorrhizal inoculants: Including Mycogro, or Microlife. These products contain an
beneficial fungi that colonize the roots of plants and increase their water and nutrient absorption capabilities.

* Fish Emulsion: An all natural and organic liquid fertilizer that is easily and readily absorbed when used as a foliar spray.

* Organic Pest/Affliction Control: These products can vary based on the issue and the crop, but a good general purpose such as Neem Oil will go far in treating most insect or fungal based ailments.

Onward to the seeds! September is a great month for starting your garden from seed. At the start of the month you’ll want to plant Cucumber, and winter Squash.

 October sees an explosion in the number of types of seeds we can plant in this region. Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Kohlrabi, and Potatoes should be planted in the first half of the month. Chard, and Collards in the middle of the month.
This is also the start of the period to plant annuals for spring color! From October to December you can plant Alyssum, Asters, Bluebonnets*, Calendula, Dianthus, Flowering Cabbage and Kale, Pansies, Petunias, Phlox, Shasta Daises, Snapdragons, Stock and Violas.
*Sow Bluebonnets no later than November for spring flowers.
November brings root vegetables, Beets, Garlic, Carrots. Lettuce should also be sown during this month.

December wraps up winter planting with Mustard, Onion, Radish, Spinach and Turnips.

Growing from seed takes more patience, but in the end the pride one feels seeing something you started from a packet become a hardy and healthy plant is beyond compare.

-Happy Planting!-

Gardening for Hummingbirds

By: Kathryn Courtney

Well, we have survived a Biblical flood as Mayor Sylvester Turner says. So many of us are still out of our homes or are cleaning up the aftermath. We’re tired, cranky and generally on edge. What can we do to relieve some of this stress and frustration? Jim is having Prayer in the Garden this Saturday, September 2. That will definitely help. Sitting outside in the sun today helped me tremendously. So many birds, butterflies and moths, lizards and other critters were out in the sun too, celebrating the end of the rain. Soon, we will have our hummingbird migration throughout the Gulf Coast. At last, something to look forward to!

To be ready for the hummingbirds when they reach your yard you need several things. First is a chemical free, safe environment. Garden organically for the wildlife in your backyard. Do this not only for the health of the hummingbirds but also for the welfare of your kids, your pets and yourself. It’s very easy and in the long run, very rewarding. Hummingbirds need places to rest and nest. Provide them cover in the form of bushes and small trees. The hummingbirds in my backyard particularly love my climbing roses. They perch on the branches and build nests in the brambles. Also provide a source

Fire bush

of water for these birds. They prefer running water. I have found bubblers or small solar fountains floating in a regular birdbath work great. If you have a fountain in your yard, that’s great too. Make sure there is a place for the birds to perch or land that is shallow. This gives the hummingbirds access to the water.

Now, on to my favorite part. The plants. You can use feeders if you want but I like to grow the plants hummingbirds prefer. If you use feeders, make sure they are always clean. Also use a hummingbird safe food. Never put red dye in your hummingbird food. Plants are just easier to grow and you never have to worry about organic plants being safe. You can learn all of this in our Hummingbird Class on Saturday, September 23.
Salvia

Hummingbirds have developed a long narrow beak and a proboscis (like a tongue) to get nectar out of tubular shaped flowers. They also prefer the colors red and purple. This gives you a very long list of plants to pick from. The most popular hummingbird plant is actually called hummingbird bush, fire bush or hamelia. I have seen these bushes in many yards. Some get quite large but

Dwarf Esperanza

there are also dwarf varieties. Other plants that come to mind are flame acanthus, firecracker fern, any type of red or purple salvia, porterweed, liatris, red shrimp plant, beebalm and so many more. There are a few vines that hummingbirds love. Honeysuckle and crossvine are two favorites. Make sure you have a large area if you want to plant these. You will have lots of hummingbirds but also lots of vine. There are new domestic varieties that are much tamer than the

Crossvine

natives. If you look at pictures of all these plants you can see a trend. All of them have tubular flowers and they are all red, red-orange or purple. Most any flower that fits this description will be a hummingbird plant. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center has a great website: www.wildflower.org . They have lists of all the plants and also which ones are native if that’s important to you. All of us at the nursery have some hummingbird knowledge. If you have a question, ask us. If we don’t know the answer we can find it for you.

