Its early winter in North Texas and that means it is time to plant onions. Mingos Nursery & Garden Center has fresh onions slips ready to plant. For 2018 we have Yellow Granex, 1015Y Texas Supersweet, Yellow Bermuda, Ringmaster, Red Candy Apple, Texas Early White, Southern Belle Red, and Red Creole. Each of these varieties have their own unique flavor and characteristics. Mingos also has all the supplies and information you need to be successful.
When and Where to Plant Onions
Here in North Texas, early winter is the ideal time to plant onions. In fact, onions are a cool weather crop and will withstand below freezing temperatures. Like most food crops, onions need to be grown in a sunny place, although a little afternoon shade when the weather turns hot can be helpful especially here in Texas when hot weather tends to show up well before the first day of spring.
Sets, Slips, or Seeds
Onions can be planted from sets, slips, or seed. Onion sets are small onion bulbs that have gone dormant. Slips, also called transplants, are small
bare root onion plants that look much like the green onions or scallions you find in the grocery store. Onion seeds are usually purchased in seed packages, but are easy to harvest from onions you do not harvest but allow to flower then turn to seed.
Onions are easy to grow from sets, slips, and seeds, but growing from seed takes the longest and therefore they should be planted earlier than sets or slips. Onion seeds can be found year round. Onion sets may be available for several months each year but beware of onion sets that are damaged or dried out. In most areas, onion slips or transplants are only available for a few weeks at the beginning of the growing season.
Planting Onion Seeds
When planting onions from seed, follow the directions on the seed package. Generally, onion seeds should be planted directly in the garden bed, about 2 inches apart and just barely (¼ inch) covered with soil. Dampen the soil but be careful not to wash the onion seeds away. A gentle misting with a hose attachment is best. Onion plants should be thinned to be 3 to 4 inches apart, depending on the variety (the bigger the bulb, the further apart) once the plants have reached 4 or 5 inches. Thinning larger onion plants can be a problem as their root balls may have grown together.
Planting Onion Sets and Slips
Onion sets and slips should be planted no more than one inch deep, 3 to 4 inches apart. Again, the bigger the onion bulb, the further apart the onions should be planted. Know your variety. Cover with soil and water thoroughly.
Water and Food
All food crops benefit greatly from being fed and watered properly. A well prepared garden bed with plenty of composted organic material may not need any extra fertilization. However, food crops tend to be heavy feeders and can benefit from a boost of nutrition from time to time. Talk to your nursery about the best feed for your feed crop.
Onions need to be watered at least once a week and they can withstand more dry weather than most garden plants. Some people swear that growing onions in slightly dry conditions make for a better tasting onion. I have not tested that theory myself, I am just happy to know that whether my onions have grown in wet years or dry years, the onions have turned out beautifully.
Need a landscape plan? Overwhelmed by choices? Have questions? Need friendly and useful advice? Mingos in Aledo on Bankhead can help.
Spring is coming soon! This is a great time to plan your whole landscape or just that new flower bed. Mingos has the expertise to walk with you through every step of the project.
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This might be a personal question but, do you deadhead? I don’t mean ARE you a deadhead. That is your own business and I do not need to know.
But what I do want to know is, do you take the time to cut the spent (i.e. dead) flowers off your plants?
I have asked a number of people this question and have received all sorts of answers. Most of the time the answer is “no” for a number of different reasons. Almost as often is the confused look followed by, “Do I what?” Maybe they are concerned I am asking the ARE you a deadhead question. Many of us are grateful we grew up before the age of smart phones and social media so that our past stays in the past.
Of seasoned gardeners, it seems most deadhead sometimes or selectively depending upon the plant. But I have met a few dedicated souls who will deadhead anything and everything including their neighbor’s plants if they get the chance.
Why deadhead? Think weed seeds.
Many of your flowering ornamentals (you know, the ones with the with showy flowers) produce flowers for a longer period of time if you remove the spent blooms. Remember, a plant’s whole purpose to exist, as far as the plant is concerned, is to reproduce. A properly pollinated flower will produce seed if left alone long enough. Those seeds will make new plants. Which is all well and good but if you put the plant in your garden to look at the pretty flowers, then seed production is probably irrelevant to you. In some cases, seed production is something you want to prevent because each of those seeds has the potential to produce a new plant. Those new plants we often call weeds.
Imagine one dandelion puffball blowing all dandelion those seeds around your yard. All those seeds from that one dandelion puffball came from only one dandelion flower. Now think about every flower that grows in your yard. Each of those flowers has the potential of producing seed which could grow into new plants… everywhere. OK, that sounds a lot more dire than it really is. But preventing the plant from making seeds by removing the fading flowers from the plant on plants that readily reseed (like petunias, chives, pansies, and many, many more) can save you a lot of work weeding later.
