Citrus fruit must be fully ripe when harvested. (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 its fruit and it starts to dry out.
>> 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. Side-dressing means applying fertilizer along sides or between rows about 6 to 8 inches away from the plant stems. Remember to water well after applying fertilizer. For more about organic soil amendments for the vegetable garden, go to edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg323.
>> 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 and 70 degrees. Control this disease at the first sign of symptoms by spraying the entire plant with a fungicide labeled for late blight. Always follow the label directions carefully.
>> Texas Grano is an excellent bulbing onion to plant here during the winter gardening season. It requires fertile, moist soil and takes about 168 days to mature. The Texas Grano has pure white flesh, a mild flavor and a sweet taste. It is also resistant to pink rot, which can destroy the developing onion bulb.
Information from Carol Suggs and Theresa Badurek of the Pinellas County Extension Service and from the Hillsborough County Extension Gardening Almanac. Go to the extension websites at pinellascountyextension.org and hillsborough.extension.ufl.edu.