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Eileen Slater — May filled with gardening activities

May sees the fruition of all your hard work in the spring. Other tasks still need to be done in May.

One important task is to fertilize your citrus trees and roses. Mother’s Day is the usual day to provide nourishment for these important plants. Fertilize citrus trees next to the outer canopy as that is where nourishment is consumed.

Roses like to consume their fertilizer under the canopy. When you do so, they will reward you with beautiful fruits and flowers.

By now, everyone has planted their gardens and are enjoying tomatoes, squashes, green beans, and peppers. But there’s still time to plant the following vegetables according to the Jefferson County Spring and Fall Vegetable Planting Guide.

Okra can be planted until July 15. Each row for okra is spaced 30-40 inches apart. The distance on a row to plant okra seed is 18-24 inches.

I tried a container variety of okra last year. This year I am planting them in the earth. Varieties suggested to plant include Clemson Spineless, Louisiana Green Velvet, Dwarf Green, Emerald and Long Horn.

Okra is a great plant that tolerates heat. Sweet potatoes can be planted until May 20. Create rows 30-36 inches apart and 10-14 inches apart in the row for sweet potatoes. Sweet potato varieties to plant are: Centennial, Porto Rico, Jewel, Beauregard.

Heat, humidity, and bugs seem to plague gardeners at this time of year! Extra water and fertilizer are needed when vegetables begin to fruit.

This is especially true of vegetables growing in containers. Use your finger to check if the top 1 inch of soil is dry. If so, add water.

Some plants may need watering every day, and some will need it every two to three days, depending on the size of the container. Heat and winds dry plants out quickly. Water early in the morning, so the plant can utilize the water. Too much water will cause root rot.

Aphids, flying beetles and snails seem to appear overnight to feast on your bounty. Wash aphids off the bottom of the leaves with water. Apply snail bait in the evening as they eat at night and early morning.

I have tried using beer without success. Squashing snails seems to work the best. Other pests include wild animals that come to feast on your bounty.

Squirrels are not welcome when they take a bite out of your tomatoes or run up the tree with a green tomato in its mouth. Yes, I thought they were cute, too, before I had a garden.

As they say, the best thing in a garden is the gardener’s shadow.

 Reach Jefferson County Master Gardener Eileen Slater at jcmgenslater@gmail.com or call Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service at 409-835-8461.