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IN THE GARDEN: Watering in the summer

In anticipation of a hot summer in Central Texas (imagine that), it is necessary to deeply water trees and shrubs and track the watering needs of flowers and vegetables daily. The best times to water are in the early morning daylight, the early evening as the day cools down, or during cooler temperatures when it's still light. As tempting as night watering is, it's not healthy for the plants as it can promote fungus growth.

Summer is when drip systems, soaker hoses, and the like are best for watering at the source with no waste from evaporation.

PEANUT BUTTER FOR THE BIRDS (AND BREAKFAST)

Are you using peanut butter, bird seed, and pine cones to make bird feeders? It's a great project for big and little helpers. (Search the internet for easy instructions.) A tasty way to get the last of the peanut butter from your jar is to fill it with a package of instant oatmeal and hot water. As the oatmeal softens, it will pull the oils from the peanut butter off of the jar and into the cereal.

CUCUMBER CARE

How are your cucumber plants doing? Cucumber plants require a lot of water, which we've had, yet it’s Texas summertime now.

With cucumber plants, a good "rule of thumb” is to stick your thumb into the soil. If the soil is dry an inch down, water. When you are watering, try your best to only water the soil and not the foliage. We don’t want those water droplets to work as magnifying glasses with the sun and burn the leaves, fruit, or flowers. Watering cucumbers in the morning will help deter diseases or mildew, which are harmful to your cucumber plants.

Harvest your cucumbers when they are young. If they sit on the vine too long, they can become bitter.

SAY NO TO MOSQUITOES

Mosquitoes are definitely out and about. So, the first thing we need to do is empty all of those pots, pans, and anything else that holds water.

In our gardens, we have a smorgasbord of items that become breeding places for mosquitoes. The standing water you have placed out for the birds and other pollinators needs to be emptied at least twice a week. If your containers hold more than 3 gallons of water, put a goldfish from the bait store in it. Goldfish love mosquito larvae.

Items such as compost tea in the making, pet watering devices, livestock troughs, etc., also need attention. If we have no stale or stagnant water, we greatly reduce the number of mosquitoes around us.

Till next time. Keep your souls and soles in your garden! 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 daughter-father duo Martelle and Bill Luedecke. Contact Martelle at 512-769-3179 or luedeckephotography@gmail.com. Contact Bill Luedecke at 512-577-1463 or bill@texasland.net.

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