Skip to comments.Weekly Gardening Thread (Vacation) Vol. 6, February 10, 2012
Posted on 02/10/2012 2:56:54 PM PST by Ellendra
Good morning Gardeners!!!!
I know I'm not part of your usual cast of gardening threadmasters, but it's afternoon here and the thread hasn't arrived yet! So I'm going to start one, and if it turns out later that I shouldn't have, then I'll appologize really nicely.
The Weekly Gardening Thread is a weekly gathering of folks that love soil, seeds and plants of all kinds. From complete newbies that are looking to start that first potted plant, to gardeners with some acreage, to Master Gardener level and beyond, we would love to hear from you.
This thread is non-political, although you will find that most here are conservative folks. No matter what, you wont be flamed and the only dumb question is the one that isnt asked.
It is impossible to hijack the Weekly Gardening Thread ... there is no telling where it will go and that is part of the fun and interest. Jump in and join us!
You need to know your last frost date.
Most seed packets will tell you when to start seeds.. Usually 4-6 weeks prior to setting out.
Count back from your last frost date.
Cold hardy plants can usually go out about a month before last frost date.
How do you find out what the average last frost date is?
We’re still getting frost. Heck, it’s snowing right now, even though the robins have returned and the bulbs are coming up.
I did a search and it appears April 15th is the average last frost date in Philadelphia area.
You might Google your city/county for “average last frost date,” or contact your nearest agricultural extension office. Here we have quite a few Master Gardner volunteers who can offer good advice.
San Antonio has an average last frost date of 15 March. But Googling before posting this reply I noticed a few sites list our average last frost date as falling on 23 or 24 March. We had a few late freezes last year, so averages being averages, they can change.
Some good advice I’ve never strictly followed is to wait two weeks after the average last frost date before transplanting. Usually by the time I transplant everything I’ve hit that two week waiting period. And, I compulsively seed far more plants than I possibly could ever fit into my little backyard garden. Can’t seem to help myself. If I get surprised by a cold snap, I’ve got plenty of reserves to take their place.
Otherwise, I am just hibernating from the cold and planning next spring’s garden. Have a good weekend. God Bless.
What was your search string to come up with that info?
And I suppose if you plant late, even four weeks after the actual last-frost date, you’ll still get a crop, right? It just may not reach the fullest potential because it will be growing later into the season (that is, when the cold weather returns)? Would this be correct, or do crops have a peak and if you plant too late, you simply miss it and will not have a crop?
Just wanted to remind everyone that the Indian line of peppers: Mohawk, Apache, and the ancho are freeze-hardy.
The ones I grew last year not only survived the drought, but then freezes and a 25o freeze last night. The new green shoots coming off the sides of the trunks did not freeze.
And these aren’t even in the ground, they’re in containers sitting on the deck with the lake whipping cold wind at them.
Around these parts - East Central Mississippi - the lore is to wait 4 weeks after the last T-Storm in February! Heard it from an elderly Black Woman at the county co-op. I wonder if the same Voodoo will work in North East Tx?
Hey L, we saw snow flurries today. There were winter mix piles on the north sides of trees. Thanks for the info on peppers. I’ll be planting those later this week.
Check with your county extension office.
Your zone on the map will give you a rough idea but there are micro climates inside zones.
Higher elevations tend to be a bit cooler and more prone to frost.
It really only matters with hot weather crops..Stuff that can handle the cold is quite a bit more tolerant.. Anything over 40 will leave transplants happy.
I had sleet all over my decks when I got home.
My 4 maters are ship-shape after being domed over with a big bucket last night.
I have exactly 4 strawberries getting fat from 8 plants, and I am buying more this weekend.
Thank you for the information. I’ll look for them.
Did you buy the plants or did your Mohawk and Apache grow from seed?
How did your seer predict the last thunder storm in Feburary for East Central Mississippi?
There is usually some story worth heeding about those who predict weather. LOL!
Your comment was really great!
“Did you buy the plants or did your Mohawk and Apache grow from seed?”
These varieties are available in Texas?
Well you don’t predict you actually live through it and mark the date of each T-Storm in Feb. Or check the weather history. :)
Thank you Racehorse, I’ll check the feed stores and nurserys the next time we go to Waco. A couple of my tomatoe plants are poking up through the soil.
I was told by a local farmer not to put out my tomatoe plants until the mesquite begin to bud out. So I’ll try that. I have a small fan and when the tomatoe plants are up a bit, I’m going to turn the fan on them, so their stems will be strong, but I can’t decide to put the fan above the plants or to one side.
I’ve noticed the soil in our raised beds have dropped about 6 inches. I’m wondering now, should I add just more compost and have a soil tested, or mix more compost and soil/potting soil, mix it into what’s there now, to bring it up to desired level then have it tested. Should I add epson salt to the mix? Right now the compost has horse litter and llama pellets in it, and we’ll be getting some chicken litter shortly.