It’s time to get out of the house! Enough with the rain and the flood. Even though it’s still squishy, let’s all try to get outside in our gardens and get ready for the hummingbirds.

Let’s Talk About September 2017

By: Pat Cordray

 

Just when you think that you can’t take another August day, along comes September.  Granted, the heat is still here but it is a teensy bit cooler.  Any improvement, in the hot weather is much appreciated. But really September is just a “stepping stone” to October when the temperatures are a little more pleasant.  In the garden, vegetable growing expands, changing out our summer color for fall color begins, planting flower seeds for spring blooming wildflowers starts as the weather cools, and it is time for the fall bulbs to start arriving in the garden center. Plus, hummingbirds, hummingbirds, hummingbirds! Keep on the lookout for hummingbirds!  Even with the hot temperatures September is a great gardening month.

Last month, we planted tomatoes and peppers.  This month we need to move on to our other fall vegetables.  Vegetables like: beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, collards,

Swiss Chard and Marigolds

cucumbers, mustard greens, squash, Swiss chard and turnips.  My, how the list has grown from last month.  If you want to garden in the best possible weather, this is it.

Fall color is on its way, with lobelia, snapdragon, marigold, dianthus, celosia, chrysanthemum, alyssum, calendula, petunia and stock showing up during the month of September. This is an excellent time to change out summer color for new fall color.
These plants will bloom over the next few months giving your garden and containers a fresh new look.  Leave room for more fall plants as they become available in the next few weeks.

Toward the end of the month and into October, or as the weather cools. We can start planting wildflowers and other spring blooming flowers from seed. Pick bluebonnet, Indian paintbrush, coreopsis, larkspur, gaillardia, purple coneflower, gaura and black eyed Susans to grow from seed.  Plant your seed in a well-draining raised bed with lots of sun.  Spread your seeds in the bed and cover with about 1/8 inch of soil.  To make sure that the seeds make good contact with the soil, press down firmly on the soil where the seeds are planted.  Water gently and keep the soil moist.   Mix these seeds with plants in your ornamental garden or grow in wildflower beds.  Either way they will be beautiful.

Bluebonnet
Larkspur
Coneflower

Fall bulbs will be in this month.  We are expecting narcissus, tulips, ranunculus, hyacinths, callas and leucojum bulbs about mid-September. This year we will have a new pink tulip called Don Quichotte, I’m looking forward to seeing the blooms.  The narcissus included on this shipment will be Ice Follies, Red Devon, Skype (new, white with an apricot trumpet), Lemon Beauty, Apricot Whirl, Erlicheer, Tahiti, and Pipit.   There will also be Delft Blue hyacinths, mixed Ranunculus, Leucojum Aestivum (Summer Snowflake) and Calla Aethiopica(White Giant Calla Lily).  This is just the beginning with Amaryllis arriving in October.  Bulbs can add so much vibrant color to your garden when most everything else is dormant.

 

Hummingbirds should be out and about in September and on into October.  Planting for hummingbirds is a great way to invite them to visit your garden. Plants like flame acanthus, fire bush, firecracker fern, salvias, trumpet creeper, bee balm, purple coneflower, Turk’s cap and cigar plant are a few nectar plants to consider.  Feeders are a great way to supplement the nectar plants you have in your garden.  Keep your feeders clean and full to ensure that the birds that rely on them won’t go hungry.  Hummingbirds also eat insects, so don’t use chemicals in your garden to keep them safe.  Make water accessible to them by providing a shallow water pan or saucer and adding pebbles. A mister, to spray water on leaves, is another way to provide water.
Enjoy your garden,
Pat

