You’ve been granted free access to this subscribers only article.
Don’t cover lettuce seeds with soil
Q. We are going to try to grow lettuce again this year. What is the trick? It never germinates.
A. The main problem gardeners have with lettuce is that the seed must not be covered with soil if it is going to germinate. Prepare the soil by tilling in some compost and slow-release lawn fertilizer (1 cup per 10 feet of row), rake it smooth, and then apply the seed. Irrigate with a gentle spray from a water wand every day until the seedlings appear and show regular leaves. Drip irrigation can be used after that point.
Q. Our live oaks are dropping acorns. By morning the acorns disappear. What eats acorns in the night?
A. Lots of animals eat acorns. In the day, deer, squirrels, blue jays, white-wing doves, and golden-fronted woodpeckers will pick them up. At night, rats and raccoons may eat them. Smaller birds will eat the meats of acorns mashed on the road or sidewalk.
Q. Tell us about growing tomatoes this fall.
A. The best tomato varieties for reliable production seem to be Surefire, Solar Fire, Tycoon, BHN 602, 444, Celebrity, BHN 956 (Rodeo Cherry), and Phoenix. Surefire produces tennis ball-sized fruit and is the quickest variety to produce mature tomatoes. It will only be available in limited quantities because it is no longer produced for commercial crops. Latch on to a few plants if you see them at your favorite nursery.
To prepare your raised beds for a productive fall gardening experience, apply 2 inches of compost over the surface, add 1 cup of slow-release lawn fertilizer per 50 square feet of bed, and till or turn over the soil with a shovel.
Tomato cages are important to keep the plant upright and the fruit off the ground. Tomatoes are heavy feeders and use a lot of water. You may have to water them every day in high temperatures. Apply one-quarter cup of slow-release lawn fertilizer per plant every three weeks.
Q. We went on vacation and now we have brown patches in our lawn. We water every week but the brown areas are in the hottest part of the lawn on a slope. Could it just be heat? It is zoysia grass that has been in for two years. Is the grass dead?
A. It sounds like the grass has just gone dormant from drying and the heat. Zoysia, Bermuda, and buffalo grass have the ability to go dormant. It will green up when the rain starts again or you can give the area some special hand watering to green it up now. Make sure the water is penetrating into the soil on the slope.
Calvin Finch is a horticulturist and the director of the Water Conservation and Technology Center at Texas A&M-San Antonio. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your Opinions and Comments
Be the first to comment on this story!
You must be logged in to post a comment.
Agriculture Today Archives
County committee nomination period begins (June 22, 2016)
Hartmann takes the steer by the horns to win state championship (June 22, 2016)
La Vernia FFA wraps up school year with honors, scholarships (June 22, 2016)
Livestock Market Reports (June 22, 2016)
Root rot knocks out roses (June 22, 2016)
TDA Market Recap (June 22, 2016)
Texas Hay Report (June 22, 2016)
A student’s ag-related journey (June 15, 2016)
Family Land Heritage news (June 15, 2016)
Five dirty truths on agriculture (June 15, 2016)
Horseherb galloping through yards (June 15, 2016)
Kristin Storey: South Texas queen to compete for national title (June 15, 2016)
Livestock Market Reports (June 15, 2016)
Miller announces assistance for farmers devastated by floods (June 15, 2016)
No “rain, rain, go away” as precipitation persists (June 15, 2016)
Schwartz takes lead as Texas state veterinarian (June 15, 2016)
TDA Market Recap (June 15, 2016)
Texas Hay Report (June 15, 2016)
Texas Rural Leadership Program (June 15, 2016)
It’s almost rodeo time in Stockdale (June 8, 2016)
Livestock Market Reports (June 8, 2016)
Save seed pods for next fall (June 8, 2016)
TDA Market Recap (June 8, 2016)
Texas Hay Report (June 8, 2016)
Big Time Texas Hunts entries now on sale (June 1, 2016)
Burbridge leads the way in Buck Taylor roping event (June 1, 2016)
Farm Bureau solicits AgLead, FarmLead participants (June 1, 2016)
June 2016 Gardening Calendar (June 1, 2016)
Livestock Market Reports (June 1, 2016)
Save squash from vine borers (June 1, 2016)
State Farm Bureau testifies on agricultural use valuation (June 1, 2016)
TDA Market Recap (June 1, 2016)
Texas Hay Report (June 1, 2016)