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Gardening Part Two continued from page 3

Dr. William M. Johnson

Galveston County Extension Agent – Horticulture

HOME FRUIT GROWERS’ TOUR ON MAY 18: A Home Fruit Growers’ Tour will be conducted on Saturday, May 18. Three fruit orchards are on this year’s tour. Each location will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.

This year’s tour sites contain a wide variety of fruit trees ranging from a peach orchard (Fruit ‘n Such Orchard located at 6309 Avenue U in Dickinson), the Master Gardener Demonstration Orchard (located in Carbide Park in La Marque) and a sizeable home orchard in Santa Fe. Additional details may be downloaded from the Master Gardener website (click on the “Extension Educational Programs” link). Additional information will also be provided in next week’s garden column.

FRUIT SET ON SQUASH: Don’t be concerned if the first several squash fruit fall off the plant before they reach an edible stage. The first flowers to form in squash in early spring are the female flowers (with the miniature fruit located right under the yellow flowers).

With no male flowers being present, no pollination takes place. However, in a few days the male flowers will be formed, and normal fruit set should take place. Interestingly enough, it’s the reverse in summer plantings—the male flowers tend to develop first so no fruit set occurs until the female flowers develop.

LEAF DROPPAGE OF EVERGREENS: Many gardeners take the description “evergreen” too literally and often are concerned when evergreens, such as magnolias, euonymus, live oak, gardenia, and some of the hollies, lose some of their old leaves during late spring and early summer. The flush of new growth on many evergreens will cause a yellowing of old leaves and leaf droppage. Nothing to be concerned about—just Mother Nature putting a new spring coat of green and discarding the old.

ANNUALS: Annuals for shade include: impatiens, coleus, caladiums (the tubers are just about out of stock, potted plants are still available), and bedding begonias. Caladiums will often produce a single flower stalk right after the first leaves are produced. Early removal of the flower stalk will encourage the plants to produce more lush leaf growth.

BLACKBERRIES: Blackberries will be coming into production in May. As canes which produced fruit this season finish bearing and start to die back, they should be removed at ground level. “Tip back” new canes to encourage branching; next year’s blackberries will be produced on these canes.

FERTILIZE VEGETABLES: For best growth and yield of vegetables, apply small amounts of nitrogen fertilizer (called side dressing) every couple of weeks. This will keep vegetables growing vigorously so they reach their maximum yield potential.

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