Just Add Water

By: Kim Messer
        There are so many ways to add water to your yard.  It may be as simple as adding a bird bath.  We have a bird bath in a corner of the yard.  It is a water source for birds, bees and squirrels.  We refill it daily this time of the year.  Birds drink and bathe in the fresh water.  They usually stay awhile and fluff out their wings to dry before flying off.  The song birds passing through are really social little birds.  The Wrens will visit the bird bath in little bird packs of ten or twelve birds.  They bathe and then dry themselves in the sand rubbing their bellies and chirping.
        We also have a three tiered fountain.  The water flow provides a soothing sound for us and another water source for creatures visiting the yard.  It also seems to be a nice place for lizards to hang around.  The fountain rarely needs to be cleaned, and that just means scooping out the leaves and changing out the water.  The sediment rich water is great for your nearby plants.
        Here at the Nursery, we have an above ground lily pond.  The plants help filter the water for the fish inside.  It is quite a relaxing spot.  The Lotus Flowers rise up  from the murky bottom to open clean and fresh to greet the day.  They are certainly beautiful and deserve a second glance.
        There are so many ways to add water to your yard.  Just a little effort may bring great rewards… Enjoy your yard and share some water!

The Good, The Bad and the Buggy

The Good, The Bad and The Buggy
By: Jennifer Gregory
They wriggle and creep through the undersides of leaves, looking for their next meal. They eat, hunt, and grow until one day they transform. Weeks pass and a new life splits forth, spreading wings out to dry as it’s carapace develops color and hardens. These voracious predators take to the sky and descend where they see their chosen prey.
This Summer, Coming to a Garden Near You! Ladybugs!
The Terror of the Aphid!
Ladybird beetles, commonly known as Ladybugs are a brightly colored beetle whose iconic red with black spots pattern is instantly recognizable. What is less easy to recognize are their larvae.
ladybug larva
This fearsome looking fellow is the larvae of a ladybug. This is one from about the middle of it’s development. The younger larvae are solid black and the older larvae can show more orange mottling with a marked decrease in the “spikes” covering them.
ladybug larva
When a ladybug is about to mature from a larvae to an adult it will form a pupa. The pupa looks more like a mature ladybug, however, once the insect crawls free of it, it will still not bear much of a resemblance to the final mature form. While the beetle’s shell is hardening it will be a creamy yellow-orange color, and totally free of spots. Once mature the newly hatched ladybug will be the familiar red hue with black spots.
If you have aphids you probably have ladybugs, be sure to check any plants prior to treating them so you’re not taking the good out with the bad!

Time for Fall Veggies

By: Kathryn Courtney

It’s very hot. I just went outside for 5 minutes and that was too much. It’s not terrible in the shade though, so sitting on my porch is still doable. I miss my gardening. Watering things just to keep them alive is not very satisfying. Just when it seems like there’s no hope, along comes fall vegetable gardening season. We are very lucky here on the gulf coast. We have 2 gardening seasons and if you start early enough, planting with seeds is the way to go.

   Plant a second crop of spring vegetables by choosing short season varieties. Bush green beans, cherry tomatoes, small cucumbers and short season summer squash are just some of the seeds you can start now for an extra crop during early fall. Look at the seed packets to find the varieties with the shortest time to maturity. This will give you a better chance of having more to harvest before temperatures get too cold. I especially like to do squash and green beans in the fall because the pests and mildew that plague the garden in spring are not as bad in late summer. Give your seedlings extra water and some shade if you can during August as the temperatures are very hot. As your plants mature, the temperatures will slowly drop allowing for your plants to flourish and provide a good harvest. I start my cherry tomatoes in Ladybug seed germination mix on my porch. This gives the seedlings some shade and protection from the worst heat. Healthy Harvest fertilizer contains actinovate which fights damping off of your seedlings. Sprinkle a little on top of your seeds before you water them. Squash, bush beans and short season cucumbers go directly in the ground. I sprinkle a half inch layer of seed starting mix or worm castings on top of the ground where the seeds will be planted. This helps the seeds germinate and the roots can get established directly in the ground. If you have a mist setting on your watering wand use it for your seeds. The soft spray will not disturb the fragile roots that are just getting established.

