Elbon Rye as a Cover Crop

Why Plant “Cover Crops”? I am sure that many of you have heard that it is good to plant a winter “cover crop” in unused areas of the garden. But do you know exactly what the benefits are? *One of the most beneficial reasons is that it gives you a chance to add valuable, inexpensive organic matter to the soil. Elbon (or Cereal) Rye is one of the best “green manure” cops for capturing nitrogen and returning it to the soil in the spring. (Do NOT confuse this with Annual [...]

By |2020-09-30T09:36:45-05:00September 27th, 2020|Insects, Vegetable Gardening|

Grow Spinach from Seed in the Garden

Growing Spinach from Seed             What are the secrets for growing spinach from seed successfully? Because many people have difficulty getting the seeds to germinate, I thought I would give a few helpful hints on getting the seed started, and helping the plants grow well once they are up. -Prepare soil with liberal amounts of organic matter. Incorporate fertilizer such as Happy Frog Tomato and Vegetable Fertilizer or Happy Frog Marine Cuisine prior to planting. -If your soil is heavy or tends to hold moisture for prolonged periods, plant in [...]

By |2020-09-26T13:28:19-05:00September 26th, 2020|Vegetable Gardening|

Soil Solarization

There are few things that we can do in the garden when it is 105°F outside, but there is ONE thing that we can do BEST when it is this hot. Soil solarization is a method that is used to kill weeds seeds, insects and disease that are in the soil prior to planting. The goal is to heat the top six inches of the soil to a temperature between 110° and 125°F for four to six weeks. These high temperatures are enough to kill most annual and perennial weed [...]

By |2020-08-15T17:17:43-05:00August 15th, 2020|Disease, Insects, Vegetable Gardening|

Tomato Tips

If you missed our Tomato Tips Seminar, I am happy to share the information here for you. Of course, we go over the information in more depth at the seminar, but here it is in a "nutshell"! Tomato Tips Timing: Plant as early as possible in Central Texas. Buy your transplants in February and transplant them to 1-gallon pots which you can move in and out according to the temperature. Tomatoes will not do well below 55 degrees but can be set out in the sun during the warmer days [...]

By |2020-02-25T16:03:55-06:00February 25th, 2020|Vegetable Gardening|

Beneficial Nematodes

Beneficial nematodes are microscopic, whitish to transparent, unsegmented worms. There are thousands of kinds of nematodes, each with their particular feeding preferences. Nematodes actively search for insects, insect pupa and insect larvae in places that are consistently moist. There are more than 250 susceptible insect species, including white grubs, termites, Peach tree borers, fire ants, stink bugs, fleas, chinch bugs, field crickets and flea beetles. What does this mean to you? Nematodes can be used instead of chemicals to control lawn and garden pests. Backbone Valley Nursery sells and recommends [...]

By |2020-02-24T14:15:36-06:00February 1st, 2020|Fruit & Nuts, Lawn Care, Vegetable Gardening|

Growing Onions in Central Texas

Growing Onions in Central Texas Upon Receipt: The plants you have received are alive and growing. If conditions exist that prevent you from planting them right away, spread them out in a cool, dry area. The roots and tops may begin to dry out, but they can live for up to 3 weeks off of the bulb. Your plants will revive as soon as planted, so plant them as quickly as possible. Onions should be planted 4-6 weeks before the last average spring freeze. In Zone 8, that is Jan. [...]

By |2020-01-26T13:16:37-06:00January 26th, 2020|Vegetable Gardening|

G – July Vegetable Gardening

Oh good gracious! Who ever heard of planting vegetables in Texas in July! As ridiculous as that may seem, NOW is the time to begin planting and planning for our fall gardens. Pull out those old, tired, diseased and insect ridden cucumbers, green beans and summer squash to make room for the late summer and fall crops that will begin producing more fresh produce for your table. If you aren’t planning on following up in these areas with watermelon or winter squash, till in some compost and let the area [...]

By |2020-08-11T09:45:18-05:00July 9th, 2019|Vegetable Gardening|

October Gardening Checklist

Vegetables: October is prime planting for many cool-season vegetables. Plant Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, and Cauliflower from transplants. Swiss chard, Kale, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Spinach, Collards, Lettuce, Mustard Greens, Asian Greens and Spinach may be planted from seed or transplants. Beets, carrots radishes, and cool-season peas such as snap, English and snow peas should be planted directly from seed. Be sure to follow directions on thinning carrots, beets, radishes, lettuce and spinach in order to produce a harvestable crop! October is the best month to plant Garlic from cloves separated from [...]

By |2020-06-10T16:21:48-05:00October 3rd, 2018|Lawn Care, Monthly Gardening Checklist, Vegetable Gardening|

Blossom-End Rot

If you have ever had the “blossom end” of a tomato turn black, you have experienced “blossom end rot”. Caused by cultural conditions, and NOT disease, this malady can affect tomatoes, peppers, squash, watermelon and eggplant. Researchers agree that it is caused by a calcium deficiency in the blossom end of the fruit (yes, these are technically fruits, as they are actually formed from the ovary of a flower!) Now, why there is a deficiency is the real question, as Central Texas soils and water supplies are seldom deficient in [...]

By |2020-07-22T16:23:10-05:00June 13th, 2018|Vegetable Gardening|

Squash Vine Borers

I don’t know about you, but I consider squash vine borers one of my garden’s worst enemies! Just when my squash vines are beginning to produce well, they suddenly go limp and die! Luckily, there IS something we can do to prevent or minimize the damage from this pesky insect. Understanding the life cycle of any pest is key to its management. The squash vine borer adult is a small wasp-like “clear-wing” moth with a reddish-orange abdomen. The adult moths emerge from their pupating stage in the soil in late [...]

By |2020-07-22T16:24:07-05:00April 18th, 2018|Insects, Vegetable Gardening|

Growing Potatoes

The old-timers always said to get your potatoes in the ground by Washington’s Birthday. Well, now that Washington and Lincoln’s birthdays have been combined, I guess we’ll have to say to get them in by “President’s Day”! Plan ahead by getting your seed potatoes about 5-7 days before planting. You will want to cut them into pieces with each containing an “eye”, and put them in a paper bag with some dusting sulfur to help prevent disease problems. Shake the pieces around in the bag until they are coated with [...]

By |2020-07-22T16:34:57-05:00February 14th, 2018|Vegetable Gardening|
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