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Best way to grow mint
Q. I like mint, but it has been a nightmare to try and grow it in our raised-bed garden. It takes over. My husband has banned it. Will it grow in a container?
A. Yes, in my experience that is the best way to grow mint. Enough is produced in a 10-inch container for tea and flavorings, and the container controls its spread.
Q. We have a small skinny hawk with broad bands on its tail that hangs around our bird feeder. It is quite amazing the way it enters large shrubs after the hiding birds. My neighbors don’t believe me. Do you have a guess what kind of hawk it is?
A. Yes, from your description of the bird and its behavior it is a sharp-shinned hawk. Many winter in wooded neighborhoods in central Texas.
Q. We tried a yellow beet this year. They taste wonderful and seem easier to grow than the regular red beet. Are they just as nutritious?
A. I have had the same experience with yellow beets and recommend them highly. I don’t have access to data on the nutritional value, but suspect they are slightly less nutritious in terms of iron because of the light color.
Q. When should our bluebonnets start blooming?
A. I have heard that some of the earliest flowers have appeared, but most blooming occurs in March and the first half of April as you go farther north.
Q. I am confused. I thought live oaks were evergreen and now everyone is talking about the leaf drop in February?
A. Live oaks drop their leaves every year in February or March, but quickly re-foliate. A tree that is only empty of leaves for one to two weeks qualifies as evergreen.
Q. My nurseryman said that it is better to wait until late April to apply lawn fertilizer. He says it does not contribute to a faster green-up to fertilize now. I told him it was hogwash! What do you say?
A. I am with your nurseryman. Our hot-weather grasses’ green-up in spring is based on the spring weather and the condition the grass was in the fall. Fall fertilization has more impact than early spring fertilizer. To use the nutrients in spring, the lawn grass needs green foliage for transpiration and roots for collection of the nutrients -- both come with mild weather and warm soil.
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.
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