 

   Now for the cold weather crops. Root crop seeds can be planted now. These veggies don’t transplant

Easter Egg Radishes

very well so plant them directly in the ground or container where you want them to grow. Carrots, beets, onion seeds, turnips and radishes are good root crops to start now. Radishes take no time at all to mature making them a great veggie to plant with kids. Plus there is the fun of getting to pull them out of the ground. There are many brassica vegetables to start now. Broccoli, cauliflower, collards, kale, kohlrabi, and cabbage are just

Romanesco Broccoli

a few. The fun of doing this type of vegetable from seed is the variety. There are the regular varieties and then there are some with great different shapes and colors. Romanesco broccoli, purple cauliflower and kohlrabi and frilly kale are some of the different varieties to grow. Germinate these seeds in a kitchen window or on the porch away from the hot sun. If the seedlings get too hot the vegetables can turn bitter. Greens are my favorite fall veggie. Fresh spinach is very hard to beat. Heat tolerant varieties of lettuce and spinach don’t mind the cold either, so you can expect to be harvesting until spring or early summer of next year. Mustard greens, endives, arugula, swiss chard and different greens mixes are only a few of the choices available. The diversity of the greens family is amazing. I start

Swiss Chard

my greens seeds where they are going to grow. I love growing greens in containers for ease and for decoration. Greens planted in a container can be as beautiful as any flower. Try one of the chards such as bright lights on your front porch. Your neighbors will be jealous.

 

Get your fall garden seeds started now. Don’t miss the fall gardening season!

 

