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|

January Vegetable Planting List

JANUARY VEGETABLE PLANTING Asian greens (seeds or transplants) Asparagus crowns Beets Broccoli (transplants) late month thru Feb. Brussels sprouts (transplants) late month thru Feb. Cabbage (transplants) late month thru Feb. Carrots Cauliflower (transplants) late month thru Feb. Swiss chard (seeds or transplants) Collards (seeds or transplants) late month thru Feb. Kale (seeds or transplants) Kohlrabi (seeds or transplants) Leeks (seeds or transplants) Lettuce (seeds or transplants) Mustard (seeds or transplants) Onion, bulbing (transplants) Peas, English, Snap or Snow Potato  (seed potatoes) late month thru Feb. Radish Spinach (seeds or transplants) [...]

By |2022-01-04T15:47:34-06:00January 3rd, 2021|Vegetable Gardening|

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 |2020-12-02T08:28:55-06:00September 27th, 2020|Vegetable Gardening, Insects|

Grow Spinach from Seed in the Garden

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 raised beds using the “ridge [...]

By |2022-01-15T12:36:13-06:00September 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 |2020-12-02T08:28:56-06:00August 15th, 2020|Disease, Insects, Vegetable Gardening|

Tomato Tips

  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 until mid-March, when they can be planted directly into the garden. Your plants will likely have flowers and fruit on them when you set them out! Container or In-ground: Containers should be a minimum of 15 [...]

By |2022-02-07T13:12:05-06:00February 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|Vegetable Gardening, Fruit & Nuts, Lawn Care|

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. Do not water them. 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 [...]

By |2022-01-25T09:44:53-06:00January 26th, 2020|Vegetable Gardening|

G – July Gardening Checklist

Vegetables:  Vegetable planting is still going on-just be sure to water new seedlings well and often! Don’t let them dry out while they are germinating and getting their “true” leaves, as moisture is critical at this stage. Fall vegetable gardening in many ways can be better than a spring garden in Central Texas. Believe it or not, we plant tomato plants for “fall” tomatoes in July!  We suggest choosing either a “determinate” type tomato (see info sheet), or a variety that has 60-70 “days to harvest”. I have also grown [...]

By |2022-01-09T13:06:14-06:00July 9th, 2019|Vegetable Gardening|

J – 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 |2021-12-29T10:58:01-06:00October 3rd, 2018|Vegetable Gardening, Lawn Care, Monthly Gardening Checklist|

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 [...]

By |2022-04-25T11:53:36-05:00April 18th, 2018|Vegetable Gardening, Insects|
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