ZONE 8 - SPRING season 2012

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

It looks like Spring is already here in Dallas.
The sky is blue, the birds are singing and I have a huge problem of "garden fever".
Am I the only one?

Let's start to talk about what you are already started indoor and outdoor in ZONE 8.

I'd like to start this thread and thank everybody that in the previous year’s help me a lot with my gardening.
I would have not be able to learn so much without the help of fantastic Davesgarden members.

I am going to begin with the hero of the spring and early summer season here in Zone 8: TOMATOES

I started my tomatoes indoor in December and I did plant out 40 plants last Friday.
The plants are under a hoop house and doing well.

PEPPERS: This year I did start on January 12th
I am growing only sweet peppers.
I have already potted the best seedlings up to a 6" pot.
I am planning to transplant them out end of March - beginning of April.

Last year I did transplant my peppers too early - and some did get stunt ... I think

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Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

Half of my peppers have already start to bud and soon they will flower.
In the previous years I did remove those buds to concentrate the energy of the plant in growing instead.

But ... A few huups happened ... when trying to reach for the flowers ... I did snap a branch instead ...

So will it be better to leave the flowers ?

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Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

I started my Eggplants from seeds on January 12th also and some on January 20th
I love Eggplants. This year I am growing some new varieties.
Like a huge green eggplant from Baker Seeds called Cambodian Green Giant :
and I am very curios about this Aswad eggplant :

This is not really a great picture.
I have already potted up my eggplants on a 6" pot.

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Canyon Lake, TX(Zone 8b)

Well, let's see...besides tomatoes I started indoors several varieties of Chinese cabbage, two varieties of romaine lettuce, collard greens, four varieties of eggplants and one pot of cilantro. It's all up and the cabbage and lettuce and collards have been set out in the garden. Eggplants really like warm feet so it will be a while before they make it to the garden. Planted two varieties of sweet peppers in the last couple days. They are on heat mat at night and outside on warm sunny days.

Yet to be planted indoors are a six squash seeds and a dozen cucumber seeds.

I planted direct into the garden three varieties of beets, collard greens, three varieties of Chinese cabbage, two varieties of romaine lettuce, swiss chard, potatoes, lots of different types of radish, turnips and mustard, and as always Dixondale onion plants. Everything is up but the potatoes. I feel lucky in that I have great stands of everything I planted. So far so good!

I have a good stand of volunteer dill scattered about the garden. One of the dill has already formed a nice head.

Today I set out 10 tomato plants bringing the total to date to 26. I will plant 13 more in pots and raised bed starting tomorrow and 16 in my straw bales in two or three weeks.

Will be planting soon in the garden cucumbers, okra, corn and pepper plants.

Canyon Lake, TX(Zone 8b)

Onions, beets, collards, Swiss chard, Chinese cabbage, Romaine lettuce, radish and mustard all up and growing.

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Hutto, TX(Zone 8b)

TexasRock, you are way ahead of me! I did the final soil prep for some peas, broccoli transplants, beets, lettuce, and spinach today. I hope to get the rows raked up and seeds in as well. I also have to get the plastic fencing up to keep the dogs from wandering through and to at least discourage our resident rabbits. The rabbits love to nip the pea seedlings as they sprout. : ( I hope to have some tomatoes planted in Season Starters in a couple of weeks.


Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

you ROCK !!

Canyon Lake, TX(Zone 8b)

drthor those eggplants and peppers look great!

My eggplants are coming along in 4" pots. They are about 2-3" tall. I recently planted Lemmes Italian peppers (saved seeds from last year) and an F1 bell pepper from Twilly's Seed co. but they have not come up yet. I plan to buy 4 or so jumbo jalapeños from nursery or big box store.

David, being ahead doesn't being first at the finish line.:) All we need is a severe winter storm to settle in for a couple days and the show will be over for me. I do have backup supply of tomatoes. As a matter of fact I have 56 needing to be potted up to 4" pots today or tomorrow. By March 15 or shortly thereafter I'll have leftover mater plants ready for the compost bins.