Tomatoes

By: Deb Pavlosky
Tomatoes are quite the controversial vegetable. Educated people have debated their classification in the US since the late 1800’s. Vegetables or fruits, what do you think? The biologist in me finds the answer to be undeniable. Tomatoes are very clearly (drum roll here) FRUITS. The very definition of a fruit is, and I quote from my desktop Scientific dictionary, ‘the ripened ovary of a seed plant and its contents.’ That is exactly what a tomato is my friends. So, why ARE tomatoes classified as vegetables? The 1893 US Supreme Court classified tomatoes as vegetables so that they could be taxed under the 1883 Tariff Act (10% duty on whole vegetables). Now, it all makes sense – right?  Interested?
I bet you all are wondering where the useful tomato planting information is.  Here ya go:
Tomatoes require full or part Sun (though most say they require full sun or 6 hours of direct sunlight) and lots of water to grow well.
You can plant tomatoes in the ground or grow them in containers. You should carefully consider the height of your tomato plant and the size of your container before planting.
Bury young tomato plants deeper than the container you buy them in. You can even leave just the few top leaves above the ground. Tomatoes are able to develop roots all along their stems, so this helps create a strong tomato plant. You can also dig a hole wider than it is deep to accommodate a tomato plant lying on its side. The plant will grow up toward the sun and straighten itself out.
Tomato plants definitely need fertilizer and if you plan to eat them (why would you grow them if you didn’t?) we recommend an organic fertilizer like Microlife. During heavy fruit production, apply Microlife more frequently. Lots of folks have their own magical tomato fertilizer concoctions. Just remember, fruits are what they eat. What? In other words, if you use stinky fertilizers, your fruit can sometimes take on that flavor. Yuck.
Hold off on mulching tomato plants until the summer heat really starts to cause a problem with moisture for your tomatoes. You want the soil to “heat” start your tomato plants – they like it hot!
Tomato plants can be determinate (bears all fruit at one time) or indeterminate (bears fruit through the whole growing season). Determinate tomato plants will stop growing when they start bearing fruit.   Indeterminate tomato plants can continue to grow as they produce fruit through the whole season.
Caging tomatoes is important.  Some tomato fruits are HEAVY. The largest recorded was over 7lbs. Yours probably won’t grow to the size of a cantaloupe, but you never know. So, use a cage from the very beginning. The tomato plant will appreciate the assistance and could possibly bear more fruit if supported.
You can remove the bottom leaves off a tomato plant once the whole plant gets pretty close to its normal height. These leaves get very little sun and are usually the ones to start fungal issues for the entire plant. You can also thin the leaves to allow more sun to reach the tomatoes, but remember, the plant needs leaves for photosynthesis.  Lastly, you can remove the small growths that pop up between branches. These won’t bear fruit and just take energy away from growth or fruit production.
Just a few of the cultivars Maas Nursery will likely carry this year:
BigBeef:  ht.8-10′, Medium fruit, 69-80 days to maturity, indeterminate (good for fresh slicing, canning)
BrandywineHeirloom:  ht.3-9′, Large fruit, 90 days to maturity, indeterminate (good for fresh slicing, seeds can be stored if properly cleaned)
Celebrity:  ht. 2-3′, Medium fruit, 69-80 days to maturity, determinate (good for fresh slicing, canning, drying)
Glory:ht. 6-8′, Medium fruit, 69-80 days to maturity, indeterminate (good for fresh slicing)
PurpleCalabash: ht. 4-6′, Medium, PURPLE fruit, 69-80 days to maturity, indeterminate (good for fresh slicing, seeds can be stored if properly cleaned)
SunLeaper:  ht.4-6′, Medium fruit, 69-80 days to maturity, determinate (good for fresh slicing)
SweetMillion: ht. 4-6′, Small fruit, 55-68 days to maturity, indeterminate (good for eating fresh)
VivaItalia: ht. 4-6′, Medium, plum-shaped fruit, 69-80 days to maturity, determinate (excellent for sauces and canning)
GOSH! And that’s just a few…
I am always intrigued to find out about the brave souls who first ate those exotic and interesting foods that came from far away.  We should pay homage to those who did not make a wise choice (moment of silence here). It is rumored that Mr. Robert Gibbon Johnson did us all a favor when he ate an entire basket full of bright red delicacies brought over to New Jersey from Europe in the early 1800s.  Folklore says he did it just to prove to the crowds the tomato fruits weren’t poisonous.  Good thing he didn’t eat any of the leaves!

Let’s Talk about August 2017

By: Pat Cordray

Julep in the shade

Whew, we are now in the midst of the dog days of summer. It’s just hot, hot, hot! Believe it or not, August is the start of fall vegetable gardening. You’re thinking, no way it’s not time for that. It’s just too hot. Fall weather doesn’t start around here until maybe late September or so. True, but if you start in August, you can grow so much more. Vegetables aren’t all that you can grow this time of the year, but that is where we are starting.

The main ingredients for growing vegetables are the plants or seeds, sun, soil, and water. Just imagine eating vegetables that you have grown yourself in your own yard. It’ll be great and it’s super easy!
Do you want to use transplants or seeds? Choose the right plants for the season and also choose vegetables that you like to eat. Don’t over plant, this crowds your vegetables, give them plenty of room for good production and air flow. Plant larger growing vegetable plants on the north side of the garden so they won’t block the sun from the smaller growing plants. Using seeds? Kathryn is going to cover growing vegetables from seed in her article this month, so check it out. I’ll add my favorite tips for seed growing. Before you open the seed packet, check the planting instructions for that vegetable and follow the instructions. Once you open your seed packet, check your seeds to make sure they are not broken, broken seeds will not germinate. Don’t store your seeds in the car, it is too hot. I love to use MycoStim any time I plant and that includes when I plant seeds. I use a hoe handle to make my row, then I place my seeds in the row with the appropriate amount of space between the seeds, remember, more is not always better.   Then, I put my MycoStim in an unused laundry measuring cup. I put a little MycoStim on my seeds and then finish planting. Water gently, don’t use the jet option on your hose end sprayer, that will just wash your seeds away. The MycoStim helps with root growth, transplant shock and stress resistance.
Growing your vegetables from transplants is easy. Again, choose the right vegetable plants for the season, pick what you want to eat. Don’t get too many, it is very tempting
but there is usually a limit to the size of the garden. When the garden is ready and the time is right, gently take the transplant out of its container. Put MycoStim on the root ball. Then Plant. Plant most transplants in the garden at the same level they were in the original container, tomatoes can be planted deeper. Plant on a cloudy day or in the evening to protect transplants from the sun.
For fall plants think leafy greens, root crops, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.

