What a difference a year makes! This is the greenest Oklahoma has been in late August in years thanks to all the amazing summer rains.
Most of our trees, shrubs, flowers and vegetables are celebrating with lush, beautiful growth. Many gardeners are enjoying their best vegetable harvests in years even after sharing part of the harvest with grasshoppers and other critters that are also enjoying summer 2013 and their improved garden buffet.
If you don't want to share so much of your crops with the grasshoppers, mealy bugs, aphids, spider mites and other heavy eaters of the insect world, visit with your local nurseryman to help select the best organic or nonorganic solutions to your problems.
The weeds are also enjoying the extra moisture and moderate temperatures, so one of the biggest challenges this year is keeping the weeds from overwhelming your desired vegetable or flower crops. The safest weed control is hand pulling the weeds or plants that are not where you want them.
Hand pulling is labor intensive and is not most people's idea of a good time. Some folks see weed pulling as a good way to take out their frustration or aggression; others see it as a “Karate Kid” character building and strange meditation technique.
After doing lots of hand weeding, most folks want to reduce weed pressure in the future, which you can do by using pre-emergent herbicides or by mulching your plantings to reduce weed germination. Once the weeds are up, there are post-emergent herbicides you can use but you need to be careful of what you use where.
Products like glyphosate or Roundup will kill everything green — the good plants and the bad plants — so don't use it anywhere you don't want to kill everything. Glyphosate works great to clean up an area where you want to create a new flower bed in a few weeks or months but it is a terrible idea over a flower bed or vegetable garden.