Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Lettuce Bed, Cole Crop, & Garlic

Sometime in the fall, I planted several different types of lettuce seeds, a couple of cabbage seeds, and some spinach seeds. I had gotten 2 varieties of lettuce at a plant swap and the rest I ordered from either Cherry Gal or Victory Seed Company . They survived being transplanted and they've survived freezing temps and snow. It's done very well for us and now we're thinking of letting one plant of each variety go to seed. It's wonderful to have fresh lettuce during the winter months. As a matter of fact, I need to harvest some for tonight's dinner.

Endive (foreground) & Parris Island Cos


Red Rapids

Grandpa Admire's

Bronze Lettuce

Black Seeded Simpson

Craquerelle DuMidi

Kentucky Limestone

Lollo Rosso


January King Cabbage

Monnopa Spinach


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Final Haul

We woke to SNOW this morning in my little part of North Texas. What a huge surprise!! It didn't stay for long, thank goodness. The snow was pretty much melted by noon and the streets and rooftops dried up by nightfall.

It didn't get down to freezing so all the veggies still out on the plants were okay, but when we watched the late news this evening, the forecast was "at or below freezing temps" for tonight, so DH and I donned our winter coats, picking baskets, hand held pruners, flashlights, and headed out the door. In the dark. To harvest the rest of the maters and peppers. This is what we came back with.

Most of the maters we picked aren't ripe. There's a couple of yellow tomatoes in the pile, some Green Zebras, and some regular red tomatoes, either Ponderosa or something else. We'll have maters on every windowsill in our house!

So long, garden of 2009! Hello garden of 2010 starting January 1st!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Liftoff in the Garlic Bed!

At the beginning of October, I went to the North Central Texas Fall Round-Up of folks from the Dave's Garden community. It was a cool, rainy day and not nearly the turnout as we've had at previous getogethers. One of the sweet ladies, who's a Master Gardener and extremely knowledgeable in Texas Native plants gave everyone a snack size bag of garlic pods to plant. I was so excited because I wanted to grow garlic this year, but our financial situation has kept us from being able to purchase any garlic to plant. The bag contained 2 large bulbs that will be ready to harvest next year and tons of little "bulblets" that will not be ready for 2 years.

A couple of weeks ago, I planted the garlic. We (DH did most of the hard labor) dug up the small bed in the backyard that had previously grown green beans, watermelon, pumpkins, and a rogue tomato plant. We added some compost from our compost pile, some llama manure (also secured at the round-up), and some mushroom compost to the soil that was already in the bed. Then we planted!

You can see the size difference between the 2 pod sizes in the pic above. The ones at the top of the two rows are the ones that will be ready to harvest next June or July. The smaller ones, with a tougher covering, will take longer to pop out and longer to reach maturity.

So I planted these on a Sunday. The next week, we had cooler temps and 8" of rain! Then the following week, we got more rain. I was beginning to panic, thinking the little bulbs had either rotted or were planted too deeply. Then, during my walk about the gardens this morning, I discovered LIFE in the garlic beds!!

There are 2 little bulbs poking their heads off. These are the ones that were bigger and will be ready next year. Yesterday, I planted the remaining 12 small bulblets in a different bed just in case these didn't make it. Now, I just have to find a spot for the 4 o'clocks I got!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Early Fall Views

Everything seems to be enjoying the rainy weather. Now, if we could just get some warmer temps and a stretch of sunshine, it would be perfect!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

This is What Happens When... don't have proper support for your tomato plants...then you find our they're heirlooms and grow to 10' tall. get 8" of rain in a 5-day period and above mentioned tomatoes decide to set roots. The problem is they're 6' from any type of soil. forget to empty your winter sowing containers and after 8" of rain discover seedlings have sprouted after lying dormant during the 100ยบ+ summer temps. don't turn your compost pile on a regular basis. have 10,001 cherry tomato plants STILL producing.

...your winter sown plants that you've babied all summer finally decide to bloom!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

It's Party Time!

At least this little girl pumpkin thinks so!! Things have cooled off, my back is cooperating better, and I'm feeling like getting out in the gardens again. Thank God for my husband! He's been diligently caring for the garden, watering, treating for bugs and worms, and harvesting the veggies. I knew there was a reason I married him! LOL However, the heat and dog days of summer really did a number on the veggie garden. Everything except the blasted okra and the jalapenos quit producing. We pampered the tomatoes, the bell peppers, and the watermelons through the worst of it and now we've got some fruit growing again. I'm surprised how well most things like the warmer side of cool temps!

Here's most of today's harvest. There are still a few more cherry tomatoes out there that I need to bring in, but I was tired of fighting the bird netting so I decided I'd collect them this evening.

Some of these jalapenos are HUGE! I noticed that when the temps got really hot, the jalapenos were smaller and turned red much faster than when the temps were more moderate. The larger tomato in the pic is supposed to be a cherry tomato, but that thing's big for a cherry tomato! (They do say everything's bigger in Texas!)

A pretty orange bell pepper enjoying the shade. This might be part of my dinner tonight!

Some cherry tomatoes in various stages of growth.

Our last Sugar Baby melon ripening in the sun.

Our first Moon & Stars watermelon. These finally took off when we pulled out the beans.

Our first full size fall tomato!! It's an Oxheart Orange tomato and I accidentally discovered it yesterday while examining the tomato patch. There's also another little baby growing on the plant as well. I'm so excited as this is the first of the $0.50 each heirloom tomato plants we purchased at a local nursery and planted in late April or May. They're all huge and tall now and I hope they'll produce well during the upcoming fall months.

Here's one of the pumpkin vines in the front flower bed. I didn't realize how long the vines get and how huge the leaves are on a pumpkin vine!! WOW! I have one vine that's at least 10' long and sprawled all over the bed! The second picture is a little girl pumpkin whose flower opened yesterday. I'm waiting to see if she got pollinated. I don't see how she couldn't as there are bumblebees, honey bees, and butterflies all over that bed.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Of Muskmelons and Pumpkins

I was out checking the melon bed this morning because it has an ant mound or nest in it somewhere, when I lifted the melon that's been laying on top of the bed and it popped off in my hand! Imagine my surprise!! I had read that when melons are ready, they'll slip off the vine, but I wasn't really prepared for them to be ready. I gently tested the other melons to see if they were ready and I ended up with another melon. Here's our total harvest for today:

The melon on the right is the one that unsuspectingly popped off in my hand! We cut into it this evening and had some for dinner. I'm guessing it's a Hale's Best cantaloupe. The other cantaloupe I planted was an Israeli cantaloupe and their flesh is supposed to be green.

Two days ago, on 7/15, I planted 2 hills of pumpkins with 5 seeds in each hill. This morning as I was peeking out my bedroom window, I noticed what appeared to be sprouts on those hills. Upon closer inspection, this is what I found.

One seedling on each hill!! This is the first time I've grown pumpkins, so this is going to be a learning experience for sure!

Some views from the flower bed in the waning evening light for you.

Blanket Flower

Rudbeckia "Herbstonne"

John Fannick Phlox