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


Magnesium may be key in preventing colon cancer in men - Magnesium sources; green beans, peas, nuts, whole grains

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.


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.


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.


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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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. My first option is to ensure that has an adequate supply of nutrients (see below). Another option 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.
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 |
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, fresh food scraps (no cooked or prepared food), coffee grinds (including the filter), tea bags, molasses and dirt 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 week to 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 ..

     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 large stainless steel bowl of water and add a tablespoon of vinegar (it gets the bugs and/or fungus 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) 
Important TipsSeed Planting 
Look for USDA rated seeds. 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.  In order to continually have a ready supply, space your planting to have a continuing harvest. You generally do not need to plant the entire package in most small gardens so share with a neighbor. 
Building a Raised Garden Bed
Concrete Blocks
  • 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.  We recommend delivery.  These materials are extremely heavy.   
  • Search for and locate organic soil in your area. Amend the soil with nutrients such as seaweed and molasses.
  • Level the area to ensure that the blocks connect.  
  • In order to control weeds, layer the bottom of the bed with cardboard.  
  • Also secure a layer of metal screen under the blocks, rodents can often be blocked-out below with metal screens.
Blackstrap Molasses -    is the best sugar for horticultural use because of its trace minerals. Blackstrap is hard to find but is the best molasses because of the sulfur and iron, but any kind will work in your garden. Molasses is a carbon source and feeds the beneficial microbes creating greater natural plant fertility. Molasses also has a nice side benefit, when used with compost tea and orange oil, it kills fire ants and other insect pests. By itself, molasses repels fire ants. 
 - Mix a tablespoon of molasses in a gallon of water and feed your garden.

Blackstrap molasses -
"promote health and vitality of your soil. Molasses provides an effective, available source of carbon energy and carbohydrates to feed and stimulate the growth of beneficial microorganisms so your soil life will flourish to create greater natural soil fertility. Molasses is loved by bacteria and, therefore, can be a catalyst for crop residue breakdown which is carried out by our bacterial friends in the soil." Read More

"Many types of fruits and nuts grow well in home orchards in zone 9. The first key to a successful harvest is to select varieties best suited to the subtropical climate. One of the most important considerations in selecting an appropriate plant is the temperature requirements.
Citrus trees are sub-tropical to tropical in nature and many may suffer severe damage or even death in freezing temperatures. However, several types of citrus are sufficiently cold hardy to survive most winters in our region, particularly, as the tree mature, and especially in warmer areas. Planting citrus trees on the south and southeast sides of the house or in other sheltered locations will provide some protection from northwesterly cold fronts. Aside from knowing how much cold a plant can stand, it is also important to know how much cold it needs. 

Buy your tree from a responsible vendor. Read and follow the directions to grow a bountiful tree that could last generations! Check with your Extension service to determine what and when fruits and vegetable grows in your area.
The City Girl Gardener provides, install and maintain backyard vegetable gardens.

 Request a quote
Do you have garden questions that you can't find an answer.  
  • Wash your tools and gloves after use. Wash them in a bowl with a dash of vinegar.
  • Drink water with cucumber slices, mint and lemon slices. It reduces body fat and refreshes you.
  • Don't trash the white shirt and blouses that get stained working in the garden. Get rid of the yellowing armpit and other spots. How? Mix 1 part water, 1 part baking soda and 1 part hydrogen peroxide in a container. Apply the paste to the yellowed blotches with a soft toothbrush. Let it sit for about 25 minutes before washing as usual. Then, accept that you've become your mother.

Before applying Epsom salt, however, it’s a good idea to have your soil tested to determine whether it’s deficient of magnesium. You should also be aware that many plants, like beans and leafy vegetables, will happily grow and produce in soils with low levels of magnesium. Plants like rose, tomatoes and peppers, on the other hand, require lots of magnesium and, therefore, are more commonly watered with Epsom salt.(CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS) 
Organic Labeling

USDA organic products have strict production and labeling requirements. Organic products must meet the following requirements:

Produced without excluded methods, (e.g., genetic engineering, ionizing radiation, or sewage sludge). Policy on genetically modified organisms (pdf)
Produced using allowed substances. View the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List).
Overseen by a USDA National Organic Program-authorized certifying agent, following all USDA organic regulations.
  • Choose a location.
Keep it simple, a vegetable garden requires 6 to 8 hours of sun.
  • Invest In Tools
A backyard garden generally require a shovel, wheel barrel, hoe, metal rake, hand shovel, rake, pruner, watering can, water system (hose, drip system,
  • Plan which vegetables to Plant.
Select plants for the season. Read the seed package for your zone and season.
  • ​Prepare the soil
Based on your garden plan, test the soil to determine the soil condition. If required, amend.
  • Plant
Dig as directed, add a root starter to help develop strong root systems.

  • Water, feed & wait.

  • Harvest
To get your greens off and running, it's best to plant them as soon as possible in fall. Successive plantings, sown weekly, insure you'll have a crop ready to pick and one coming on at the same time. In the south you can even plant into October. 
Amend the soil with a 1- to 2-inch-thick layer of compost before planting. Loosen the soil, create raised beds, and broadcast seed on the surface. Cover the seeds lightly with soil, sand, or potting soil and keep the bed moist. If the weather is still hot in your area when sowing, cover the bed with a shade cloth or floating row cover to keep the soil cool and preserve the moisture. Many crops, such as spinach, don't germinate well in hot soil. 
Once the seed germinates, fertilize lightly with a soluble product such as fish emulsion. Greens sown in fall grow slower than those in spring because of the shorter days and reduced light levels. They also require less water and fertilizer.