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Gardening with Laurie: Spring has been good for gardeners

May 11, 2010 at 12:11 a.m.
Updated May 12, 2010 at 12:12 a.m.

By Laurie Garretson

It is starting to feel as though the wonderful spring temperatures have gone.

I do believe that summer is upon us. Temperatures are heating up and the humidity is definitely here.

But we have to be grateful for the fabulous weather we had all spring. The cooler temperatures, and several really good rainfalls, provided us with the best conditions for gardening.

So many gardeners are bragging about their vegetable gardens. After the weather we've had the past couple of years, it's so nice to see and hear about all the beautiful vegetables and flowers.

As any gardener knows, there isn't much time to become complacent. If you've ever done any gardening, you probably know that we have to constantly stay on guard for pests.

For some reason, more than likely weather related, worms and caterpillars are really in abundance this season. Be sure to watch out for them and keep the BT Worm Killer handy.

This is the time of year when grasshoppers are hatching. That means it's time to put out the Semespore bait. This product won't harm anything except grasshoppers. Smaller, young grasshoppers are much easier to kill than older ones. So don't put off your attack.

Houseplants are not immune to pest problems either. One question I've had from several gardeners concerned gnats in potted houseplants. This usually is a sign of keeping the soil too wet. Back off on the watering if the soil feels wet and let it dry out some.

These tiny insects can sometimes lay their eggs in the soil of the plant. Adding some sharp sand or diatomaceous earth to the soil will help get rid of eggs and adult gnats.

Someone has asked about caring for an Easter lily plant that has stopped blooming.

After all the flowers have faded on your plant, trim the flowers off, but not the foliage. The foliage is used to take in nutrients for the next blooming cycle.

Plant the lilies in a spot that has good drainage and gets some morning sun, as well as afternoon shade. The plant will usually go dormant toward the mid- to late summer. The foliage will then turn yellow and can be cut off at that time. Remember where the bulb is located and watch for new growth to sprout again, once the temperatures cool down.

Depending on the weather, expect to see blooms again by spring.

Humidity and cool nights have lead to many fungal problems. Black spots on the foliage of a rose bush are signs of this disease. Fungicides are used to stop fungal problems. Natural products, like baking soda, horticultural cornmeal, potassium bicarbonate and a product called Plant Wash, are good solutions for all fungal problems.

I have not seen much about measurable rain in any of our forecasts as of now. This lack of rain, warm temperatures and windy conditions can lead to dry soils. Keep a close watch on all your landscape and water as needed.

The Farmers Market is back from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturdays in the parking lot of the Dr. Pattie Dobson Public Health Department at the corner of North Navarro Street and Airline Road. Be sure to stop by and take advantage of the local produce.

Until next time, let's try to garden with nature, not against it, and maybe all our weeds will become wildflowers.

Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner. Send your gardening questions to laurie@vicad.com or in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77902.


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