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Agriculture Today

An alternative to Tycoon tomatoes

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March 21, 2012 | 4,560 views | Post a comment

Q. How does the new “Rodeo Tomato,” BHN 602, compare to last year’s Tycoon?

A. It is hard to beat the Tycoon. It has large fruit and is very productive. Tycoon won the “Top Tomato” competition here in San Antonio. BHN 602 is supposed to match Tycoon in production. It also may be less tough in terms of skin than Tycoon. Tycoon has one big advantage, it is “tomato yellow wilt virus” resistant.

Q. Tell me again what the options are for live oak leaves, please.

A.I think they make the best mulch for the vegetable and flower gardens, because they are small and sturdy. They can be moved and spread easily. They insulate and cover the soil well, even at 2 inches deep. Two inches is about all the mulch you want around seedlings and small transplants.

Live oak leaves can be put in the compost pile as raw material or they can be allowed to decompose on the lawn. Mow them to increase the speed of decomposition.

Q. Is it time to plant green beans? What are the recommended varieties?

A. Yes, it is time to plant green beans. Also plant summer squash and sweet corn now. “Tender crop” is common and good, but any of the bush versions work well. The vining selections take longer to produce and require a trellis, but produce over a longer season. Plant green beans every two weeks through April to have a longer season.

Q. I had a quick question pertaining to some crape myrtles I planted in my yard last year. I purchased and planted three trees that were the same species from the garden center. Last year, I kept them watered and last fall (about November) I pruned off some of the growth and old seed pods, but definitely did not commit crape murder. As of now, only one of the three trees has put on any leaves. The other two still appear to be dormant; however, I just want to make sure they are not dead. This is my first experience with crape myrtles and I really don’t know what to look for. I have two oak trees in my front yard that are mature and they seem to drop and gain leaves at the same time of the year. The base/bark of the crapes all seem to be in the same condition. Is there any way of knowing at this point if the other two are going to green-up and is there anything I can or should be doing to help them along?

A. No, crape myrtles are slow to emerge in the spring. Give them some time. It won’t speed up the process, but is good for the trees to provide them each a cup of slow-release lawn fertilizer spread over the roots.

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

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