Blog posts from June 2012

Time to plant fall tomatoes!

Jun 27, 2012

6a00d834533b6a69e20167676c84f8970b-800wiYep, so it's 106 degrees...but it's still time to plant your fall crop of tomatoes if you live in Texas...or other similar Southern climate. Most Determinate varieties of tomatoes planted in spring are finishing up their fruit production now. If you have green fruits on those plants, many may not ripen properly at this point due to the heat. You can harvest and allow them to ripen indoors. Pull those plants and compost them...UNLESS you've had bad problems with early blight or other fungal disease, in which case you may need to dispose of the plants completely.

Be sure to plant your new transplants a couple of inches deeper than where the plant emerges from the soil in the pot and add 2" of mulch. You'll have to keep plants hand-watered to get them established during the heat, but plants usually settle in pretty good. You can use floating row cover, frost cloth or shade cloth to protect plants for the first few weeks as they get acclimated and established. Get your transplants in the ground by mid-July for best fall production!

Some varieties I like for fall production include: 'Defiant', 'Golden Mama', 'Green Zebra', 'Yellow Pear', 'Celebrity', 'Red Grape', 'Sun Sugar', 'Super Sweet 100', 'Early Girl'.

Tomatoes not setting fruit, or ripening?

Jun 21, 2012

TomatobowlIt's about that time of year when I start getting asked a lot of questions about why your tomato plants either haven't set fruit, or are not ripening on the vine. The first question I'll always ask is "When did you plant them?"...if you're here in Texas, or similar Southern climates, and you tell me you planted on April 15th, then I'll yet again wag my finger at you and tell you "that's too late!' There is an optimal temperature range for both fruit set and ripening in tomatoes. If the average day/night temperature is hotter or colder than that optimal range, you'll have poor or no fruit set or ripening. That's why it's important to get tomato transplants in the ground as early as you can push it. Here in Texas, depending on the weather, you can plant as early as late February. Ideally, you'll get them in the ground mid-March. April 1st is my absolute cutoff for planting; so plants have time to mature, produce flowers and set fruit before temperatures get too hot. Now, I know some of you will say something like "well I have cherry tomatoes and they are still fruiting..." Yes, that's often the case with smaller-fruited varieties. They are generally more heat tolerant.

Starting this weekend, you can plant your second crop of fall tomato transplants. Get them in the ground by mid-July. The 4th of July is always a good target date.

If you want to read more specifics about fruit set, ripening an the effects of temperature on tomatoes, you can read THIS POST.

Welcome to the New Website & Blog!

Jun 19, 2012

Welcome to my newly re-vamped website and the new home of my growLively garden blog! I've been stirring a number of pots in different kitchens over the last few years so I decided it was finally time to get them all under one roof. I hope you'll enjoy purusing the blog and all my other content in one convenient place.

I've imported the entire growLively blog here, so you can read all of my original posts. If you were bumped here to the new blog from the old typepad location, there is a search field at the bottom of the page you can use to search out posts by topic.  Just type in the topic you were looking for and all those posts should show up for you to select from. As with any big move, sometimes a few things get left behind in the moving truck. So if you come accross any broken links to older posts or photos, just know that I'm working on it! Feel free to contact me if you find any kinks.

I have a lot of exciting things that will soon be available to you on the new website, such as online gardening classes, an e-newsletter, fun graphic tees and eventually webinars and chats. Keep an eye out on the site/blog as it will evolve quite a bit over the next few months. Don't forget to sign up for my free e-newsletter so I can keep you posted!

Happy Gardening!


P.S. To subscribe to the growLively blog feed go here:Feed-icon32x32 growLively by Halleck Horticultural

Mulching, Mulching, Mulching!

Jun 16, 2012

Mulching!Ok...we've gotten off easy the last couple of months with all the mild temps and rainfall...but SUMMER IS COMING... so it's time to mulch folks. That's what I'll be doing this weekend. Mulching all the new and old beds. On yard of mulch down...only 7 more to go. I think I'd better go ahead and take the ibuprofen now! yeeesh.

So, what are you folks doing in the garden this weekend?!

Dallas Backyard Chicken Sale, 6/16/12

Jun 15, 2012

6a00d834533b6a69e20167678fb3d7970b-800wiReady to pick up some birds for your backyard chicken flock? North Haven Gardens is hosting their monthly chicken sale tomorrow, Saturday 6/16 from 10am-1pm or until sold out. It's first come, first serve. Plus, NHG has some gorgeous plants in stock in the garden center right now and lots of it is on sale. With this mild weather and rainfall, it's a great time to plant!

Harvesting ‘Golden Mama’ Tomatoes

Jun 12, 2012

I've been harvesting some fruit off of my 'Golden Mama' tomato plants over the last few weeks, but the big haul is beginning to come in! I filled this obviously inadequately sized bowl to overflowing today, and there are plenty more fruits to come.


I'm also harvesting some wonderful 'Black Cherry' heirlooms. I've saved the larger fruit for slicing, but what to do with some of the smaller fruit? Well, one of my favorites and super easy thigns to do with cherry or small tomatoes is marinate them overnight, then roast them. So some of these babies will be going into a baking dish, drizzled with olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh rosemary from the garden.

I'll let the tomatoes marinate overnight, then tomorrow, I'll pop them into a 425F oven and roast them for 15-20 min (15 minutes is typically adequate for cherry sized tomatoes, I give it an extra 5 minutes for larger fruit). And there you have it, the most delicious soft warm tomatoes to serve on top of bread, crackers, or anything really. YUM. I wish it was tomorrow already!


Blue Agave as Living Fences in Ecuador

Jun 3, 2012


Just came across one of my shots of huge blue agaves in They were truly stunning! (Most of my travel photos end up being plants...I's a problem!)

Interestingly, small farmers use them to create living fence lines around their crops, like corn that you can see growing behind the agave, to keep the cattle out of the fields. It creates quite the fascinating landscape scene! Here, we'd drool over this impressive specimen as a pricey garden feature...But in case you're looking for a creative ideal to keep the deer out of the veggie ya go!

I pulled this photo because I was thinking about agave in general this morning. As we go into the heat of the summer here in the South, we're all looking for plants that will establish easily, even with heat and watering restrictions. If you have a good local nursery, you should be able to find there a variety of agave species in many colors and sizes to fit your needs. While you may not be building a living fence, you might simply be looking for some showy feature plants for containers on the patio or front stoop. You can plant agaves by themselves in large containers, or you can mix them with other succulents with similar water needs.

If you're intersted in learning to put together stunning succulent containers, and you're in the DFW area, you'll get a rare opportunity to learn how-to from Cody Hoya of Terrain Horticultural Design, on Saturday June 9th at 1pm, at North Haven Gardens in Dallas. You'll learn about the plants, concept, and maintenance for creative succlent containers. You leave the class with a good understanding of how to create a drought tolerant, modern, sculptural and beautiful design. At 2PM Cody will do a short pop-up class out in the garden center to talk about available succulents. Don't miss it!

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