Week 47 Tips for the Zone 9 Garden

Well the law of averages may actually work this weekend.  According to historical data there is a 50% chance of a freeze in my area by November 22.  Weather.com is predicting that it will be 33 when I wake up on Sunday, November 22.  I would say that is getting pretty close the historical average.  .  If you still have things in garden I would suggest digging out the row cover and the Christmas lights.  Looks like we are going to need them.

VEGETABLES

organic_lettuce

Lettuce and spinach can be grown in most of Texas from September through early April.  Don’t have much room?  Grow them in pots and keep them close to the kitchen door!

  • Plant – Even though it is going to be cool for a few days you can still plant lettuce and spinach in most of the state. If you live north of the DFW metroplex you may need to grow them in a way that will allow you to quickly cover them for temperatures below 24 or the infrequent snow or ice storm.  Thanksgiving is about the last time that you can plant fava beans.
  • Harvest – I don’t know if it is true or not, but I have always heard that collard greens are “sweeter” if harvested after the first freeze. Well, 33 is pretty close to a freeze so I would say this will be a great week to harvest your collard and mustard greens.

ORNAMENTALS

Purple-pansy

Two of the most loved, and most durable cool weather flowers are pansies and violas. Now is a great time to put them out in most of Texas

  • Plant – It is finally cool enough to put out dianthus, snap dragons, pansies, violas and ornamental kale and cabbages. Prepare the soil by gently tilling in an inch or two of compost. You can still plant Texas wild flowers from seed in late November and early December.  Now is also a great time to plant two of my favorite spring flowers – larkspur and sweet peas.  Spread larkspur in a broadcast manner.  Plant sweet peas individually about an inch deep.  They will bloom now, stay small through the cool weather and then take off when the temperatures begin to warm up in March.
  • Prune – Some of the finer textured perennials like guara and salvia can be pruned back after the first freeze. I cut mine down to about 6” and mulch them fairly deeply.
  • Fertilize – Since the soil microbes take longer to break down your compost in the cooler temps it is a good idea to feed your ornamentals with a diluted, water soluble fertilizer for the first few weeks.

    growing-larkspur

    Broadcast lasrkspur seed now for to ensure you have lots of these beautiful reseeding annuals in the spring,

 

I share these posts on Our SimpleHomestead Blog Hop.  Be sure to stop by.  The “hop” has tons of great information from gardeners and homesteaders all over the world!

Signs of Spring

Right now, if you are a Zone 9 gardener, you are busy.  If you haven’t already gambled and done much of your spring planting, you will soon.  If you are not planting, you are weeding, tilling or otherwise preparing your beds and borders for all of the flowers and veggies to come.  Yes, it is definately a time of sore backs and aching muscles.

blog8 With so much to do, it is easy to overlook all of the amazing things that are happening all around us.  That is why I always make a point to walk around and observe all of the beautiful things that are beginning to make their spring show.

blog2 I love the things that produce every year with out any help from me.  My peach and plum trees are beginning to flower.  In my mind, there aren’t many things that are any prettier than the delicate pink blooms of the peach tree.

blog5 No Texas spring is complete without bluebonnets.  The winter drought is going to mean that there are fewer bluebonnets to enjoy this year.  However, one really is enough.

blog6 I absolutely love larkspur.  These self seeding annuals are as utterly dependable as my poppies and my bluebonnets.

blog1 Cherokee rose is an absolutely horrible plant.  It is full of thorns, it grows like a weed and it only blooms once.  However, this is the first “found rose” that I ever propogated.  Plus, I did it with my daughter.  So, despite all of the bad things about it, I will love it and keep it forever.

blog3 Even though I have several bulbs blooming now, I think the delicate leucojum (Snow Flakes) are my favorites.

A redbud in full bloom is a great reminder that spring really is here again

A redbud in full bloom is a great reminder that spring really is here again

By far, the biggest and showiest announcer of spring are the native Texas Redbuds.  The sight of their bright magenta blooms can bring cheer to the cloudiest day.