FLOWERS (ANNUALS): Marigold, zinnias, cosmos & snapdragon from seed. Many more from bedding plants but beware when you buy from the Big Box Stores. They were selling impatience and pansies this week - after May it's so hot here they just melt.
VEGETABLES: Most of your planting should have been done by March 15th. But if you still have a little room, you may want to plant okra, southern or black-eyed peas. Zucchini and summer squash should be close to harvest. We are currently harvesting asparagus, tomatoes, and eggplant. The tomatoes were planted last fall and the eggplants are a full year old now.
HERBS: Dill can be planted from seed and the warm weather herbs can be planted from seedlings. Most of the garden centers currently have a nice selection of herbs in 3" pots but I'm still looking for Sweet Basil. Last summer we lived on pesto and I want to make sure we have enough. One of my friends who grows LOTS of herbs told me that Sweet Basil is only good a year and then you need to replace it. I added another Mint (Mojito season will be upon us soon) If you haven't grown herbs, you need to try a few. They are so much fun - huge benefit in the kitchen (or bar) - many are catepillar host plants -
CALADIUMS - Caladiums are just beginning to peak up out of the ground. April is your last month to plant them - and if you want your fancy caladiums to last further into the summer, look for a spot that gets afternoon shade. I like to put some in pots that can help disguise a struggling spot.
PRUNE - Most of your annual pruning should be done but I just today finished pruning the Firebush (Hamelia patens). Since Firebush blooms year around on new growth, it can be pruned at any time. But I like to give mine a big spring haircut and then take a little nip here and there as needed. If your roses are spring bloomers, you can cut them back now. Pinch the growing tips out of poinsettias, coleus, copper plants, and mums.
WATER - Top of my list is to add some drip irrigation to a number of beds. The price of the battery powered timers have dropped drastically and I've been told the batteries will last an entire year. Now all I need is a water source to automate much of the irrigation chores.
COMPOST - If your compost bin is like mine, it is now chocked full of brown (carbon) material - cut or shred your trimmings to add to the pile. I still notice bags and bags of leaves and twigs around over Harlingen. Maybe it's time for some leaf rustling!
MULCH - I think this is the most important thing you can do for plant health. It cools the roots and keeps weeds from sprouting and competing for water and nutrients. Around my house, we have some new planting beds so we've already spread over 100 bags this spring. To save money, some of the beds in the back of the house are going to get a base mulching with hay. Give your plants a nice 3 inches of mulch. Once you get all your beds done, topping them off each spring is a piece of cake! Remember to keep it a couple of inches away from your tree trunks.
PEST CONTROL - Be on the look out for aphids and scale. Honeydew is a sign of an aphid infestation. Horticultural soap can handle most small to moderate infestations.