Week of November 5, 2001
By Calvin Finch, Conservation Director, San Antonio Water System, and Horticulturist
GARDENING TASKS FOR THIS MONTH
FlowersNovember is the month to plant pansies. Enrich a bed in full sun with two inches of compost and add a cup of slow release lawn fertilizer per 50 sq. ft. of bed. Plant your pansies on six-inch centers and water them in. Water again when the soil dries to one inch deep. Slugs, pill bugs, and snails like newly planted pansies, so spread the slug and snail bait generously.
If your iris or daylily bed is overcrowded, thin it out this month. Dig up the rhizomes and break the large units into smaller pieces at the thinnest points. Till in two inches of compost and slow release lawn fertilizer. Plant irises and daylilies on 18-inch centers (18 inches apart) in full sun. The irises should be planted shallowly, so the top of the rhizome is on the surface. Daylilies can be planted two to three inches deep.
For deep shade, especially in containers, consider planting cyclamen or primrose. The cyclamen come in white, pink, or red with beautiful dark green leaves. Cyclamen are classy beauties. Primrose is not as classy as cyclamen but they attract attention. I think of clowns in make-up when I see them. The leaves are light green and fleshy. The blooms are striking shades of red, yellow, white, blues, and violet. Neither plant is a xeriscape plant so keep them moist. The soil must be well drained. Slugs, snails, and pill bugs love pansies, but they will scale a container to get at the primrose. Keep the slug bait available
If you want to control slugs, snails, and pill bugs the organic way, try the beer trap. Sink a plastic cup into the flower bed up to its brim. Fill it half full with beer. The slugs, snails, and pill bugs will seek out the suds and drown in their drink. Empty the cup when it fills up with pests. It does not seem to matter if the beer is flat or fresh, cheap or expensive. Drinking one-half of each bottle is also acceptable!
Trees and ShrubsPlant trees and shrubs this month. They have seven or eight months to develop a root system before the heat of summer challenges their survival. Mulch over the root system for less problems from weeds, hot soil, and water loss. Trees mulched with four inches of leaves, bark, shredded brush, or other organic material may grow 40 percent faster than trees where grass grows up to the trunk.
Lawn GrassIt is not necessary to water your lawn anymore this winter unless we go three weeks without any rain. A half-inch sprinkler application will keep the roots healthy for a fast start next spring. Mow every month to keep the weeds in check.
VegetablesPlant cole crop transplants such as cabbage and broccoli for a spring crop. Carrots, turnips, rutabagas, mustard, kale, and radishes can be planted by seed.
Protect your tomatoes from the first freeze and you may receive another month of tomato ripening weather before the plants must be pulled. Use Grow-web or another agricultural fiber for five to six degrees of protection. Spinach is the premier winter vegetable for San Antonio. Obtain some transplants for the garden this month and harvest leaves as you need them.