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IN THE GARDEN: Prepping for the fall

It's time to get your gardens ready for the fall.

  • First and foremost: Mulch, mulch, and mulch.
  • We highly suggest NOT trimming your live oaks at this time. Generally, we have been in a period of extreme heat. The extreme heat dissuades the pests that will invade our live oaks when we trim or prune. The August heat is usually the time when pests that carry diseases are least active. However, because of the increased moisture and lower temperatures in June and July, we suggest not trimming or pruning live oaks.
  • In late August, apply fertilizer to your roses in which the nitrogen is readily available. Coffee grounds and sun tea have readily available nitrogen.
  • Save your home foundations. Depending on what type of soil you have, a soaker hose laid around the base of your home foundation will keep it stable and assist in keeping the cracks out of your home. Now, like the brisket bought home from the grocery store and placed in the oven, the oven needs to be turned on for it to cook. The soaker hoses need to be turned on as well.
  • If you have not started preparing your garden for the fall, then turn under or till under all the leftover crop (not the weeds). Add compost and soil enhancers such as Lady Bug Soil activator. Once you have accomplished those tasks, top off the soil with liquid molasses. It feeds the microbiological activity in the soil; it’s dessert for the soil in your garden.
  • If your tomatoes had a bumper crop this year but are now waning in the heat, cut them back to about 12 inches and water and feed them. They will grow and produce for you until the first freeze. If, on the other hand, they did not produce for you, take them out.
  • Perhaps consider rotating crops. Have you continued to plant the same crop season after season in the same location? And have you noticed that your crops are not doing as well? There is a reason for this lesser performance, and it lies in the soil being used for the same crop, depleting itself while attracting those pests that need a pattern to pursue. By rotating our crops, we will short-circuit those problem areas of our gardens.
  • Because of the harsh winter, many of our wildflowers were literally nipped in the bud and unable to go to seed. Therefore, some of the wildflowers were not naturally replenished. We’re going to assist by throwing extra seeds this fall. What are your favorites? Prairie paintbrushes? Bluebonnets? Mexican hats? Indian paintbrushes?
  • Are you turning your compost piles? Unless you have a fancy drum type that has an automatic timer that does it for you, it is time to turn those compost piles.
  • As your pumpkins mature, you can give them a twirl so while they grow, they have a nice round shape. Also, place a board under a pumpkin to raise it off the ground. Raising it off the ground avoids one-sided rot and deters pests.

Remember the True Master Gardener: Jesus said, “I am the vine; my Father is the Gardener.” John 15:1

"In the Garden" is written by father-daughter duo Bill and Martelle Luedecke and Bill Luedecke. Contact Martelle at 512-769-3179 or luedeckephotography@gmail.com. Contact Bill at 512-577-1463 or bill@texasland.net.

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