Planting the 2012 Spring Potager

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?

A "found" Cherokee rose that I propogated from cuttings now spills over the fence of my potager

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.

Salvia and daiseys in last years potager

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.

The hibiscus like flowers of okra

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.


I am very proud to announce that I have joined the team of the very talented writers, photographers and editors that bring you TEXAS LIVE magazine.   I will be doing a regular garden column that focuses on the organic growing tips that will allow you to grow the best plants possible in the very tough and unpredictable Texas climate.  My first article explains the “hows” and “whys” of soil preparation.  It also includes suggested planting times for the most commonly grown flowers, veggies, perennials, fruit trees and berries in the state.

TEXAS LIVE is an incredibly beautiful and informative magazine that covers the very best of “All Things Texan.”   My wife and I devour every issue.  We particularly love the Home and Garden section (no surprise there).  Each month, this section allows us to peek inside some truly amazing “country homes” that have been decorated by some very talented Texas designers.  Since Sally and I have been remodeling our own “country house” for the past five years each of these featured homes are an invaluable source of ideas and inspiration.

This month's issue of TEXAS LIVE features "Farmhouse Round Top". This is one of the beautiful guest rooms remodeled and styled by Beverly and Mike Corte.

When we are not gardening, remodeling or decorating we love to travel.  If we get the chance to run away for a few days we can count on TEXAS LIVE to tell us where to go, what to see, where to shop, where to stay and what to eat once we get there. 

The “LIVE” part of the TEXAS LIVE name is actually an acronym that stands for Luxurious, Informative, Vibrant, and Entertaining.   Those four words perfectly capture the essence of this beautiful and entertaining magazine.   You can find TEXAS LIVE in many of the businesses that are featured in its pages.  You can also buy it at your local HEB, Super WalMart, Books a Million, Barnes and Noble, and the Austin airport. The magazine usually sells out on newsstands, so go ahead and subscribe to ensure that you don’t miss a single issue.   

The writers at TEXAS LIVE are dedicated to finding the best of everything that Texas has to offer.  However, since Texas is a really big place it is impossible to for this small group of dedicated reporters to find and report on all that is wonderful in the greatest state in the America.  So, if you have an idea for a story, or you would like to contribute, feel free to drop them a line.  They are always looking for new story ideas, writers, and photographers.