Why deadhead? Think more flowers.
If you remove a dying flower from your plant, that flower cannot produce seed. But the plant still wants to make seed because that is, for most plants, its one chance to reproduce. So many plants will grow more flowers to replace the ones you remove that didn’t have the chance to make seeds. The result is more flowers over a longer period of time. And that is a good thing.
How to deadhead.
Each plant has its own unique growing habit and therefore its own way of being deadheaded. For some plants like petunias, the dead flowers can easily be pinched off with your thumbnail. Dianthus pinches off easily also but it is often easier to dead head by using a small pair of clippers. Larger plants like Shasta Daisy and Roses should have the flowers removed by carefully clipping the stem just above a leaf node (the part of the stem where the leaves grow).
Come see us at Mingos Nursery & Garden Center and we will help you with all your deadheading questions.
This is the time of year I just love. Summer garden abundance fills my kitchen with fresh produce every year. Several times a week I visit the vegetable garden to see what is ready to harvest. Of course there are other times I am in the garden for maintenance purposes only. A well prepared vegetable garden really should not take a huge amount of time to maintain, just a little weeding (sometimes… sometimes not) the right amount of water, and food. Your vegetable plants are using up a huge amount of nutrients to create healthy produce for you. Give your food plants a boost with some compost or a quality organic plant food, both of which you can pick up at Mingos Nursery & Garden Center.
As happens each year, we have reached that part of the growing season when daily visits to the garden are necessary just to stay on top of vegetable collecting. Ever seen a zucchini grow a foot in a day? OK maybe it wasn’t a foot, maybe it was more.
Right now my cucumber vines are turning out more cucumbers than I can count and the tomatoes are not far behind. The photo below is a cucumber, not a zucchini but it is nearly 10 inches long. It was hiding in the vines alone with several over ripe orange cucumbers.
All those yummy cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes, and other veggies get shared with neighbors and friends, However, every year there seems to come a time when people stop answering the door when we knock. Its like they don’t want to have to say “no” to free, fresh, and homegrown produce so they just don’t answer and hope the wagon moves on by. And yes, we have often filled our daughter’s little red wagon with produce to share with the neighbors.
So I thought I would share some of my favorite recipes made from our own homegrown vegetables. Perhaps this will inspire you to start your own garden this fall. There are a lot of cool weather vegetables that can take you up to the holidays or beyond depending upon your climate. The time to plan for your fall vegetable garden is now. If you need help, ideas, or simple encouragement come see us at Mingos Nursery & Garden Center.
In the next day or so I will start posting a few recipes and will add links to them at the bottom of this post.
Roasted Tomatoes is a great recipe for using up extra tomatoes.
Click the picture to go to the recipe.
Marinated Cucumber Salad is a no cook recipe for cucumbers, tomatoes and onions.
Click the picture to go to the recipe.
Fire Roasted Peppers can be added to so many dishes.
Click the picture to go to the recipe.
Grilled Cilantro Lime Corn
Click the picture to go to the recipe.
Have you ever wanted to step outside of your traditional landscape and try a little garden of your own but didn’t know where to start? Or worse, were afraid of failure? If this is you, a great first garden is an Herb Garden. Herb gardens are easy; and by easy I mean low maintenance and hard to kill.
Most herbs are heat and drought tolerant with few pest issues. Just pick a sunny spot with good drainage.
Unlike for most gardens, herbs don’t really need a well prepared bed or super nutritious soil (remember, some people grow dandelions as herbs and dandelions can grow anywhere). In fact, herb plants that are fertilized regularly look lush and beautiful but tend to be lacking in flavor and fragrance.
Many herbs can grow where other plants just cannot. In the opening photo woolly thyme is growing between the stone steps softening the look of the front walk. Herbs can be grown in their own dedicated herb bed, grouped together in pots, or tucked into your landscaping. I love to add herbs to my more traditional landscape, especially that one corner where the sprinkler just doesn’t quite reach.
They also make a great addition to a vegetable garden adding both interest, variety, and sometimes pest control. And did I mention, herbs are beautiful? Herbs are beautiful! My herb garden is also full of honey bees.
And as a bonus, most herbs are culinary, meaning you can eat them! Try adding some fresh chives to your baked potato, rosemary to your dinner rolls, or sage to your chicken.
Come see us at Mingos Nursey & Garden Center! We have everything you need, including the know-how, to start your own herb garden.
Tubtrugs perfect for working in the garden and harvesting vegetables. Foodgrade plastic and flexibility makes these and essential for all gardening.