For The Answer
WILSON COUNTY NEWS
Calvin R. Finch, Ph.D., Conservation Director, San Antonio Water System,
Week of November 24, 2003
Q. Which are the best pansies for shade?
A. Pansies do best in full sun. They will bloom some if they receive three or four hours of sun. Some gardeners say violas and Johnny Jump-ups have more shade tolerance than the larger flowered pansies. For blooms in the shade consider primulas and cyclamen.
Q. Should we mow our St. Augustine grass extra short for the winter? I heard some place that that is best.
A. No, just continue to mow at the regular height of 3 or 3.5 inches for St. Augustine grass, 2 inches for zoysia, 1.5 inches for Bermuda, and 5 inches for buffalo grass. Mowing the lawn every few weeks in the winter is a good way to help control winter weeds.
Q. How do we tell when our Meyer lemon, Mexican lime, and Satsuma orange are ready to harvest?
A. Change of color is the normal way. The color change does not need to be complete, a slight change of color usually indicates that the fruit is physiologically ripe and can be used. All of the selections you mention are probably ripe right now even if they have not changed color. Test one to verify the taste is the way you want it. You can leave citrus on the tree for several months after they are ripe but, at some point, they become mealy.
Q. Is it too late to plant spinach transplants? How about bluebonnets? I saw both in the nursery this week.
A. This is a great time to plant both spinach and bluebonnets. I planted spinach four weeks ago, but the hot weather has been tough on the plants. Transplants put in the garden now will perform as well as those planted earlier this year.
Q. What is the best shade tree for Central and South Texas? We need a new shade tree.
A. Some of the best ways to select a good shade tree is to look around your neighborhood and town. Select what looks good to you and seems to prosper. My favorites are Texas Red Oak, Live Oak, Cedar Elm, and Montezuma Cypress.
Q. Why isn’t my broccoli heading yet? Last year at this time it was.
A. Most of the broccoli transplants on the market are a selection called Marathon that is slow to head. Be patient.