Week 39 Tips for the Zone 9 Garden

Turns out I did not have to spray pesticides last weekend.  I discovered that the pest that was eating my brassicas was Gallus domesticas.  Gallus domestica is a large flying garden pest that is more commonly known as “the chicken”.  While my chickens have scratched things up a bit in the garden, they have never eaten the foliage of the brassica.  Guess they were looking  to expand their palate.  This weekend I will be replanting broccoli again (as I caught them eating the transplants I bought last weekend).  Below are some more things you can do in your garden this weekend.


Turns out two legged pests can be more destructive then insects!


  • Plant Sugar Snap Peas – Now is a great time to plant the American version of English peas. Sugar Snaps are kind of like rye grass.  Plant them when day and night temperatures are about 20 degrees apart.  Sugar Snaps vine so be sure to plant on some type of support.  I grow mine on cattle panels.  However, they will grow over any type of support you supply
  • Plant root crops from seed –. Now is a good time to plant root crops like beets, turnips, rutabagas, carrots, daikon, parsnip and radish. Beets, turnips and radish mature very quickly so you can get in several crops between now and April.  Carrots, daikon and parsnip mature more slowly.
  • Plant leeks and garlic – Now is a good time to plant garlic and leeks. I have some heirloom “Old German” leeks I will be planting this weekend
  • Plant artichokes and spring blooming lavender now – Lavender and artichokes are perrinials. Because of that they will both reward you with beautiful flowers and edible parts for years  If you don’t already have these plants get some and get them in the ground now.
There are so many varieties of radish and they all mature very quickly.  why not try a French Breakfast or Icicle radish this fall.

There are so many varieties of radish and they all mature very quickly. why not try a French Breakfast or Icicle radish this fall.


  • Fertilize blooming plants now – Right now my yard is bursting with color. Cannas, lantana, bulbs, zinnia, cockscomb, bachelor buttons and roses are all blooming profusely.  Feed with compost tea or other organic fertilizers and compost.  If using blended fertilizer apply 1 cup per ten fet of bed of a fertilizer with low N and high P and high K.  Something like a 10-20-10 is ideal.
  • Water fall blooming bulbs – Right now I have spider lilies, lycoris aurea and oxbloods up. Theie blooms last only a few days.  Keep the bulbs well watered to extend the blooms for a couple of days.
My spidelilies are blooming right now.  Give yours lots of water to extend their bloom time

My spidelilies are blooming right now. Give yours lots of water to extend their bloom time


  • Plant trees and shrubs now – Now is the absolute best time to plant ornamental trees and shrubs. Last year I planted two Empire Live Oaks for nationally known decorator Holly Mathis. Check out the post we did that explains how to properly plant all trees and shrubs.  One more thing, at this time of year many nurseries will have things like Vitex, crepe myrtles and wax myrtles marked down.  Visit your local nursery and look for deals.

Tip of the Week – Week 5 in the Zone 9 Garden

Between the threat of rain and the Super Bowl it may be hard to get out into the garden this weekend.  However, Thursday is supposed to be gorgeous and Friday will be nice.  If you can get outside on those days here are some tasks that can be done now: 


Right now is a great time to plant your salad fixings.  While lettuce (check out my in depth discussion of growing lettuce here)and spinach are the stars, don’t forget that the supporting players like radishes, beets, carrots, kale and mustard greens also can also be planted now.  These quick growing greens will be ready for harvest in about 45 days.  At that time you will be ready to thin your onions and use them in the salad.


Now is a great time to replant lettuce. My favorites are buttercrisp and black seeded Simpson

Right now is also a good time to start adding compost to your beds.  I sprinkle a couple of inches over the areas I am going to plant in March and cover with spoiled hay.  It is not warm enough for the compost to start breaking down.  However, in conjunction with the hay, it acts as a great mulch that will suppress many spring weeds.  It will also feed the worms that will begin taking it down into the soil for you.


As you know I am a big supporter of field grown flower farmers.  Right now my friend Mike at Prickly Pair Farm is planting ammi, stattice and dianthus under cover.  You can start the same flowers indoors now.  Growing from seed is the best way I know to have a ton of flowers for spring planting without spending a ton of money.