Canyon Lake, TX(Zone 8b)

Ggirl ask, "Is there time for turnip roots to form from seeds sown now, in the Texas area? When did you sow your beets seeds? What kinda greens are you growing?"

I use a Central Texas Vegetable & Herb Planting Calendar (laminated Gantt Chart) by Diane Young. It shows to have turnip seed in the ground b4 March 1. The greens I planted were a hodgepodge of all the seed pkts of mustard, turnips and radish I had bought over the past four years. A house cleaning so to speak. I got amazing germination much to my surprise. They are as thick as dog hair. I pull up handfuls wash the roots and feed them to the chickens. I think the mustard was Savannah and Florida Broad leaf. The turnips White Lady, Shogoin and Tokyo Cross, all white turnips.

I planted beets as well as all the cabbages, lettuces and chard on Jan 18 or 23. I wrote it on the calendar both days but only planted on one of the days. The beet varieties are Ace, Kestrel and Pacemaker lll (new). Last year I canned (pickled) 3 or 4 quarts and 3 or 4 pints of beets. Looking forward to increasing that amount by about 50% this year.

Hope this helps.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Thanks, TRock!

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

Pepper flower .. isn't beautiful ?

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Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

Peppers and Eggplant are doing well, growing indoor in their 6" pot.

I will start mid March seeds of:
Okra, cukes, squash and watermelon and maybe some beans too.

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Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

I'm a little behind the eight ball (as usual), but I did get my tomatoes and peppers started today. I still need to plant my jalapenos, though. Also plan on getting my peas planted this week. I do have onions already planted.

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

I have direct seeded some BASIL near my tomatoes.
Also, I have noticed that some "COW-PEA" seeds left in the garden last year, did germinate on their own ... they are about 3" tall ....weeeeee
Right now it is 77F ...

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

By STARTED, do you mean seeds or transplanted seedlings?

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

I started seeds. I told you, I'm getting a head start on FALL! LOL LOL LOL

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

Stephanie, many people on DG plant out eariler then your average gardener (myself included) but this requires having the time to protect them if/when it freezes. I dont plant out my main crop until after Easter. SOMETIMES those that I planted later produce before the early ones, it all depends on the weather, which is changing hourly at the moment. lol Many times the early ones have next to no root system, Im assuming that has to do with the soil temps (?) but not really sure.

That beinging said you may get tomatoes over the summer but if you keep your plants a live over the summer you will have a great fall crop. Last summer was the first year I didnt have some tomatoes all summer long.

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Today, I sowed carrot seeds and radishes. My tomatoes have started sprouting!! Was a bit worried since the seeds were ones I'd purchased for last spring.

Grand Saline, TX(Zone 7b)

Steph, I'm glad to see your putting in carrots too. I wasn't sure, but decided at the last minute for more carrots and beets.
Also sowed more lettuce, trying 'salad bowl' for the first time.
Another first, radish.. 'black spanish', suppose to be hot!
I'm headed out in a few to seed 'bush blue lake'.
Then maybe start soaking some okra...can't decide.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

If it's not hot enough for the okra, don't start the seeds yet. They'll just sulk and stall...

Grand Saline, TX(Zone 7b)

Sorry, Linda. I should have been more specific. I'd be soaking and starting these indoors to plant out next month.
School is out this week, 7 days to do nothing but plant seeds! And the ground is still too wet and too early to get out into the field. :0(

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

My peppers indoor are growing really well.
Half of them have baby pepper fruits.
My eggplants also started to make beautiful purple flowers.
Tomorrow I will start seeds indoor of:

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

I usually just direct sow cukes, watermelon, and okra. I do soak the okra seeds overnight tho. Seems like I had better luck direct sowing than transplanting. Also, I have some cantaloupe seedlings popping up in the midst of my onion bed. LOL

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

That's great.
My biggest problem with direct sowing my seeds is PILL BUGS.
They have been great this season until the rain we had recently ... I saw them again on my baby radishes ...

I don't want to use any chemicals on them. The easy solution is just to start my seeds indoors and transplant them out when the trunk is a little thick. Pill Bugs will not bother them.

