Blog posts categorized as: Edible Landscaping

Garden Look Nasty Post-Summer? Yep, Time to Refresh!

Sep 25, 2014

August has a tendency to get nasty with our landscapes. Come September when things start to cool down and we venture back out in to our gardens, it can look less than shiny. So, let's all get out there and start ripping stuff out, ok? It may still be a tad warm, but it is time to start getting cool season vegetable crops into the garden. You should start finding transplants of cole crops like broccoli, cabbage, kale and more at the garden centers now. You can also direct seed lettuce and Fava beans into your garden beds.

But before you get all planting-crazed, let's take a step back and make sure we're boosting the soil before we plant for fall. Now's the time to refresh your beds with organic compost, some humus and composted manures in the vegetable garden. Don't forget that even though you amend the soil, you still need to add in a fertilizer before you plant, especially for veggies. Organic matter has to be broken down my microbes first before nutrients are available to your plants, so don't expect the compost to "fertilize" your new plants right away.

Three Months of Green Industry Travel…Whew!

Aug 28, 2014

In the Green Industry, June,July and August are crammed with trade shows and conferences so that us plantgeeks can stay up to speed on all the new & cool plants, products and technology. My suitcase has pretty much stayed packed for the last three months! I'm happy to be back in Big D now and will be sharing photos and thoughts about all the garden goodies and landscapes I visited in my travels. Cinncinati, Columbus, New York, Portland and San Antonio...lots of photos to come!

My favorite new plant release so far...the Pixie grape! Tiny wine grape plant that grows to only 18". Perfect for patios!

I love black foliage...several great new colors of Black Diamond crapemyrtles will be available 2015

A non-invasive shrub forming trumpet vine? Wha?? Summer Fire Jazz Campsis is gorgeous!

Not that they won't melt here in Texas (can't say yet) but the King Terrazza series of roses are really beautiful. this is Comet.

I have tons of stuff to share, but it's going to take a bit to get through the photos!

Tomatoes setting fruit? Time to fertilize!

May 3, 2014

So, it's going to be 90 °F all weekend in Dallas y'all. Summer is right on schedule! If you planted your tomatoes on time and haven't been over-fertilizing through spring, you should be seeing baby fruits on the plants now. That means it's time to start a regular feeding regimen.

Tomato fruit halleck

When you continually fertilize tomato plants through spring, before they've set fruit, you can often end up with a whole lotta plant, but no tomatoes. Too much Nitrogen prior to flowering and fruit set will encourge plants to keep putting their energy into more green leafy growth, instead of into flowers and fruit production. That might be all fine and well in a more mild climate, but here in Texas you have to get plants flowering and setting fruit before the summer heat sets in. If you plant too late or over-fertilize in spring, plants can go into heat-delay and you get little to no harvest.

Best practice is to amend your soil with organic compost and composted manure at the beginning of the season and work in a dry organic fertilizer at time of planting. Then wait to feed again until plants start to set fruit.

Once baby fruit is about 1/4 it's mature size, start feeding your tomato plants with an organic tomato or vegetable fertilizer about every other week. That's a side-dressing of dry fertilizer. If you're using liquid feed, such as Hasta Gro, apply it to the roots and foliage weekly.  Apply and mix per the application rates on the package.

Cherry tomatoes will start to hit harvest time in mid- to late-May with slicers typically ready to pick in mid-June. Want to start your fall tomato transplants from seed? Do it now! Plant into the garden in late-June through early July.

Cocktail Gardening: First Day of Spring Spritzer

Mar 20, 2014

Ok, I don't know if this beverage actually qualifies as a "spritzer", but it sounded good in the title. To celebrate the first day of spring, we gals here at HH headquarters decided to partake of a bit of sunshine in a glass.


Photo by Nikki Rosen. Cocktail mixing and styling by Leslie Halleck .We're professionals.

