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Agriculture Today

Tomatoes for the area

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February 22, 2012 | 4,274 views | Post a comment

Q. What tomatoes should we use in the garden this year? We had good luck with the Tycoon last year. We also attend the San Antonio Rodeo and that’s where we found Tycoon. Will there be a new Rodeo tomato?

A. This year’s introduction, BHN 6O2, is described as a plant that produces globe-shaped 12-ounce fruit. The plants are determinate, so should be manageable in the garden or in a container.

In 2010, the Rodeo tomato was Tycoon. The new introduction is going to have to perform very well to match the Tycoon. It produced large fruit on a relatively small plant. The Tycoon plants were very productive, even in the extreme conditions of 2011. It won the top tomato prize at local competitions for uniform, well-colored, firm fruit. One of the most important characteristics of Tycoon was that it was Yellow Tomato wilt-resistant. The white-fly-spread disease wiped out many plantings in 2010, but did not touch the Tycoon in 2011.

In 2012, you should be able to find limited numbers of Heatwave, Merced, Surefire, and Dwarf Cherry Surprise, along with generous supplies of 444, Solar Fire, Sun Pride, and Celebrity.

Q. Is it time to use dormant oil on our fruit and pecan trees?

A. Yes, dormant oil suffocates scale, phylloxera, and other insects that winter on the bark. Mix dormant oil according to label instructions to spray when temperatures will be above 45 degrees Fahrenheit for 48 hours.

Q. How soon should we expect the live oak leaves to fall?

A. Any time in February or early March. Every locale and even every live oak is different. Use the leaves for mulch or compost. They can be mowed and left to decompose on the lawn.

Q. What peaches would you recommend if you had room for three varieties?

A. Florida King, June Gold, and La Feliciana. Florida King is low-chill and early-cling fruit. June Gold is semi-cling and produces a large fruit about June 1. La Feliciana is cling-free. Harvest it in June.

Q. If my broccoli heads are blooming, should I cut them off in hopes of having side shoots? We had so much broccoli early in the season that we could not keep up.

A.Yes, remove the over-mature head so that side shoots are produced.

Q. I am mowing my annual bluegrass as you recommended. Will I have to kill it with herbicide to make room for the Bermuda grass in May?

A. No, the annual bluegrass, as well as ryegrass and rescue grass, will decline naturally at just the right time for the Bermuda grass to take over.

Q. How far apart do I have to thin my carrots?

A. Carrots can be thinned by using the removed carrots. They should be at least 3 inches apart.

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 reader@wcn-online.com.

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