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Remember, city fertilizer ordinance starts June 1

May 17, 2013
By H.I. JEAN?SHIELDS - Special to The Breeze , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Wow, this weather has been nice this week, several days without high humidity, and cooler mornings are going to have us spoiled for the upcoming surge of rain and heat.

I know it is 5 weeks until our summer season starts, but that will be here a lot faster than we realize. There are a lot of things to do for gardeners between now and June 21.

I finally gave up and paid for someone to have the joy of mulching all around the house. The mulching itself isn't too bad, but if you have half an acre of healthy weeds to pull, an old senior citizen can get pretty discouraged, even damaged.

About a month ago during a spur of motivation to pull some weeds and tidy up some fat bushes around my homestead, I activated an old sciatica nerve problem. It seems that my daily walking regime and weekly tai chi class keep me in good enough physical shape to bend every which way but up and down pulling weeds!

I really enjoy walking and the quite time it allows me to enjoy not having to be multitasking and making decisions. Plus I meet some nice walkers with very nice dogs that appreciate a friendly pat.

Tai chi classes keep me from falling all over, clear the mind and help me to focus well. However, when I complain about needing more up and down exercise the instructor recommends things like 10 squats a day and some nice weight workouts? That is a lot of effort and, there are no friendly dogs to pat.

However, the mulch is settled in and all the many pots and garden art is back in place. It seems a good time to rest. NO, not yet. The sprinkler man will be over this week to replace a broken sprinkler and make sure the rest are sprinkling what they are aiming at.

With the summer rains coming soon you will not need to do as much watering as usual and you need to make sure you are not watering any concrete.

I only water twice a week in the winter anyway because I have a well established St. Augustine lawn and my long-time friendly cutter does a great job crisscrossing the cut and doing the correct height cut for the season.

The lawn is fertilized by a lawn company. I trust them to obey the Cape Coral Landscape Ordinance. Remember, June 1. The ordinance does not allow any fertilizer containing nitrogen and/or phosphorus on turf or landscape plants between June1 and Sept. 30. This restriction stands into October if there is a tropical storm watch or a later than usual hurricane watch or warning in effect.

Remember the fertilizer-free zone. No fertilizer containing nitrogen and/or phosphorus is to be used within 10 feet of the top of the seawall or any water body, canals, lakes wetlands, etc., except by hand dispersion.

Make sure to fertilize only the roots of palms and plants in this area. Do not allow any material to end up in any type of water, period.

You should be able to obtain a pamphlet entitled CAPE CORAL'S FERTILIZER ORDINANCE. Ordinance No. 86.10 at City Hall. It is free. This pamphlet says a lot more and city residents with property need to have a copy.

The City Code Compliance division will be enforcing this ordinance. You have two weeks to get that done.

I started a pot tomato about two weeks ago and it is doing well but will run into the heat of the summer faster than I would like. However, I am doing the small cherry tomatoes and they always tolerate the heat pretty well. I use a large 12-inch black plastic pot with a wire tomato cage. They do so well that sometimes I have to cut away the vine while it is still producing the lovely little darlings because the vine is just ragged and forlorn looking and I just need to put it out of its misery.

One of my son-in-laws brought me a bunch of his delicious medium sized tomatoes on Mother's Day. He is an old Ohio redneck and once he started a back yard garden early last year he was hooked.

His complaint this year is that the iguanas seem to be sleeping in his three rows of sweet corn and ruining his harvest.

Enjoy this weather but keep an eye out for what needs to be done before it becomes too hot, wet and humid. Oh, don't forget those pesky mosquitoes, which will start laying eggs in any water filled container setting around out there. You need to empty everything.

Before it gets too hot, take a day out to the beach. Digging in the soil is great but digging in the sand and shells is a nice change. The water is supposed to be in the 80s but last Monday when I was out on Sanibel to shell and admire the newly dredged Blind Pass area it felt more like 75 to me. Beaches were NOT crowded.

Happy gardening or beaching until we meet again.

H.I. Jean Shields is a past president of the Cape Coral Garden Club.



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