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Milberger's Nursery and Landscaping
3920 North Loop 1604 E.
San Antonio, TX 78247

Open 9 to 6 Mon. through Sat.
and 10 to 5 on Sun.

Three exits east of 281, inside of 1604
Next to the Diamond Shamrock station
Please click map for more detailed map and driving directions.

Click here


"Fatalistic gardening" is a prophetic term which describes a gardening experience doomed to miserable production due to ignorance, confusion, neglect, misinformation, carelessness and, generally, inept horticulture. If you know the ingredients and practices which often lead to the gardening fatality, maybe you can avoid being a victim.

Twenty key ingredients and practices of "fatalistic gardening" include:

1. Leaving old plant residue in a new garden so that an adequate innoculum of insects and disease will exist to begin again on newly established plants.

2. Practicing shade gardening. Plants will grow long and lanky, drop blooms profusely and will be easily contaminated with insects and disease. To grow good crops of tomatoes and peppers, plants should receive 8-10 hours of direct sun DAILY.

3. Putting ashes from the fireplace on your garden site in enormous amounts to make the already-too-alkaline soil even more alkaline and causing plants to be even more susceptible to minor element deficiencies such as iron chlorosis.

4. Planting slow-maturing, non-heat-setting varieties to insure that fall frosts will kill plants before tomato and pepper fruit have the opportunity to ripen. The fastest ripening, most reliable fall tomato variety named Surefire is now available in local nurseries.

5. Disregarding instructions for fertilizer frequencies, rates and kinds (for initial applications use 2-3 pounds of a slow-release formulation such as 19-5-9 then use more of the same fertilizer every 3 weeks at the rate of one tablespoon, sprinkled around each tomato and pepper plant and watered in thoroughly. This is also extremely important when growing the greens crops such as broccoli and spinach since all greens crops require an abundance of nitrogen to grow at an optimum rate.

6. Not fencing the garden site so that all animals can have easy access. Deer love fall gardens!

7. Planting seed too deep, "sprinkle irrigating seed up" which causes soil crusting (hardening) to the point that seedlings will need jackhammers to break out, and planting seed which will only germinate in cool soils such as spinach, lettuce and carrots in the hot soils of August will provide you a lot of needed practice in sowing seed since most will not germinate.

8. Locating your garden site in the area most traveled by children and pets. Gardens must be protected from dears as well as deer!

9. Avoiding organic and/or chemical control of insects on the plants when needed. Insects are very nutritious and increase your protein intake. In addition the bodies of insects which have devoured certain crops actually begin to taste like the crop on which they fed so bug bodies collected from the vegetable to be served make excellent condiments which will enhance the dish and intrigue your dining guests.

10. Harvesting your vegetables when they are over-mature. You may increase the volume of the garden yield by harvesting oversized produce such as squash which is large enough from which to make a canoe but you may also increase dental bills from trying to chew the tough stuff. If you need a size comparison for proper harvest, check the size of produce at your local supermarket. Also, see the harvest recommendations at:

11. Providing plants with too much TLC (tender loving care) such as rotor-tilling around plants weekly which cuts developing root systems, spraying pesticides daily which can damage and stunt plants, and becoming anxious-impatient about harvesting and removing produce prematurely.

12. Not weeding the garden so that it can be disguised as a herb planting and hidden from thieves and robbers. Weeds can also "shade" what few vegetables are produced and keep them from sunburning. Such a weedy growing area can also endear you to neighbors and get free publicity when you are hauled into court for visual contamination of the neighborhood.

13. Not using fungicide until you see the spots on the leaves. How else can the disease get a fair start? The recommendation made when tomato plants have set an abundance of marble-sized fruit, is to begin a preventative, prophylactic fungicide spray every 7 days with a product containing chlorothanol such as Ortho Daconil. This application should be judicially applied during periods of wet (rain or heavy morning dews) weather. Once the symptoms (plant foliage yellowing and dying from the bottom of the plant upward) begin, leaf surface, and consequently plant production, has been damaged.

14. "Hardening" your garden soil by not incorporating an abundance of organic material and using mulch. Stomping around plants and pacing in the garden unnecessarily can cause hardened soil in which roots can not expand easily.

15. Ignoring sprawl control of tomatoes creates a difficult to harvest mass of vines which allow fruit to make soil contact and consequently rot. Sprawling vines are a haven in which insects can harbor and breed and disease organisms can proliferate without the danger of pesticide applications to control their damage.

16. Overcrowding vegetable plants by either transplanting too closely or not thinning seeded plants properly causes reduced production and/or less-than-optimum quality produce. Overcrowding vegetable plants can cause the same detrimental effects as planting vegetables in a shaded location. See the spacing recommendations at:

17. Overwatering plants is just as bad and probably more commonly done than not watering enough. Plants with a rotted root system caused by overwatering obviously does not produce as abundantly as do plants which have been kept moist, not wet, not dry. Probe the top several inches of the soil with your finger; if you feel moisture, DON'T WATER!

18. Keeping and trying to "clean up" old, contaminated plants. Knowing when to terminate a crop is critical to gardening success. Gardeners tend to "fall in love" with plants which they have raised from "a baby". Old plant "babies" tend to become diseased and spread that disease to healthy plants. Old plants are also a breeding ground for insects which can then spread to other plants.

19. Planting everything and anything you see in the seed catalog. Plant ONLY what you, your loved ones and your neighbors will eat. Plant ONLY what you have a use for and know what to do with. Spending a lot of time and effort growing something that you don't know what to do with or something that you will have to beat your family to eat doesn't make good gardening sense.

20. Growing plants which are too large for your garden space or is uneconomical can be discouraging. In small gardens, grow plants which provide a multi-harvest opportunity such as tomatoes, peppers, beans, squash and broccoli rather than once harvest crops such as cauliflower. In small gardens grow compact vegetable crops rather than large plants such as pumpkins.