Coastal and Tropical South

June, 2012
Regional Report

Harvest Oregano Flowers

The hidden treasure in an otherwise ordinary Greek oregano plant is its flowers. All you need to do is pluck the aromatic flowers and a bit of stem behind each one. Use the blooms to make vinaigrette or toss them into a stir fry for a pop of flavor. This is a good time to make the annual fertilizer application to oregano using organic nitrogen to stimulate new leaves.

Find the Right Light for Shade Lovers

Begonias and other plants with large leaves that are described as suitable for part sun or bright light can be difficult to place outdoors. Not enough light slows the flowers, but too much direct sun can burn the leaves. If leaves have crispy tips or scalded spots, you will be wise to move the plant. Dappled sun can be too bright for some that will thrive in bright shade, continue to bloom, and use less water.

Deadhead for More Blooms

Lots of flowers can keep going all summer if you will take the time to deadhead them properly. Resist simply plucking the flowers off the tops of their stems. Instead, use a hand pruner or even scissors to cut the stem down to a leaf axil or to a lower flower bud if one is present. Clip single stems of flowers like gerber daisy but shear off plants with masses of blooms, such as Mexican hat, to keep them neat as they rebloom.

Balance Lawn Food

Strive for a balance between fertilizer, water, and mowing practices in your lawn care. If one is way out of kilter, the lawn cannot thrive. As a rule of thumb, a healthy St. Augustinegrass or zoysia lawn should be ready for mowing no less than every 10 days in the summer, while bermudagrass is best maintained with weekly mowing or slightly less. Most centipedegrass lawns can be mowed every two weeks. Get your lawn into a routine that uses the three elements to keep it growing and relax.

Eggplant Tips

Watch out for tiny white stippled marks on eggplant leaves that tell you spider mites are multiplying fast. The leaf may look pale at first, but soon the pinprick size dots spread like measles and your eggplant stops growing. I spray with Vermicompost Tea to deter the rascals and use a product containing Neem if my preventative efforts fail.

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