Fruit growing in Texas - What about berries? : GARDEN SPOT - CAN WE TALK?
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Fruit growing in Texas - What about berries?

by City Girl Gardener on 03/26/11

The health industry has really pushed berries as the remedy for many illnesses such as memory loss.  And therefore, the garden nurseries are pushing berries!  But, what they don’t tell us is; when to plant, where to plant, how to feed, etc.  So I have reprint below some information from the Texas Agriculture Department on growing fruit in Texas.  How ever, there is an Ag department for every area of the country, just google for how to plant fruit in your state.  And read, read, read, so that you too are informed and wise about how you spend your gardening dollars.

http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/extension/fruitgarden/fruitvariety.html#blackberries

Blackberries

Blackberries are among the easiest of all small fruit crops to grow in Texas. They produce well on a wide variety of soils as long as drainage is good. Soils with a pH near or above 8.0 can cause serious problems with iron chlorosis. The yellowing and poor growth resulting from iron chlorosis is difficult to correct economically.

Plantings of Brazos blackberries have produced up to 1 gallon of berries per foot of row when properly managed. Realistically, plan for about 1 to 2 quarts per foot of row and plant accordingly.

Set either root cuttings or young plants 2 to 3 feet apart in a row. If you plant more than one row, space the rows 10 to 12 feet apart. The most productive varieties are erect and do not require a trellis or support.

Frequent watering is beneficial, especially to young plants. Water first-year plantings at least weekly through harvest. After harvest, some moisture stress is not harmful to a healthy planting.

Blackberries can usually be grown without an extensive pesticide program. Disease problems can be severe in portions of East and Southeast Texas. Plant blackberries for away from wild blackberries to minimize disease problems.

Blueberries

Proper soil, water and care are essential for successful blueberry growing. Blueberries require acid, sandy soils with a pH of 4.5 to 5.5. These soils occur extensively in East and Southeast Texas and in localized pockets in North, Central and South Texas. Blueberries also require good-quality water with low sodium and bicarbonates.

Blueberries thrive best in soils enriched with composted organic matter. Ideally, mix about 1/2 bushel of peat moss with the topsoil in the planting hole of each plant. If you are attempting to grow blueberries in soils with insufficient acidity, dig a hole at least 36 inches in diameter and 18 inches deep and mix at least 50 percent composted organic matter with the top soil. Blueberries thrive in 100 percent peat moss, so there is no limit to the amount you can use.

Calcareous or clay soils are almost impossible to modify sufficiently for blueberries. Blueberry enthusiasts with unsuitable soils should grow plants in tubs using a potting soil high in peat moss.

Plant at least two blueberry varieties to ensure adequate cross-pollination. The listed varieties are all of the rabbiteye type. Other types of blueberries are not well adapted to Texas.

Mulch plants heavily with organic material such as pine bark, sawdust, leaves, grass clippings, wood chips or hay. This aids in moisture conservation and weed control.

Blueberries are sensitive to over-fertilization. Spread fertilizer uniformly over the root area beneath and out from the plant. Use several small applications (1/8 to 1/4 cup per plant) during the spring and summer rather than a single large application. Avoid nitrate forms of nitrogen. Fertilizers formulated for azaleas work well.

Strawberries

While strawberries can be grown for several years, they perform best in Texas when grown as an annual plant. This production system eliminates the need to carry plants through the ravages of summer.

Spring-bearing varieties are the best adapted for most regions of Texas. Ever-bearing strawberry varieties do not fruit well under hot summer conditions.

Fall Planting System. In South Texas, plant annual strawberries from late September to the first week of October. They require a great deal of care; do not allow them to dry out. In this system, set plants in double rows 12 inches apart and 42 inches wide. After harvest the following spring, plants are usually destroyed. In North and West Texas, annual planting is done in late winter or spring. Production is greatest the next spring, 1 full year after planting.

In areas where the soil is saline or contains too much clay, construct a raised bed about 10 inches deep. Fill with loose, pliable, well-drained soil.

Spring Planting System. Set plants 18 inches apart in a single row. Runners set through the summer develop a matted row. The primary crop is harvested in the spring, 1 year after planting.