Right now is a great time to begin adding compost to the beds that you will be planting in the March


I have a couple hundred daffodils planted in my yard.  As I walked around yesterday looking to see if they had broken ground I noticed lots of some very bad weeds beginning to make a stand.  Dandelions and thistles are beginning to come on strong.  These are easy to take care of with a good sharp hoe.  However, my true weed nemesis is Queen Anne’s Lace.  Queen Anne’s Lace is actually wild carrot.  Right now it is forming its cluster of leaves on the ground.  I leave it alone until it sends up its flower stalk then I pull it up, white carrot root and all.

****Be sure to check out my friend Bart’s blog (Our Garden View) for more great tips for the Central and South Central garden!

This post has been shared on the HomeAcre Hop.  Be sure to stop by the hop.  Tons of great information from gardeners and homesteaders all over the world!

Radishes – The Perfect “Prepper” Plant

Yesterday I harvested a big bunch of radishes.  My wife usually gets excited when I bring things in from the garden.  However, radishes are an exception.  You see, she is a radish hater.  I have found that she is not alone.  If I ever have anything left over from the garden I generally have a list of people that are ready to take it.  Not so with radishes.  Seems like the world is full of two types of people:  those that love radishes and those that don’t.

A very lovely bunch of radishes from the fall potager. Photo by my lovely wife

I am proud to say that I am a radish lover.  I love how easy they are to grow and I love the way they taste.  I love the way their crispy texture and pungent flesh add a spicy little surprise to my salad.  I love to pour a mound of salt into the palm of my hand and dip raw radishes directly into it just like I did with my dad when I was little.  Heck, I even like radishes for breakfast!  One of my favorite breakfasts consists of a boiled egg, a big slice of sharp cheddar cheese and a handful of French Breakfast radishes.

As much as I love radishes, I will be the first to admit their uses are somewhat limited.  Google up radish recipes and you will not get too many interesting results.  I discovered this fact while trying to figure out what do with my latest harvest.  This lack of results got me to thinking.  What could I come up with to elevate the status of the lowly radish?  Something that is this easy to grow, tasty and good for you should be more celebrated.  Then it hit me.  Radishes posses a ton of traits that make them the perfect plant for “preppers”.


Every part of the radish is edible, even the greens. Photo by Sally White

Are you familiar with the “prepper” movement?  “Preppers are people that believe there is a very high probability that something really bad is going to happen to the U.S.  in the near future.  Whatever this really bad thing is (asteroid, nuclear attack, economic collapse), it is going to be bad enough that it will force all of us that want to survive to be a whole lot more self reliant.  In order to be prepared for “the undefined really bad thing that is most likely going to happen sometime”, preppers do things like stock pile food, water and seeds to ensure their families can survive the rough times. 

If you are a “prepper”, I believe radish seeds should be a pretty important part of your initial survival kit.  Below are three really good reasons why I believe radishes are the perfect “prepper” plant:

1.  Easy to Grow – Radishes are so fool proof that I truly believe their seeds have a 100% germination rate regardless of variety.  To grow radishes simply place the seeds about 2” apart in a sunny location and cover with about ¼” of soil.  Water in and keep moist until germination.  After germination, continue to apply about 1” of water per week.  The plants will go from seed to plate in as few as 30 days. 

One quick note, radishes are generally a cool season crop.  Most of the short cycle radishes will not grow during the hottest times of the year.

2. Nutritious – Every part of the radish is edible and every part is good for you.  Radishes can go from seed to seedling in 10 to 15 days and then to full grown root with edible top in two more weeks.  The “greens” and roots are high in Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), folic acid, potassium, vitamin B6 and calcium.   With their high germination rates, rapid growth rates and high nutritional content, radishes will allow you to quickly supplement your food stores with fresh greens and veggies.

3. Storage – Since radishes are root crops they can be stored in root cellars for very long periods of time.  The ascorbic acid in them is not depleted in storage and will fend off scurvy just as well as citrus.  Radishes can also be pickled to further extend their shelf life.

So there you go!  Radishes are tasty, healthy and versatile.  Their ease of cultivation and rapid growth rate make them a great plant to have with you if you need to quickly be able to start feeding yourself and your family.  I hope preppers every where take my advice and finally give the lowly radish some much deserved respect!

A mature radish next to radish foliage ten days after planting. These young sprouts are very tasty and very nutritious