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Dallas Morning News - August 18, 2016

August Organic Maintenance

Q.  Just unpacked a moving box from about a year ago and found my gallon jug of Garrett Juice Plus. Is it still usable? Does it have a shelf life?  M. S. Van Alstyne, TX
A.  There are no shelf life worries other than in time the mixture will develop some clumpy material. Just filter out the clumpy material and use as needed. It might even be better quality with the age.

Q.  I am in Fort Worth and have a raised-bed vegetable garden in my back yard. The summer crops of peppers and tomatoes don't do well because I have towering trees and too much shade. I've already pulled up the spring plants and am looking to do a fall planting for veggies that are shade tolerant. Questions - Best fall vegetables for this area that tolerate about 50-60% shade? I usually plant seedlings from the garden store in the garden but I haven't really done the fall crops before. What is the strategy and timing? When do I plant? Seedlings or seeds? Seems if I plant seedlings to early they might die from the heat. Should I plant seeds instead? When? I want to get the most out of my garden before it gets too cold. P. B. Fort Worth, TX

A.  Transplants would be best and planted now.  The choices for your partly shaded area include the leafy vegetables (kale, Swiss chard and various greens) and peppers. Peppers, both bell and hot varieties will do very well in the shade. Cabbage and broccoli will also have a good chance. You can plant some garlic in October and both onion and garlic chives can be plant anytime and will do fairly well.

Q.  Our organic garden has been over taken by grasses. I have looked for an organic grass killer that will kill Bermudagrass but there are so many that I am a bit confused. Can you recommend a grass killer or combination of ingredients to kill Bermuda and the other grasses? Is there one that will kill the Bermuda roots? Thank you for your help.  G. G. Seguin, TX

A.  The vinegar herbicides such as the Good Natured product and the fatty acid products such as BioSafe will kill Bermudagrass but sometimes have to be sprayed more than once. If the grass has been tilled prior to attempted removal, the buried pieces of rhizome will attempt to come back forever. In that case, the only solutions are to dig it all out or use the smother technique. To smother the weeds, apply dry molasses at about 2 lbs per 100 sq ft. Then cover the molasses with 1/2" of compost, followed by 3-5 layers of newspaper or butcher paper. One layer of cardboard will also work. Wet each layer thoroughly as it goes down. The final step is to cover it all with at least 2" of shredded native tree trimmings. Any weeds that make it through this barrier can be knocked back with vinegar or fatty acid product spray.

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