Waco had snow flurries, yesterday and when Hubby was doing his late afternoon run, he says he ran into a couple of snow flakes.
We were coming home from Austin and the snow made for some nice hill country scenes. It was very heavy on 1431 for quite some time.
I would put the fan to the side and rotate your flat of tomatoes every so often.
If it were me I would take soil samples and have it tested first. Then add the recommended additions and add in the compost. More Compost can only help IMO.
You sound like you’re adding a LOT of nitrogen. Get the soil test.
Ok, I’ll do that. Thank you. Sometimes I put the cart before the horse.
Arrowhead, I do miss the snow, really. We did have have a bit, here, in our little hollow last winter, about 2 inches but it was gone by 1400 hours. I’ll bet the ride through the hill country was beautiful.
Ok Red, I’ll rotate the tomatoe plants, because they may be good sized by the time the mesquites begin to bud. They should be good and strong.
Ok, I’ll have the soil tested then see what they recommend. We have a nice A&M county agent and he’ll have to explain everything found in the beds.
I have no idea.
For Christmas I gave my daughter-in-law an 8’ x 12’ x 12” cedar raised plsnter. Imagine my son and I will put it together next month, fill it in, and plant stuff, mostly from seed I’ve grown indoors. No doubt the filler will settle.
Planted last Fall and growing nicely through the Winter in my little garden are broccoli, cabbage,snap and snow peas, garlic (first time and doing really well), and several hundred Texas Sweet and Red onions, in hand-turned amended soil.
We’re in what passes for the rainy season in San Antonio. When I pick onions (every other one so the alternates grow full size)the soil is so compacted about a quarter break off at ground level and I dig the bulbs up with my fingers. This is in over several years’ well amended soil.
I do not compost. Not from kitchen or yard, anyway. I cheat. I buy liquid compost and drench every inch of my little garden before I transplant . . . which will probably be in about four weeks . . . I say, crossing fingers.
Others posting in this thread are far more experienced and more successful than me, but except for the whims of nature (weather: too much or too little rain; too cold; or, too hot) my results have been rather good for a backyard gardner. Biggest problem has been bugs, pests and plant disease. I’m still figuring out how to defeat those three.
When my daughter-in-law’s brand new raised garden settles, I suppose we’ll drench it with store-bought liquid compost and fill it in with with store-bought garden soil. In the Fall, I imagine we’ll hand turn the soil, give it a liquid compost bath, add a bag or two of pre-fertilized garden soil, and see what happens.
My garden space consists of two in-ground sections: one about 12’ x 25’; one 4’ x 8’; 15 15-gallon pots (5 growing Mexican Lime, Mandarin Orange, Meyer Lemon and a really pitiful avocado tree which does not produce fruit, yet, but refuses to die); 10 5-gallon buckets; and 4 Earth Boxes (though folks in the thread can tell you how to make your own just as good or better, I think next week I’ll buy two more. They work!).
Compacting is natural. Unless roots are exposed by the settling, I add nothing. Will be most interested to read what others advise.
Oh, I do add epson salt when transplanting (along with fertilizer and worm castings). Last Spring, for the first time in years, almost all varieties of my first tomatoes were stricken with blossom end rot. Some really experienced people say there is nothing to be done about BER. After adding Epsom Salt to the mix, didn’t have a problem with the Fall tomatoes. Ask me later how my maters did this Spring.
Really excited about my daughter’s-in-law raised garden. I think I’m more excited than she, and she is really excited. Maybe we’ll do pictures!
You really should think about composting your yard waste - grass clippings leaves etc. One of the biggest benefits to real compost is that it improves your soil structure and conditions the soil. it also increases the water-holding capacity of soil, reducing the frequency you need to water. Adding compost improves sandy and clay soils. Plant growth nutrients in compost include nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. They are mostly in an organic form, and they release slowly and are less subject to leaching.
Where did you get your worm casings? I’ve made one site for night crawlers. I haven’t dug around to see if they’ve take up residence, yet.
I'm about to learn how my worm population fares. Last Spring the soil was loaded with healthy looking worms. In the Fall when I hand turned the ground there were not so many -- that I could see, anyway. The product description says the castings "may" include worm eggs. Hope so!
I know you’re right. But doesn’t composting take a lot of time, like months? I certainly have space for a small composting pile.
Especially this year I will not have a lot of lawn waste. Last summer’s drought and watering restrictions left the backyard a patchwork of dead cover. When things warm up I desperately need to lay down new grass. And, I’ve already churned up my leaves with my mulching mower—the lawn probably needs the compost more, at least for this year.
Your advice is undeniably persuasive. Just need to figure out how to get it done. Thanks, again.
Thank you Racehorse.
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