In his foreword, Dr. Jerry Parsons says that this book is the best he's ever seen for this part of Texas--both for new gardeners and experienced gardeners.
This book is a compilation of 10-15 years of writing for a local newspaper and other journals, magazines and newsletters written by a guy who has "been there-done that". An interesting, comprehensive, easy-to-read guide to gardening all year long. All the research and detail that went into the original writing is still there.
In general, it applies to gardening everywhere, but specifically it applies to the Texas Hill Country and south Texas...USDA Zone 8...but also anywhere in the Southwest where the soil is mostly rock, caliche, or otherwise generally bad soil.
Tells what, how, when, where, and why to do all kinds of stuff in the garden, in the greenhouse, and on the patio with container gardening...start to finish—planting to harvest—fruits and veggies to flowers. Sorry, no herbs.
A comprehensive 18-page index is the key to the whole publication—find anything fast.
“So much to do and so little time to do it.” I sure hope you got all your pruning done in the last coupla weeks, because we gotta hit the ground running now if we’re gonna be successful gardeners this spring. Listed below are all the things that need to be done during the month of February. They’re in alphabetical order but no other order. This is just the list that I came up with from various sources. There won’t be enough space to cover them all in one week, so I’ll just go through the list, try to pick out those that need to be done now and give you a little information about each one and we’ll see how long it takes…probably 2-3 weeks. Hang on. Here we go.
•Aerate and compost lawn
•Apply dormant oil to pecan and fruit trees to control scale. Read and follow directions.
•Apply pre-emergent herbicide, not weed and feed
•Don’t fertilize the lawn yet (unless it’s organic fertilizer)
•Don’t water the lawn yet
•Get the bird houses cleaned and up—purple martins arrive this month
•Mow the ground covers to shape them up and force new growth
•Mulch, mulch, mulch
•Paint any cuts on live oak trees
•Plant radishes, spinach, carrots, peas and potatoes
•Plant rose bushes
•Plant spring-blooming bulbs
•Pot up tomatoes
•Prune back the herbs
•Put out onion sets
•Remove weeds and add compost to beds
•Use those leaves in the compost pile
•Veggie varieties—write me for a list
Probably the first thing you need to do if you want to get some good tomatoes this spring is find some Heatwave, Sunmaster, and/or Celebrity and get them potted up. “Potting up” means to place the small transplant into a bigger (1-gallon) pot with some good potting soil. Be sure to take off the bottom leaves and place the plant in the pot about four to five inches deep. The stem of the plant will develop roots all up and down it to give the plant a great root system in just a few weeks. Place them in a sunny spot outside and keep the soil just moist. If we’re gonna get another freeze, you’ll have to bring them in and then put them out again later. We’re not supposed to get any more freezes right now, but don’t take any chances. Wait until about the first of April to put them in the ground. Don’t plant them in the ground all at one time. Put a couple in and then a couple more in 2 weeks. That way, if we do get another “blue norther" after you plant the first ones, you won't lose all of them.
Sample page (25) from the book.
(The actual page in the book looks a little different because all the formating and artwork didn't transfer.)