I need help with my preparation raised bed gardens’ soil. I rototill each January. To do this, I must break it open using a pick. Next, I rent a mid-sized tiller to get it loose enough to mix in a mixture of composted topsoil (manure compost), red sand, and old sawdust. I also add a yard worth of my own compost. What can I do better than that?

A: You have put in a lot of effort to get your results. gardenReady. It looks fantastic! I’ll try to help.

When I prepare my own raisedI will add 2 inches of sphagnum Peat moss, 1 in each of finely crushed pine bark mulch, well rotted manure, compost and decomposed soil to my gardens. These are already in your soil, but I would recommend adding the pine bark mulch or peatmoss as they decompose slowly and have longer lasting beneficial effects.

Texas A&M University recommends that you use expanded shale in place of sand. I add 1 inch of it in tandem with the organic matter if I’m amending a clay soil (which I always am). To mix it all, I use a rear-tine rotating rototiller. It can reach a depth of 12 inches. I don’t know how practical that would be in your beds, but you might make it work by taking most of the tines off to give you better maneuverability.

Each time I rework my soil I add half the amount of each material. However, I don’t add more expanded shale every time. It can last for up to five years.

 

It took this broccoli a long time to form heads before it bloomed. This could be because it was not planted in time. The best time to plant the broccoli varieties that mature quickly in South Texas would be between August and September.

Courtesy photo

????????????? Why would my broccoli that took so long to form heads, go straight to the blooms?

A: It could be that you planted it too late. In South Texas, the planting dates for the recommended varieties are late August to mid-September. You should have harvested any of these varieties if you planted them. gardenNow.

Your plant looks very healthy. These flower heads can be cut off and fertilized in February to encourage growth.

The following: The bleeding heart vine has been a wonderful thing. It has been well-watered and fertilized, and it has been protected from freezing weather. The leaves are now losing most of their color. The majority of the leaves have actually fallen. What can we do about it?

A: Variegated Clerodendrum is the name of your plant. It is a beautiful tropical plant. It has either suffered actual freeze injury or is currently struggling with chill injuries.

Many tropicals can’t handle temperatures much below 40 or 45 degrees. There are three notable examples: caladiums and bougainvilleas. All three species start dropping leaves when temperatures drop below 45°F.

Other than putting the plant into a greenhouse, there isn’t much you can do at this point. It might be easier to start your plant with a new, vigorous plant in spring.

This bleeding heart has either suffered actual freeze damage or it is struggling with chill injury.

This bleeding heart may have suffered freeze damage or is currently suffering from chill injury.

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?????????? In September, I was working at the North Dakota Census Bureau. I saw milkweeds along the rural roads the day before I left. I cut one and placed it in my checked baggage. As you can see, the bag opened. Are these plants possible to grow in Texas? Would they attract the monarch butterflies as well?

A: I can’t tell what species of milkweed you have from the photograph, but it certainly wouldn’t be difficult to plant the seeds into one of your flowerbeds in late March. Just scratch the soil lightly and plant the seeds about an inch below the surface. You will be able to see the seeds germinate if you water them immediately.

It is possible to recall the size of North Dakota’s plants, which will give you an idea of how much room you need in your home. bed. Yes, the monarchs will find the plants if they grow.

This bleeding heart has either suffered actual freeze damage or it is struggling with chill injury.

This bleeding heart may have suffered freeze damage or is currently suffering from chill injury.

Courtesy photo

??????? Why would my tangerine trees be falling and its leaves turning a lighter shade than usual?

A: That sounds like a plant that isn’t getting enough light. I’m assuming it’s in a pot and that you have moved it into protection from the winter cold. You can move it closer to a sunny window or let it go in and out as the conditions permit.

????????????? I came across your information about amaryllis a few weeks ago. Three years ago, I collected the seeds from my amaryllis plant and planted them. I now have eleven plants that are growing in 1-gallon containers. Some have large bulbs while others have small ones.

Do I take out the plants and put them in sawdust in bags or do I lay the pots flat for six weeks to dry? Do I cut some of the foliage? When should I do it all? They would be beautiful.

A: I would start with the larger bulbs. Let them grow all through the summer and into the fall. Lay the pots on their side and let them dry completely for six weeks, from mid-September to early October. This would simulate their dry season in sub-tropical houses.

Then, trim the dead leaves and plant them in fresh potting soil. You can water them well and encourage new growth. The best bulbs will be mature enough within a few months to start producing flower stalks.

Send questions to Neil Sperry at Features Department, San Antonio Express News P.O. Box 2171, San Antonio, TX 78297-2171. Box 2171, San Antonio, TX 78297-2171, or email him at [email protected]

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