“I have a few bales of Black and Gold Raised Bed and Potting Mix. Can I use that as a top dressing for my lawn?” Question from Albert of Texas
Answer: It’s smart to start by using what you have. Our Natural & Organic Raised Bed Mix should work well as a top-dressing for your lawn. It does contain partially composted bark, but the pieces are small. The ingredients in the product are Starter Fertilizer Charge, RESiLIENCE®, Earthworm Castings, Compost, Bark, and Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss. All of these will boost your lawn’s organic matter and help with any seeding efforts. Other good products for the task include Black Gold Peat Moss and Garden Compost Blend.
There are fewer spring bulbs for hummingbirds, but those that attract them are spectacular. The California native firecracker flower (Dichelostemma ida-maia), which blooms in May or June, is especially unique and pretty. The standard form is red, but ‘Pink Diamond‘ has deep pinkish-purple flowers. Orange-red crown imperials (Fritillaria imperialis ‘Rubra Maxima’) are also outstanding spring bulbs that hummingbirds enjoy. The tall, bold flowers bloom in late spring as hummingbirds start visiting the garden. Finally, late-spring blooming foxtail lilies (Eremerus hybrids) are visited by both hummingbirds and bees. They produce tall wands of pink, orange, or yellow flowers. Plant their bulbs in very well-drained soil amended with Black Gold Garden Compost Blend.
“What are the best strawberry varieties for Texas? I really would like to enjoy them year-round, and I have the ability to grow them in a raised bed that can easily be covered.” Question from Deb or Alvarado, Texas
Answer: Great timing! I just planted 25 strawberries in my own Delaware garden, so strawberries are on my mind. There are two types of strawberries, June-bearing types that produce once a year, and everbearing types that produce one big crop in late spring and then keep yielding additional berries through the season. It sounds like you want the latter. Additionally, some strawberries are better adapted to warmer zones like yours. Three everbearing recommendations for southern gardens like yours include ‘Tribute‘ (medium-fruited, disease-resistant), ‘San Andreas’ (extra-large fruited, heat-tolerant), and ‘Seascape‘ (medium-fruited, disease-resistant). There are many more, but these three are very good choices that are commonly available.
Strawberries grow best in soil that is well-drained, moisture-retentive, light, and high in organic matter. A soil with a slightly acid pH, between 5.5 to 6.5, is ideal. Amending with Black Gold Garden Soil, Peat Moss, or Compost Blend will boost your raised bed soil for strawberry growing. For further growing information and planting guidelines, please watch the video below.
“For Northeast Texas, when is the right time to plant onions and potatoes? Question from Ronnell of Linden, Texas
Answer: Potatoes like it cool, so you want to get them in the ground in late winter–February is a good month. Some varieties are better than others for growing in your area. ‘Yukon Gold’ is a good yellow variety to try, ‘Atlantic’ is a good white, and ‘Norland’ is a good red-skinned type. To read more about how to grow potatoes in your neck of the woods, click on this great Texas A&M article about growing potatoes in Texas.
Spring onions and leeks can be planted in February or March, but most traditional onions are best planted from October to December in Northeast Texas. (You might be able to get away with planting them now, if you’re fast!) Once again, there are some varieties that perform better in the South than others. To get all the details, click here for a great Texas A&M article about growing onions in Texas.