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EPSON SALT COUNCIL
GARDEN USAGE TIPS
  • Peppers: Apply 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt with a gallon of water as a foliar spray at bloom time and again 10 days later. 
  • Houseplants: 2 tablespoons per gallon of water; feed plants monthly. 
  • Tomatoes: 1 tablespoon per foot of plant height per plant; apply every two weeks. 
  • Roses: 1 tablespoon per foot of plant height per plant; apply every two weeks. Also scratch 1/2 cup into soil at base to encourage flowering canes and healthy new basal cane growth. Soak unplanted bushes in 1/2 cup of Epsom Salt per gallon of water to help roots recover. Add a tablespoon of Epsom Salt to each hole at planting time. Spray with Epsom Salt solution weekly (1 TBSP per gallon of water) to help discourage pests. 
  • Shrubs (evergreens, azaleas, rhododendron): 1 tablespoon per 9 square feet. Apply over root zone every 2-4 weeks. 
  • Lawns: Apply 3 pounds for every 1,250 square feet with a spreader, or dilute in water and apply with a sprayer. 
  • Trees: Apply 2 tablespoons per 9 square feet. Apply over the root zone 3 times annually.
  • Garden Startup: Sprinkle 1 cup per 100 square feet. Mix into soil before planting. 
  • Sage: Do not apply! This herb is one of the few plants that doesn't like Epsom Salt. 
Please provide feedback, let us know if you use Epson Epson Salt in your garden and the results - CityGirl "Garden Spot"___________________
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How to Feed Your Organic Garden
Natural Remedy Tip - Black Spots on Roses
There are a few home remedies that have met with some success and are worth trying, especially for those that really do prefer organic garden methods. One is a solution made with baking soda: dissolve 1 teaspoon baking soda in a quart of water, add a few drops of liquid soap to the mix to help it cling better to the foliage, spray infected plants thoroughly. 
http://www.rosemagazine.com
Please provide feedback - CityGirl "Garden Spot"
Feed Those Roses - 
•Mix 4 tbsp. of liquid fish fertilizer, 2 tbsp. of liquid kelp or seaweed and 2 tsp. of dark molasses in a bucket with 2 gallons of water and stir well to mix.
•Pour the liquid rose fertilizer into a plant sprayer.
•Spray the liquid rose fertilizer on the leaves of rose bushes, being sure to spray the undersides as well as the tops.
•Use the liquid rose fertilizer once each week.
Read more: How to Feed Roses Naturally | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_4453672_feed-roses-na
Please provide feedback - CityGirl "Garden Spot"
Making Compost 
A compost pile can be started in sun or shade at any time of the year. The City ingredients (my version) include leaves, grass clippings, tree trimmings, fresh food scraps (no cooked or prepared food), coffee grinds (including the filter), tea bags, dirt and animal manure (chicken, cow, horse, no dog poop). For a more detail description on composting view Captain Compost website. Mix the ingredients together in a container such as the larger plastic containers sold in variety stores or simply pile the material on the ground and surround with concrete blocks, adding worms helps the process.  Turn the pile at least once a month; more often speeds up the process. Keep the pile moist, roughly the moisture of a squeezed-out sponge, to help the living microorganisms thrive and work their magic. Compost is ready to use when the ingredients are no longer identifiable. The color will be dark brown, the texture soft and crumbly. Use compost in all of your gardens for bed preparation and as a high quality mulch around annuals and perennials.
 More really good information ..
Testimony:  I am having my first compost experience.  The process works!  If you add the items listed above, always covering the food scraps with dirt and turning it as indicated, it does not smell. (I placed my container in a far corner of the yard, just in case).  I used my first batch as soil in flower pots.  The soil is excellent.  I recently started a pile near my vegetable garden.  I lined the area with  layer of newspaper.  It is convenient to put cuttings from the garden in this pile.  The most rewarding feature is that all the materials used were recycled.

Important Tips:  
  • Loam is generally considered to be ideal soil because it retains moisture and nutrients but does not stay soggy.
  • Always wash your vegetables as soon as they are harvested (definitely before eating them).  I use a bucket of water and add a tablespoon of vinegar (it gets the bugs you can't see off).
  • Always wear gloves in the garden.  Bacteria is in the soil.
  • Add the garden to your sprinkler system for consistent watering, or, install a drip watering system which can be purchased in plumbing/irrigation parts of most home and garden centers (need help, let us know)
  • My garden partners and I will help you start your first garden.  We charge $50 per hour, per person.  Compost is $7 per bag.
  • A garden needs:
Organic Soil & Compost
4 to 6 hours of Sun
Consistent Water
Basic Tools
Healthy Starter Plants
Weeding
Natural Fertilizers
Protection
Patience
        Harvest!
Important Tips:  Read and follow directions on the seed package.  If it requires sun, plant in the sun, if it instructs you to plant 12" apart, do so.  You generally do not need to plant the entire package in most small gardens so share with a neighbor.
Try growing your garden organically. 
The food is healthier.
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A 4' x 8' x 1.3'h raised bed made from concrete blocks, stacked, requires 36 blocks, order here from Home Depot for pick-up or delivery.  Search for and locate organic soil in your area.  Ammend the soil with nutrients such as seaweed and molasses.
MOLASSES IN GARDEN
 - Mix a tablespoon of molasses in a gallon of water and feed your garden.
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