Blog posts from January 2012
Jan 20, 2012
So, it's already spring for me...if you were wondering why I haven't been posting much, I've been busy herding cats!
I just have a minute, but I know you guys are wanting to know what to plant right now. So here is a list to get you going:
Seed Indoors: Tomatoes (must do it NOW), Peppers, eggplant, salad greens, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, cilantro, parsley and the like. Remember, you must provide supplemental grow lighting when starting seeds indoors. I consider a heat-mat also mandatory for warm season crops (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant).
Direct Seed Outdoors: In about a week (Feb. 1), you'll want to start seeding a whole mess 'o things outdoors...seed potatoes, asparagus, rhubarb, horseradish, carrots, beets, peas, kohlrabi, turnps, scallions and more.
Plant Outdoors (Transplants): onions (through January), leeks, kale, lettuce, mustard greens, spinach, Swiss chard, cilantro (Next week - broccoli, cabbage etc). ALL TREES...shade trees, fruit trees, shrubs, blackberries, raspberries, dewberries, grape vines, hardy groundcovers and perennials, cool-season color (Calendula, alyssum, Gerber daisy, Diascia, pansies, violas, poppies...)
For my new and improved seeding/planting date handouts you can follow these links:
Jan 13, 2012
January is when educational gardening programs really get into full swing. So make sure to mark your calendar for some upcoming opportunities.
I will be teaching a "Water Right Workshop" Tomorrow (January 14th, 2012) at North Haven Gardens from 11am-Noon (learn about watering restrictions and how to work within them), Then I'll do a "Spring Vegetable Garden" overview from 2:30pm-3:30pm. Both free! It's going to be a beautiful gardening weekend so be sure to stop by!
On January 18th from Noon-1:30pm, I'll teach you the basics of how to grow Fantastic Tomatoes!
Then, Don't miss the Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association conference coming up Feb. 17-19th. On Saturday the 18th, I'll be giving a programs on Edible Ornamentals at 1pm, and then Backyard Chickens at 4pm! http://www.tofga.org/2012_program
I have more programs listed at www.lesliehalleck.com
Jan 6, 2012
If you live in N. Texas, now through the end of January is the time to plant your onion sets and slips! Good onion production relys heavily on both soil temperature and day-length after emerging so it's crucial to plant them on schedule. In our region, you need to plant Short-day type varieties (in case you've been flipping through seed catalogs).
Plant your slips about 4-5" apart and about 3-4" deep (don't bury the green portion). Onion sets (bulblets) can be planted the same distance apart and about 2" deep. Onions are traditionally heavy Nitrogen feeders so about 3 weeks after planting (when you see green tops emerging from the sets) start feeding with a good veggie fertilizer. Sidedress your onions about every 2-3 weeks. When tops start to yellow in late spring, stop feeding and watering. Let the tops start to die down...and about 2-3 weeks later you'll harvest your onions.
Onions then need to "cure", after harvest which basically means to dry/harden off. You can of course use your freshly harvested onions in the kitchen for cooking, but if you plan to store them you need to cure them for 2-3 weeks before you bring them indoors or put them in a refrigerator. You can simply lay them out in flats in a dry covered area. The bulb will pull the remaining nutrients out of the top green foliage, which will turn completely brown and the neck will harden. At this point, you can cut off the tops and store your onions in mesh onion bags.
Visit your local independent garden centter for more growing information and to buy your slips/sets, pronto!