By BILL DOTY
Backyard vegetable gardening in Central Florida is more than just exercise; it’s an exercise in transition, with each month providing better conditions for growing some plants rather than others. Now that we’re in the heart of May, we can recommend okra, cowpeas, collard greens, mustard, cherry tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and eggplant as good summer vegetables to plant now.
It continues to be a good time to sod, plug, or seed lawns, and to give Bahia grass a good power raking (some more of that exercise we mentioned earlier). If you find mole crickets in your Bahia lawn, control them with Turf Ranger or Bifenthrin in spray or granular form. We also have the controls for chinch bugs in St. Augustine grass. Now that the weather is hotter, the bugs’ gestation period is shorter.
Continue to plant flowers for landscaping color and cuttings later. Check all of your plants for insects, spider mites, diseases, and deficient water or fertilizer. Triple Action is a good control for mites.
If you have fruit trees, shade trees, or woody plants, feed and spray them now. Keep in mind that backyard citrus trees suffer most from starvation or scale disease.
Walking around your house or any storage buildings, keep an eye peeled for mud dauber nesting areas. If you spot them, spray with Demon, 38 Plus, or Baycon, and hit them again in August.
BIO: William R. “Bill” Doty is owner of Doty Farm and Garden Supply Inc., founded in Winter Haven in 1954. Bill graduated from Winter Haven High School and Florida State University. Growing up, he learned valuable lessons in listening and asking questions and was a student of the family business. Bill shares his knowledge with his customers daily and with our readers monthly.