Mustard Greens with Nasturtiums 
Kale

Here is a guide to help you pick what to grow and when to plant:

When to Plant Fall and Winter Vegetables
Vegetable
Seed/Transplant
When to Plant
Beans, Bush
Seed
September
Beans, Lima
Seed
Mid-August – September
Beets
Seed
September – Mid-October
Broccoli
Transplant
September – January
Brussels Sprouts
Transplant
September – January
Cabbage
Seed
August – November
Cabbage
Transplant
*September – November
Carrots
Seed
September – November
Cauliflower
Transplant
September – January
Collards
Seed
September – December1
Collards
Transplant
September – January
Cucumber
Transplant
September – January
Garlic
Clove
Late September –
Mid November
Kohlrabi
Transplant
Mid-September – November
Leek
Seed or Transplant
October – November
Lettuce, Leaf
Seed or Transplant
Late September – December
Mustard Green
Seed or Transplant
September – November
Onion
Transplant
*November
Peas, snap
Seed
Late September-October
January – Early February
Peas, Southern
Seed
August 1 – late August
Potatoes Irish
Seed Potatoes
mid- August – late August
*February
Radicchio
Seed
Late September – October
Spinach
Seed or Transplant
October – November
Squash, summer
Transplant
Early September
Squash, winter
Seed or Transplant
Mid-August
Swiss Chard
Seed or Transplant
September – October
Tomatoes
Transplant
mid July – mid-August
Turnips
Seed
September – November
January – February
This list was taken from Kathy Huber’s article in the Houston Chronicle, Aug. 14, 2009, with a few adjustments made by *Lisa Gaige
Next up, look for the sun. Most vegetable plants are going to need at least 6 hours of full sun. Take a look around your yard and see if you have a spot that would work. Watch the area when it rains, does water stand? If it does, you might not want to plant in the ground there. Most plants, including vegetables, need good drainage. If it is the only spot that has adequate sun, you may consider doing a raised container garden. Raised container gardens are an easy way to grow vegetables. Put a couple of cinder blocks on the ground, to the height you want, then place your container on top. I have mine at a height that I can use a gardening chair to plant, weed and water, uh oh, my lazy gardener is showing. If you are going to plant in the ground, you will need to raise the garden at least 6 inches, more if you can afford to. This allows for good root space and drainage. The bed should be able to be tended without stepping into it. If you do a wide garden, add stepping stones so that you can get into your garden to maintain it without compacting the soil. If this is your first garden, don’t make it too large for you to maintain. Start small.
Soil, get the best soil you can. Good soil makes better vegetable plants and vegetables with fewer problems. If you can’t afford to raise your bed to the proper height at first, about 6 – 12″, you can always add soil to your garden each season until you get the height you need.
Water, is our next ingredient, for a good vegetable garden. Water your garden slowly over a longer period of time. I’ve noticed in my container garden that when I check the soil after I water, the soil on top is wet and the water is draining out of the drainage holes. The top couple of inches are wet but below the soil is very dry. Always check. Use your hand or a hand trowel and dig down a few inches to check. Once the soil is dry it is difficult to get it moist again. When you plant make sure the soil is moist, not muddy or dry. While you are watering, is the time to keep an eye on your plants. You are looking for signs of bugs, leaf or fruit damage. The sooner you take care of a problem in the garden the easier it will be to solve. Don’t forget to fertilize, we recommend Microlife. Microlife is an organic fertilizer that is not going to burn your plants.
That wasn’t so hard, was it?
August bonus!
Hummingbirds migrate through this area August – October. If you want them to visit your garden plant for them. Here are a few plants that attract hummingbirds: flame acanthus, hamelia, Texas Betony, Turk’s cap, shrimp plant, pineapple sage, firecracker fern, cigar plant. Get these plants in your garden now to help feed the hummers while they are here. If you use feeders, keep them full and clean. I love when hummingbirds visit my garden and I know you will love it too.
Enjoy your garden with a glass of iced tea!

