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Timely Tendings: Maintain a healthy vegetable garden

Beware late blight

. Watch for late blight on your tomatoes. Look for brown, water-soaked areas on the fruit and yellowing lower leaves that eventually turn brown. Late blight is a problem when there is high humidity and the temperature is between 60 to 70 degrees. Control this disease at first sign of symptoms by spraying the entire plant with a fungicide labeled for late blight. Always carefully follow the label directions.

Time to side dress

Remember to side dress vegetable gardens with fertilizer every three to four weeks. Use about 1 pound of 8-8-8 per 100 square feet. Apply along sides or between rows about 6 to 8 inches away from the plant stems. Remember to water well after applying fertilizer. For information about organic soil amendments for your vegetable garden go to: bit.ly/19hAsnK.

A sweet winter onion

Texas Grano is an excellent bulbing onion to plant in our area during the winter. They require fertile, moist soil and take about 168 days to mature. The Texas Grano has pure white flesh and a mild, sweet flavor. It is resistant to pink rot, which can destroy the developing onion bulb.

Put herbs on your radar

This is an excellent time to plant several different varieties of herbs. Even if you don't have much space, herbs can be grown in containers. Some even do well indoors on a sunny windowsill. Some cool-season herbs are sage, dill, cilantro, anise, sweet marjoram, thyme, lavender, rosemary, sweet fennel and chives. Herbs do best in well-drained soil with a minimum of fertilizer.

Keep an eye on citrus fruit

Citrus fruit must be fully ripe when harvested since the sweetening process stops once the fruit is picked. Many varieties of citrus have a long season in which they can be left on the tree and gathered for use as needed. There is a time however, when the tree stops caring for the fruit and it starts to dry out.

Compiled by Theresa Badurek, urban horticulture extension agent, UF/IFAS Pinellas County Extension Service. For additional landscape and garden information, visit pinellascountyextension.org. For regular tips and information about what's growing in Pinellas, go to facebook.com/growpinellas.

Timely Tendings: Maintain a healthy vegetable garden 12/11/13 [Last modified: Thursday, December 12, 2013 2:28pm]

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