What to plant now that it is summertime
Guadalupe County Master Gardeners is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or wilsoncountynews.com.
Q: I was busy this spring. Is there anything I can plant now?
A: If you want vegetables, you can still plant okra. Eggplant, pepper and tomato transplants can be put in from July 1 to July 25. Pumpkins can be planted July 10 through August 1, cabbage from July 10 through September 10, and winter squash can be planted July 10 through August 10. For a nice container garden, you might mix autumn sage, zinnias, lantana and purslane. This suggestion by Doug Welsh in his Texas Garden Almanac combines different sizes and shapes (spikes, daisy type, pincushion type, and tubular) for a pleasing summer grouping of plants.
In our butterfly garden this month, sunflowers and vinca are blooming. And when I went to a garage sale this morning, their entire patio cover was full of blooming passionflower vine.
Q: Now that my bluebonnets and other wildflowers have gone to seed and been mowed, is there something I should be doing for next year?
A: In reading an article on wildflowers to answer your question, I notice that bluebonnets don’t like to share space. So when they come up this winter, be sure to weed and keep other wildflowers out of the same space. Now that this season is over, you should be mowing to keep grasses from dominating the space.
Do not fertilize, or use insecticides or fungicides. These plants are accustomed to growing in this climate and soil. If you mulch, use only a light layer so that the seeds will be able to germinate through the mulch.
One final point I noticed in the article. Don’t cover the wildflower area in your lawn with winter rye this winter. Winter rye is slightly allelopathic and can keep other seeds from germinating.
Q: The heat is here, and I’m going on vacation. Do you have suggestions?
A: Water thoroughly before you go. Group your container plants so that it is easier for your neighbor to water (maybe hire a neighborhood kid who needs spending money). Mow before you leave, but not so short that it burns while you are gone. Weed, prune, mulch and do an insect check. These are Doug Welsh’s suggestions. If I did all this, I would be too tired to go. Make sure that any harvest you have is picked before you go, or is promised to the neighbor watching out for your garden. Make sure your houseplants are watered. I have two spathiphylum that take two weeks to dry out, so I water them the day before I leave. If the plants can stand the heat, take them outside in a shady spot so the neighbor can water them.
Q: My pomegranates have fruit. How do I know when they are ripe?
A: The fruit ripens six to seven months after flowering. It cannot be ripened off the tree. According to an article by Purdue University, the fruit makes a metallic sound when it is tapped. Do not pull off, but clip close to the base.
Clara Mae Marcotte is a Texas Master Gardener with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. If you have a question to be answered, call the Master Gardeners at 830-379-1972 or leave a message to be answered. The website is guadalupecountymastergardeners.org. The Master Gardener research library is open Mondays from 8:30 to noon, at 210 East Live Oak Street in Seguin.