March 15 is the ultimate go date in the Zone 9 garden. At this point there is an almost 0% chance of a freeze. Because of this you can now plant just about everything. I have to admit, I am a little behind the curve this year. The rain, while much needed and much appreciated, has seemed to come at times that have interfered with my time off. Who would believe that after last’s year’s drought, I would be delayed in my planting by rain?
As soon as it dries up a little, I am going to plant the potager. I love selecting and designing with the plants that are going to go into the potager. Each year I replant it gets a little easier. I learn which plants do well and I also figure out their size and scale when mature.
A lot of my outside beds are now filled with perennials. I have lots of salvia, roses and dianthus. I also have lots of herbs like rosemary and Mexican Mint Marigold (Tagetes lucida). There are also Egyptian Walking Onions, larkspur and hollyhocks. The only thing that will need to be pulled this spring is the garlic. In the open spaces in these outside beds I am going to plant several herbs. On a recent visit to Texas Specialty Cut Flowers, my wife bought several varieties of peppers. I have also grown some pimento peppers and Napoleon Sweet Bell peppers from seed. These will go toward the back of the beds with a few varieties of basil that we have saved from seed. Along the front, we will be planting parsley, oregano, lavender and thyme.
The center beds are going to be all for vegetables. The look of the triangular beds will not change dramatically. As a “spiller”, I will replace the spinach and lettuce with Contender Bush beans. Beans are a pretty quick crop so when they fade around June 1, I will pull them up and replant with purple hulled black-eyed peas. For my “filler” I will divide the shallots that are there now and leave a few behind the beans so they can divide for replanting in the fall. Finally, I will plant Black From Tula heirloom tomatoes that I have grown from seed as my “thriller” on the trellises in the center of the beds.
The last bed in the potager is the center diamond shaped bed. Right now it is full of byzantine gladiolus. Once these bloom and fade I will plant a lovely red okra. The okra needs to be planted in June anyway so this work out well for me. I selected okra for this bed because it grows a pretty, nice, tall and structural plant. Okra is in the hibiscus family. Because of this, it produces very large and lovely flowers that look just like hibiscus.
Right now is a great time to be outside. The martins have returned, the bluebonnets are in full bloom and the fruit trees are in bud. Why not get outside this week and plant your garden? Below is a list of some of the veggies that you can plant now.