You’ve been granted free access to this subscribers only article.
How to construct tomato cages
Q.I enjoy reading your column. I tried growing tomatoes this fall for the first time, and had some success. I think I would have had more success if I had gotten tomato cages, as you recommended in your column. I have been unable to find the ones that are your favorite, made from concrete reinforcing wire. Do you know where I might find them?
A. They were sold at various gardening programs as a fund-raiser. It is a big job, but you may want to make them yourself. It takes a roll of concrete reinforcing wire (1/4 inch or less with 6-inch squares). Cut off pieces 6 or 7 feet long and connect the ends to form a cylinder about 2 feet in diameter. Cut so you have wire spikes to penetrate the ground and so you have (half a square) wires to connect the two ends. If you don’t have any luck finding them, consider the new folding cages now available in area nurseries.
Q.Last year, sand burs and crab grass dominated my summer lawn. You advised that I apply a pre-emergent herbicide, such as Amaze or XL in late winter. Is now the time?
A. Apply Amaze or XL to prevent summer weeds in late February or early March.
Q.Can I use leaves for mulch around my newly planted shade trees? How deep?
A. Absolutely; live oak leaves make especially good mulch because they are easy to shovel and rake, but all leaves are valuable. Anything over 3 inches contributes to water conservation and weed control. Six inches is not too much.
Q.Did I hear you say on the radio show, “Gardening South Texas,” that the snapdragons will bloom again this winter?
A. Yes, their best bloom period is usually March and April into May. Dianthus, calendula, and stocks also may re-bloom at that time. Keep them watered and fertilize one more time in early March.
Q.What is the one best thing to be doing to improve my lawn this winter?
A. How about two things done in tandem: aerate and top-dress the lawn. Rent an aerator and then apply a ¼ to ½ half inch of compost over the surface. The aeration opens up compacted soil to air, water, and nutrient penetration to the root system. The compost filters into the aeration channels to bring organic material with all its benefits to the root system. For more information on aeration and top-dressing, visit www.plantanswers.com.
Q. Is there anything we can do now to get our winter weeds under control? We have dandelions, thistle, henbit, annual bluegrass, and rescue grass.
A. Next year, apply a pre-emergent herbicide in August or early September. This year, a contact herbicide could be applied to control the broadleaf weeds. 2-4-D products are effective if you have Bermuda, zoysia, or buffalo grass. Some formulas will have a negative effect on St. Augustine grass. Review the labels of Weed B Gon and similar products at your favorite retail nursery.
I rely on mowing to keep the winter weeds under control and prevent seed production.
Q.My Meyer lemon tree is lush with blossoms. I think this happened last year and they all fell off, or they would make a baby lemon and then fall off. In the fall, I ended up with only four lemons. What am I doing wrong?
A. Meyer lemons will bloom this time of the year, especially if the tree is young and the summer was dry. Young trees also are prone to drop fruit. We also had a late freeze last year that could have helped cause the fruit to drop. Be patient with the tree.
Calvin Finch is a horticulturist and the San Antonio Water System’s project director of regional initiatives and special projects. Hear him on “Gardening South Texas” on KLUP 930 AM radio Saturdays noon to 2 p.m., and 1-3 p.m. Sundays. Or, e-mail him at email@example.com.
Your Opinions and Comments
Be the first to comment on this story!
You must be logged in to post a comment.
Agriculture Today Archives
Bermuda grass stem maggot spreads in Texas (July 29, 2015)
Floresville FFA members receive degrees, Walrath scholarship (July 29, 2015)
Hay & Forage Report (July 29, 2015)
Livestock Market Reports (July 29, 2015)
Roses suffer from heat (July 29, 2015)
Senate, House spending bills signal support for industry (July 29, 2015)
TDA Market Report (July 29, 2015)
Texas farmer to lead corn group (July 29, 2015)
Time to prepare for hurricane season (July 29, 2015)
‘Where Does Our Food Come From?’ (July 29, 2015)
Crow is 15th in the nation (July 22, 2015)
Have you seen a Texas horned lizard? (July 22, 2015)
Hay & Forage Report (July 22, 2015)
Landscaping picks (July 22, 2015)
Livestock Market Reports (July 22, 2015)
Offices issue receipts (July 22, 2015)
Recent rains — fewer grasshoppers! (July 22, 2015)
Stallman announces departure in January (July 22, 2015)
TDA Market Report (July 22, 2015)
Benefits of the Chinese pistache (July 15, 2015)
Cattle market outlook, trends short course (July 15, 2015)
Conservation assistance online for landowners, users (July 15, 2015)
Crouch Memorial Bull Riding is July 25 (July 15, 2015)
Hay & Forage Report (July 15, 2015)
Livestock Market Reports (July 15, 2015)
Mischief-maker transforms into equine world champion (July 15, 2015)
TDA Market (July 15, 2015)
Wardens investigate alligator attack (July 15, 2015)
Ag-Pro continues John Deere tradition (July 8, 2015)
Cattlemen, Floresville FFA unite (July 8, 2015)
Hay & Forage Report (July 8, 2015)
Livestock Market Reports (July 8, 2015)
Locals attend conference (July 8, 2015)
Much of peach crop excellent quality, quantity (July 8, 2015)
Nomination period open for farm committee (July 8, 2015)
TDA Market Report (July 8, 2015)
Things farmers do when it rains (July 8, 2015)
Two-part water conservation landscaping workshop in SA (July 8, 2015)
U.S. cattle herd safety threatened by Brazilian beef importation? (July 8, 2015)
West Nile virus vaccine in horses (July 8, 2015)
Will new driveway affect live oak? (July 8, 2015)
Hay & Forage Report (July 1, 2015)
July 2015 Gardening Calendar (July 1, 2015)
Livestock Market Reports (July 1, 2015)
Native anaqua is a tasty treat for wildlife (July 1, 2015)
TDA Market Report (July 1, 2015)
Texas railway raises concerns on eminent domain (July 1, 2015)
Third time's a charm for Buck Taylor roping (July 1, 2015)