Summertime Pest

By Kathryn Courtney
   It’s July. It’s Hot! This is a hard month for gardening. Not only does the weather try to kill us but the garden pests come out in hoards. Dealing with garden pests in the heat and humidity is not pleasant but it’s a task that needs to be done for a beautiful garden in September. I stroll through my garden in the evening when the heat is not so terrible. As I water I watch for the summer garden problems of mildew and insects.
Powdery Mildew

Mildew seems to be the number one problem in my garden this year. I made the classic gardeners mistake, I over planted. Not having enough airflow in and around your plants promotes molds, mildews and rust. All of these are huge problems for me right now. I finally waved the white flag and just pulled up my squash. Planting fungus resistant cultivars such as mildew resistant zinnias and Ashley cucumbers helped. Next spring, do some research to find good flowers and vegetables for the humid gulf coast. I have found that this step in garden planning prevents a lot of heartache later. If you have problems ask someone in the nursery for help. We google everything! To get rid of a fungus use an organic spray. We have several including Neem oil, Triple Action and Copper Fungicide. All of these need to be sprayed in the evening when the sun is going down. These are oil sprays and will burn your plants in the heat of the day. Make sure to spray the tops and bottoms of the leaves until the spray is dripping off the plant. This will ensure the whole plant is covered. Also, removing leaves that have fallen to the ground and sealing them in a plastic bag helps keep the fungus from spreading. I have thinned out some of my plants to allow better airflow and that seems to be helping. Black spot on roses begins to get really bad this time of year. Neem oil works best for this problem.

     Hot summer brings bugs of all kinds. Large and small, crawling and slithering, there is every kind

Leaf Footed Bug Larvae

of pest imaginable. For getting rid of the large pests use the pick and squish method. Be sure to use gloves to cut

Leaf Footed Bug or Stink Bug

down on the Ick factor. If you can’t bring yourself to squish, throwing the bugs in a bucket of soapy water is just as effective. I have used this method on leaf footed bugs and snails with good results. It also works great for tomato horn worms. Spraying the bugs with Neem oil or Triple Action works but this can only be done in the evening. For slugs and snails there is a bait called Sluggo that is very effective.

     The major bug problem in the summer seems to be the small bugs. Mealy bugs, spider mites, aphids, scale  and many others attack in the heat and humidity. Spider

Spider Mite Damage

mites are especially troublesome because they are too small to see. If you suspect spider mites, shake a leaf of the infected plant over a white piece of paper. Using a magnifying glass, look for little red spider looking bugs. If you find them you have spider mites. For these bug problems spraying is usually the only option. For everything but scale, Neem and Triple Action are good choices for getting rid of these small pests. Scale is harder to tackle. Scale bugs have hard outer shells that make killing them hard. A mixture of Neem and orange oil can work. The orange oil helps break down the shell so the Neem can get to the bug. These treatments need to be done weekly and all of

Scale

the undersides of the leaves must be sprayed. Most of the small insects are found on the under side of the leaf. If all else fails and the infected plants are not edible, the last resort is a systemic drench. Pouring the drench around the base of the plant so the systemic can reach the roots is how this insecticide works. The poison goes into the plant and kills anything living on the stems and leaves. This really needs to be a last resort because these pesticides are bad for you and the environment.

     I know it’s hot and I know it’s hard, but keeping up with the summertime pests is important for the health of your garden. Keeping an eye on the garden in the evening is something we all can do. The reward is a beautiful fall garden and healthy summer  plants.