Tips from “The Natural Gardener”

Tips from “The Natural Gardener”

I have always enjoyed working in my garden in my spare time. One of my favorite sites to visit and learn new things is the “The Natural Gardener”. They have some great tips and useful information to help you with your garden.

Here is some information I found and wanted to share with you.

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These are just a few of our suggestions for Central Texas gardeners. Please come visit us at The Natural Gardener for the best, most comprehensive advice, plants and organic gardening supplies, all appropriate to our area and the current season.



Vegetables: Amaranth, Black Eyed Peas, Corn, Cucumbers, Malabar Spinach, New Zealand Spinach, Okra, Pumpkin, Summer Squash, Winter Squash.

Use the 4th of July holiday as your reminder to plant pumpkins in order to get nice, big Jack o’ Lanterns in time for Halloween!

Fruits: Cantaloupe, Watermelon.

Annuals: Cosmos, Gourds, Morning Glory.



Vegetables: Eggplant, Peppers, Tomatoes. (Yes, tomatoes are technically fruits.)

Herbs: Basil, Oregano, Rosemary, Thyme.

Annuals: Blue Daze, Gazania, Geranium, Gomphrena, Marigolds, Periwinkle, Portulaca, Purslane, Zinnia.

Perennials: Black-Eyed Susan, Butterfly Weed, Copper Canyon Daisy, Cupheas, Coreopsis, Shasta Daisy, Ox-Eye Daisy, Four-Nerve Daisy, Daylily, Eupatoriums (including Gregg’s Mistflower), Goldenrod, Kniphofia, Lamb’s Ears, Lantana, Plumbago, Ruellias, Salvias.

Xeric: Agave, Cacti, Nolina, Sotol, Sedums, Yucca.

Grasses: Maiden Grass, Bamboo Muhly, Gulf Coast Muhly, Big Muhly, Weeping Muhly, Mexican Feather Grass, Switchgrass, Inland Sea Oats (likes the shade!), Purple Fountain Grass.



If spring-planted, indeterminate Tomatoes still look good, cut off 1/3 of the plant to rejuvenate them for the fall season. Give them some Flower Power fertilizer, keep them watered, healthy and blooming and once temperatures cool off, the flowers will begin to set fruit. If your spring Tomatoes don’t look good, then pull them and replant now for fall.

Plant fall Tomato transplants under shade cloth. It’s counter-intuitive to plant anything right now, as hot and dry as it is in July, but the idea is to get your Tomato plants big and blooming so those flowers can set fruit as soon as the heat breaks. (Typically, Tomatoes won’t set fruit if the temps are above 90°F.) Be sure to use shade cloth to allow your transplants to acclimate themselves to the heat. Also consider using Plant Success, Biozome, and Maxicrop Seaweed to reduce transplant shock and promote strong roots. Seaweed is also a great anti-stressor for plants. If you keep your plants healthy through the heat, you should have loads of Tomatoes in the fall.

Tomato-growing tip: Keep moisture levels in the soil as even as possible. Tomatoes are tropical plants and they don’t like to be drought stressed. They don’t like to be too wet, either, but definitely don’t let them droop repeatedly. Whether they’re new fall transplants or spring plants that you’re carrying through the summer, consistency of watering is crucial to produce healthy plants and lots of pretty fruit. Among other problems, swings in moisture levels causes Blossom End Rot and Cat-facing.

Want Jack o’ Lanterns for Halloween? You need to plant them now, and here’s a short-course on how to do it:

Find an 8 foot by 8 foot area in full sun, with well-drained soil. Add a good amount of cow manure compost and mix in well. In the center, make a 3 foot by 3 foot “pitcher’s mound” of soil, and mix in some Lady Bug 8-2-4 or Garden Pep Cottonseed Meal. Make four to six holes, one inch deep, in the top of the mound. Place one pumpkin seed in the center of each hole and firmly pat down the soil. Water-in, then lightly mulch the seeded area with Pine Straw mulch. Add about three inches of Pine Straw onto the sides of the hill. After your pumpkin seedlings emerge, thin out all but two or three of the strongest plants. As the plants grow sturdier and spread out, more mulch can be added onto the bare soil around them but do not pile up mulch onto the stems. Keep your pumpkin patch very well-watered, since these giants of the vegetable world need plenty of moisture to grow. Some good varieties of carving pumpkins are Howden and Jack O’Lantern. For extra-huge Cinderella carriage pumpkins, plant Big Max or Wyatt’s Wonder. (Remember, giant pumpkins need a heck of alot of water, so be sure you’re prepared to commit!)

Fertilize landscape plants one last time before fall. Natives don’t need it, but non-native plants will appreciate a dose of Lady Bug 8-2-4,  Garden Pep Cottonseed Meal or Flower Power to carry them through the summer. After this feeding, allow your plants to “rest” until temperatures begin to cool off in the fall.

A rule of thumb for fertilizing edibles and ornamentals: If a plant has to be watered frequently, it needs to be fed frequently. Actively growing plants need lots of nutrition and frequent watering washes nutrients from the soil. Potted plants and edibles, especially, will benefit from very regular feedings.  If you’re watering at least once a day, you could apply a dry fertilizer like Lady Bug 8-2-4 or Flower Power once a month, and John’s Recipe liquid fertilizer every two weeks…..

You can read the remainder of this article on there website: The Natural Gardener

Happy Gardening!

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