On a whim, we through together  ice, 1.5 oz. homemade limoncello (complements of my BBFF Jimmy Turner's meyer lemon tree, of which I'm now in custody), a couple of splashes of club soda, some fresh lemon slices and a sprig of mint from the garden. Simple and refreshing. Perfect for this first and most beautiful day of spring. Cheers!

Lavender that thrives in North Texas

Jun 20, 2013

Lavender plants like dry hot it may seem like a no-brainer that Lavender should perform very well in Texas, right? Well, not so...Here in North Texas, we have particularly heavy clay soil that doesn't drain well when wet. This is the kiss of death for most lavender plants. Many Lavender plants don't even make it through their first year planted before they succumb to exces moisture.

Lavender goodwin creek

There are some varieties that perform better than others. I've had particularly good luck with  this 'Goodwin Creek'. Of course, you should alway plant your Lavender "high and dry" meaning plant it in a higher spot in the garden, so it receives better drainage, and don't plant it where it will receive excess irrigation. Plants need to dry between waterings. You can topdress your plants with expanded shale to keep moisture away from the crown of the plant. Always plant in full sun. If you've struggled with growing Lavender in the garden, give it a try in containers.

Lavender is also a favorite of the bees...bonus!

Malabar Spinach: Heat tolerant leafy green

Jun 17, 2013

For those of us that live in warm climates, we can't grow things like spinach and tomatoes at the same time....we actually have to split our edible growing seasons into "winter" and "summer". Spinach and other leafy greens thrive from fall through winter, but quickly bolt as our summer heat comes on. So how do you manage to keep in fresh leafy greens from the garden year round? Look for alternatives to the cool season greens; like Malabar Spinach.

Malabar spinach1

This beautiful warm-season vine produces fleshy edible spinach-like leaves on purple stems all summer long. Now, it doesn't taste exactly like spinach, but that might be a bonus to some at it has a milder flavor. You can use it just the same as you would spinach; by cooking older leaves and using small young leaves in fresh salads. Not to mention, it's a beautiful ornamental. I grow mine on decorative trellises or other supports.

Our Favorite Re-Seeders

Jun 12, 2013

I don't know about you but I'm a big fan of "re-seeders". Those are crops that "come true" from seed and volunteer themselves all over the garden. Now, some re-seeders can be a nuisance, yes, but re-seeding edible crops come in quite handy.  One of my favorite re-seeders is Dill.

Dill seed

My husband has asked me more than once..."so, why did you plant all this Dill again?" To which I always answer "I didn't, it planted itself". I suppose my front garden does contain what might seem to be a ridiculous number of Dill plants at this point, but they're just so pretty...and I happen to love Dill. There are of course other re-seeders in my garden, such as Arugula and Mexican Feather Grass. But none so prolific as the Dill. What are your favorite garden re-seeders?

Want to grow fall and winter vegetables?

Oct 31, 2012

SwisschardThink it's too late to get your cool season vegetable garden growing? Now way! You've got plenty of time. In much of the Southern part of the U.S., gardeners can grow vegetables year-round. In many places with extreme summers, fall and winter provide for much easier growing conditions and maintenance in the vegetable garden. Cool-season edibles like broccoli and kale can be grown for many months. It can be hard to make it to gardening classes on the weekends and the classes you want aren't always available. I get asked to teach many classes, but I can only be in so many places at once! So I've started making my programs available to take online. In Fall & Winter Vegetable Gardening 2012,  Learn how to get started on your cool-season vegetable garden with a comprehensive class that covers soils, amendments, timing, varieties, care, nutrients and more! This paticular class has 90 slides with audio and several handouts. Its about a 2-hour class, but the beauty is, you can long in, stop, start and review anytime you'd like...even in your pajamas! Classes are updated seasonally, which means you'll have 3-4 months to log in and review your class.

I'll have more classes coming soon so be sure to check back. I hope you'll give this class a shot and if you do please let me know your thougths!


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