For The Answer
Primetime NewspapersBy Calvin R. Finch, PhD, SAWS Conservation Director, and HorticulturistWeek of July 4, 2005
“Gardening Calendar for July”
July is the end of the spring vegetable garden and the beginning of the fall garden. Pull the spring tomatoes from the garden early in the month and replant new transplants late in the month. If you leave your tomato plants in place they may live and actually produce a few a few fruit in the autumn, but they will not match the total production of the two-season regime. Tomato plants that over summer in San Antonio also serve as breeding grounds for nematodes, spider mites, fungus diseases, and other pestilence that makes it hard to continue to successfully grow tomatoes in the garden. Celebrity, Bingo, Carnival, Whirlaway, 444 and Sun Pride are all good selections. Several of our fall favorites - Heatwave, Surefire, Sun Master and Merced are no longer produced by seed hybridizers, if your favorite retail nursery offers them, take advantage. It will be the last of the seed. Okra, peppers, eggplant and southern peas continue to produce through the hottest part of the summer; the rest of the vegetables should be composted.
If you grow blackberries, July is a good time to prune out all the old canes to make room for the new canes. The new canes (primocanes) are recognizable because of their vigor, large leaves, and dark green color. Cleaning out the blackberry bed is not an easy job. Wear gloves, jeans, and long sleeves to survive the thorns. It is a morning job because of all the clothes you must wear and the heat. If you leave the old canes (floricanes), they get in way of the primocanes, serve as disease reservoirs, and make picking the fruit next year that much harder.
Webworms are very thick in the pecans this year. The caterpillars shelter in the webs in the day and venture out into the tree in the evening. Open up the webs you can reach with a cane pole or high-pressure water stream and the sun, wasps and birds will reduce the population. A Bt product like Thuricide, Bio Worm Control or Dipel will kill them if you can spray it up into the foliage on which they are feeding. Since most of us do not have access to a sprayer powerful enough to send the insecticides into the tree, it might be best to ignore the worms. The tree will not die even if they strip many of the leaves.
Spider mites are another pest that is very difficult to control. Kelthane works very well, but it is difficult to find. Hi Yield has a Kelthane formulation. Other spider mite controls rely on neem oil. It is organic and if sprayed over the entire leaf surface, especially the undersides every three days, it works.
Your esperanza, vinca, poinciana, vitex, blue salvia, lantana, and crepe myrtles should bloom through the month. Late in July, plant large African or American marigold. The Discovery selection was especially effective for a fall blooming marigold. Select sturdy plants without blooms to place in full sun about 16 inches apart. They will make a solid golden or yellow masse of color. They are spectacular until the first freeze. If you purchase plants that already have blooms they do not put on enough foliage to support a full crown of flowers. We used to call these large marigolds – mari-mums because the beds resemble beds of cushion or garden mums. The marigolds are even more desirable because they bloom for a longer period. Marigolds are very susceptible to spider mites, but in the autumn as the temperatures fall, spider mites are less a problem.
Keep the lawn watered and mowed, but be careful not to over water. Visit the SAWS website saws.org, click to Conservation, click to programs, and click to Seasonal Irrigation Program, SIP for lawn water information.
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