Squash Bugs

Squash bugs are appearing in numbers now on leaves of squash and related plants such as pumpkins, melons, and cucumbers.     Nymphs hatch from eggs laid on the underside of leaves near the crown of the plant.           Nymphs are green and red, about 1/8” long and appear clustered in groups at first. As they develop into adults through five instars (stages) they disperse themselves on the plants.         Adult Squash bugs are grayish brown, with short orange stripes around the edge [...]

By |2022-04-18T11:58:45-05:00April 18th, 2022|Vegetable Gardening, Insects|

Sweet Potato Varieties

    Beauregard: (90-100 days) An outstanding release that is widely grown for sweetness and high yields with uniform tubers. Resistant to soil rot and white grubs as well as cracking.     Photo courtesy of Steele Plant Farm     Georgia Jet: (90-100 days) Extremely fast growth followed by nice sized potatoes in just 90 days. Sweet orange flesh and sugary aroma make this top for baking. Can be grown in a 20 gallon grow tub.     Photo courtesy of Steele Plant Farm   Vardaman: (100 days) Bush [...]

By |2022-04-18T10:45:27-05:00April 18th, 2022|Vegetable Gardening, Fruit & Nuts|

Onion Varieties for Central Texas

Short Day Onion Varieties for Central Texas: “Short-day” onion varieties quit forming leaves and begin forming bulbs when the day length reaches 10-12 hours, and are best for Southern Gardens. The following varieties have proven to be the best for Central Texas.     1015Y:  This globe-shaped onion up to 6” wide is named after the ideal date the seed is planted (October 15). The off-white flesh is sweet and great for cooking, salads, etc. It takes  about 115 days from planting to harvest. Storage potential is 2-3 months. Photo [...]

By |2022-01-25T11:02:41-06:00January 25th, 2022|Vegetable Gardening|

Vegetable Planting Guide for Central Texas

We all know that Central Texas can be a challenge to grow a vegetable garden in. Fortunately, we have the opportunity to plant in both the spring and fall, so if the weather goes awry in the spring, we can try again in the fall. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension agents have put together a wonderful planting guide for vegetable gardening in our area. Pay careful attention to the "seed" or "transplant" recommendations. If the guide says "transplant" and you plan on starting your own from seed you will need to [...]

By |2021-08-18T11:53:38-05:00August 18th, 2021|Vegetable Gardening|

Root Knot Nematodes

Root Knot Nematodes (Meloidogyne spp.) are parasitic microscopic worm-like animals that infest plant roots and interfere with the uptake of water and nutrients. Infected plants will appear stunted, they may wilt on hot days even though soil is moist, they may have chlorotic or light green leaves and usually have reduced yields.       The roots will have "knots" on them where the nematode has entered the plant, and the "knots" do not come off easily, as can be seen on this nematode infested potato.         [...]

By |2022-01-15T12:07:30-06:00July 21st, 2021|Plants, Vegetable Gardening, Disease, Fruit & Nuts|

Early Blight of Tomato

Early Blight is a common fungal disease of tomatoes caused by the fungal organism Alternaria solani. As with most disease, stressed plants or plants in poor health are more susceptible. This disease can also affect potatoes. The Early Blight fungus generally starts at the bottom of the plant, affecting leaves, stems, and fruits. Dark spots with concentric rings develop on the leaves, and if the fruit is affected spots begin at the stem end, forming a dark sunken area with concentric rings. The fungus often overwinters in debris from the [...]

By |2022-01-15T12:10:02-06:00June 29th, 2021|Vegetable Gardening, Disease|

Imported Fire Ant Control

Face it, we have all had run-ins with Fire Ant mounds and the painful blisters that form after they bite. Children, pets, and wildlife are especially vulnerable, as they are often unaware of the mounds until the ants begin biting. There are several options for controlling (but unfortunately not eradicating) Imported Fire Ants: The Two Step Method: Step One involves broadcasting a fire ant bait over the entire area once or twice a year. This has the potential for reducing the colonies by 80-90%. Apply baits in the evening when [...]

By |2022-01-15T12:27:23-06:00May 19th, 2021|Vegetable Gardening, Insects, Lawn Care|

Bacterial Leaf Spot on Peppers

This devastating disease can infect peppers and tomatoes. Prevention is the key, as once the disease has taken hold treatment is not effective. Bacterial leaf spot causes lesions that look like they are soaked with water. The spots usually appear on the lower leaves first, and as the disease progresses the spots are purple brown with a light brown center. When the spots appear on the peppers, they cause spotting and raised cracks, which open the fruit up to infection by other disease organisms. There are no resistant varieties and [...]

By |2022-01-15T12:28:04-06:00May 12th, 2021|Vegetable Gardening, Disease|

Tomato Leaf Curl

Most gardeners have experienced leaf curl on tomatoes at one time or another. It is important to understand the cause so that you can make the decision on whether it is necessary to remove the plant from the garden or not. Some causes are environmental and may be attributed to physiological conditions. When this is the case, removal of the plant is unnecessary. Leaf Roll, aka Physiological Leaf Curl, is often seen during excessively moist, cool conditions. The leaf rolls “upward” and becomes leathery in texture. Curling leaves may also [...]

By |2022-01-15T12:28:56-06:00May 12th, 2021|Vegetable Gardening, Disease|

Pepper Leaf Spot

I know that I am not the only one who has had this disease on their peppers. It appears in the late spring to summer when we have had frequent rainfall. Of course, if you are overhead watering, you would see it as well. Bacterial leaf spot on peppers can be a devastating disease if not caught and treated early. This is why I always preach that your garden needs to be in sight of your house so that you can check it often. This disease is often fatal once [...]

By |2022-01-15T12:29:54-06:00May 5th, 2021|Vegetable Gardening, Disease|

After the Freeze 2021

Freeze Damage to Plants I am sure everyone is anxious to know what damage the extreme cold temperatures have done to our landscapes. Unfortunately, it is too early to tell in most cases. You will hear me repeat this, I am certain, but “time will tell”. I know it is difficult to have patience, but because there are so many factors that can influence how a plant might be affected, that is exactly what we will have to do. Try to get used to the “ugly landscape”, as we really [...]

Determinate vs. Indeterminate Tomatoes

When you come to Backbone Valley Nursery to peruse the many different varieties of tomatoes that we have to offer, you will see them labeled as “determinate” or “indeterminate”. What, exactly, does that mean? “Determinate” and “Indeterminate” classifications in tomatoes refers to their growth and flowering/fruiting habits, and can help you in your selection for different growing situations. “Determinate” type tomatoes flower and fruit until the very top of the plant produces flowers, then it stops growing any taller. All the fruit produced up until that time will then continue [...]

By |2022-01-15T12:31:38-06:00January 12th, 2021|Vegetable Gardening|
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