Grand Saline, TX(Zone 7b)

I've got the transplant bug too, just seems to work better then direct sowing for me. I think it's because our sandy soil is hard to keep moist enough for things that require longer germination. I hate dragging the hose out this early in the season as well.

I'll have to direct sow watermelons this year, because I'm planning a large patch.
I am going to sow inside some Armenian cucumbers (really a melon). Haven't grown them before, but figure if they don't transplant well, it will still give me plenty of time to direct sow some more.

Steph, remember the conversation about elephant garlic, and toes vs. bulblets. One worked for you and the other for me. Well last fall, none of my bulblets came up! Just like mother nature to prove me a fool, just when I got it all figured Luckily I still had some toes left over and sprouting.

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

I have seeded some LETTUCE and it did germinate.
Yes, I am a "seed squeezer" .... and I love to "throw and grow" ... oh well

My rule when I seed:
1 for me
1 for the wind
1 for the birds
1 for the ants

... sometimes they are just all for me, like in these pictures ... giggle ...

This bed is waiting for Eggplants ... the lettuce will just grow on the shade of the eggplants until the heat will arrive ...

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SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Eggplants don't take long to shoot up. In a month you'll be living in "The Eggplant Land of the Giants!"


Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

Gymgirl do you mean Okra?

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Lynnea, the little bulblets of garlic I planted in fall, 2010 sprouted over the winter!!! I have about 9 small garlic plants growing. LOL

For pill bugs, I sprinkle coffee grounds and sluggo plus.

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

stephanietx, my pill bugs are monsters ..
they don't bother me now ... I have learnt how to live with them ...

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

Eggplants are flowering.
Will they make fruits without pollination? like peppers and tomatoes?

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Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

Pepper fruits forming on my plants .. weeee
They look so happy indoor so far ...

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SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Sorry, 1Lisac,
I did mean okra!

Grand Saline, TX(Zone 7b)

Yummy looking pepper, Drthor! Don't know about eggplants, I'm sure someone with more knowledge will be along.

Too funny, Stepanie! I think my bulblets are under a compost area now. I'll move the debris and give them a fighting chance this fall.

I sowed the okra, 'clemson' and 'burgundy', and some Hibiscus sabdariffa. I'm sooo excited about the sabdariffa, I love Red Zinger tea!!

Never did find my bean seeds??? Will pick some up later this week, instead shoveled compost all day:0)

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

Today at my garden club meeting we had a fantastic program titled "sex in the garden".
It was a fantastic slide show presentation with insects and pollinators in the garden. Just amazing.
In one of her slide show she wrote that Eggplants need to be pollinate in order to have fruits ...

That's ok ... I can wait.
Eggplants here grow so well and at the end of the season I am overwelmed.

I don't understand what you guys are talking about GARLIC ...
I planted mine at the end of September and some more at the end of October and they will be ready soon ... and I cannot wait !!

Grand Saline, TX(Zone 7b)

I have trouble with eggplants..sigh..I think my soil is too acidic for them. I've decided to wait till next year to try them again, once I raise the ph.

Elephant garlic is not a true garlic. I think it's in the leek family, only it looks like a HUGE head of garlic. They are grown by cloves (called toes) and they also produce a small hard bulblets that you plant like a seed.
You must try them, Drthor! You cut the top off, drizzle with olive oil and roast till softened. Then you squeeze the cloves onto fresh bread. Yum!

They are milder in flavor then a true garlic, so you can eat more!

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

More pepper are making fruits.

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Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

OMG some of my seedlings I started just a couple of days ago did germinate !
My heat mat temperature is at 85F.
So far: Okra, Watermelon and bean are already up

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Grand Saline, TX(Zone 7b)

Okras up here as well, I have them on the porch, no heating mat, but it has been 80* outside anyway.

I still don't have peppers sown :0(

I got some green beans planted and a plot of 'golden bantam' corn. I need to plant more of each, still can't walk in the field garden without sinking..and more rain on the way.

Planted a row sunflowers for the chickens, some basil, zinnias, cosmos around the veggie beds.

And sowed summer squash: a yellow scallop, a white scallop, zuccino rampicante, early crookneck, and zucchini.

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

The weather outside has been so nice today and the soil temperature is raising too.

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