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Agriculture Today

Family says no to tough okra

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South Texas Gardener
June 13, 2012 | 3,893 views | Post a comment

Q. Last year I had a bumper okra crop. However, my family didn’t like them because they were too tough. When is the best time to harvest okra?

A. Pick them when they are small so they are tender. Throw the large ones away or keep them for seed.

Q. My compost bin is not composting. Cool to the touch! Do you know why?

A. Compost needs half-green material and half-brown plus water and air. It is probably short of nitrogen. Sprinkle in a few cups of lawn fertilizer and turn it over. It should heat up.

Q. After climbing 15 feet, can a climbing vine start to grow horizontally? I want to create an arch.

A. Yes, they can be trained. Some want to grow upward and will if there is a wall or building to grow on. Cut off the upward vines and leave the horizontal growing vines. You can also weave vine into the horizontal arbor.

Q. I have some very aggressive and ugly weeds in a bed of Asiatic jasmine groundcover. Every weed you can possibly think of. How can I kill the weeds without hurting the groundcover?

A. Asiatic jasmine is resistant to Roundup. Use a pre-mixed spray or mix your own according to directions. To reassure yourself, experiment on one end of the bed.

Q. I planted three peach trees in raised beds in early October 2011. No peaches! Why?

A. It is the first year after planting. If they are in full sun and the weather is not severe, they should bloom and have some fruit next year. Did you plant the recommended low chill varieties?

Q. Is it best to drip irrigate 30 minutes a day or 60 minutes every other day?

A. If you have enough soil the 60 minutes works best. If the water makes it to the bottom of your bed after 30 minutes, cut back to 30 minutes every two days.

Calvin Finch is a horticulturist and the San Antonio Water System’s director of water resources. Hear him on “Gardening South Texas” on KLUP 930 AM radio Saturdays noon to 2 p.m., and 1-3 p.m. Sundays. Or, email him at

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