"And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress and keep it". Genesis 2:15

Monday, June 1, 2009

What I did today in the Garden

I thought I would start a running post of my day to day gardening activities, when I actually do something. It will live over in the side bar henceforthly.

Wednesday May 12, 2010

I obviously have not been keeping up with this post. My entire spring and summer vegetable garden has been planted and we are already almost through with the spring stuff like lettuce and broccoli. Here is a list of things I recently planted around the house. In the herb garden: Cinnamon Basil, Purple basil and curly leaf basil, Pineapple Mint, chocolate Mint, Stevia, curry plant, salad burnet and more lavender. Else where here and there: Malabar Spinach on a pretty trellis, four o'clocks, moss rose, black-eyed susan vine, cosmos, and bachelor buttons.

Thursday March 4, 2010

In a gap in the rain we planted 4 packs of onion sets, cabbage, swiss chard and lettuce transplants.

Saturday February 27, 2010

Today I got back in the garden again. All of December and January we raked leaves on top of the vegetable garden and it did a great job of keeping out the winter weeds. I will be transplanting soon! Today I raked back the leaves in the spot where I plan to plant onions and I buried some watering pots. The soil is still too wet to dig in yet.

Monday December 7, 2009

I see that I haven't posted here for  while. Shame on me, I will have to recap. Our first frost was sometime late in November, but it was so mild that it only slightly hit the pumpkin vines,  everything else was fine. Since then we have harvested everything we could that was in danger, Okra, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, squashes, broccoli, and last of all the pumpkins. I discovered that soft green pumpkins can be cooked just like zucchini, and that hard skinned green pumpkin can be set in the sun to ripen, just bring them in if it is going to freeze.

What is left in the garden is cabbage, carrots, the broccoli stalks which I hope will still produce some shoots, mustard greens, Brussel sprouts, and garlic.

We have a problem with winter weeds in this part of Texas, especially hen bit taking over the garden during the winter, so I will have to get busy remulching everything and stay on top of the weeds. If I had a shredder it would make cleaning up the garden so much easier.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Today we picked our first pumpkin ever! It was an accident since we were messing with it to see if it was ripe and the stem snapped, so it was "picked." It was ripe and it weighs 12.5 pounds. I am thrilled to have grown our first pumpkin.

Thursday September 24, 2009

Planted seeds of Lupine amongst the Irises and in various spots. Planted three types of Echinacea (purple cone flower), Thunbergia (black eyed susan vine), Malabar Spinach (an edible perennial vine) and a climbing vine mix on part of the picket fence.

Saturday September 19, 2009

Time to plant seeds of beets, carrots, lettuces, mustards, radishes, rutabaga, spinach, kale, leeks, and peas. A few fast growing herbs can also be planted such as parsley, dill, cilantro and basil. Wildflower seeds and certain perennials - foxglove, lupines, daisies, poppies, delphinium, coreopsis, dianthus, grasses, eupatorium and veronica - can all be planted now. Planting chart.

We planted carrots, a French lettuce mixture, and some mustard. We sunk a few more sub-irrigators into the ground beforehand for watering. After all that, Anna and I sprayed the soil in various hot spots with predatory nematodes to kill the larvae of various pests such as spider mites, flea beetles, and cucumber beetles. The nematodes were mixed in water and sprayed with a pump sprayer by me, then   watered in with a watering can to make sure the nematodes went down into the soil by Anna.

 Claire worked on a project to renovate a path  to block the grass from growing.   . Garry was scraping paint from the back picket fence all morning while the girls and I worked in the garden.

We  harvested some okra, yellow squash, butternut squash and our first acorn squashes, and a large bowl of lima beans.

I was pretty ambitious that day and wanted to get started on a project for the front flower bed, the one directly in front of the front porch. This bed gets so much shade that not much will grow there.

Well I got as far as moving a few things that needed more sun to a different bed, and raking back the mulch, then I was pooped and had to stop. On Monday morning I did divide one large cast iron plant clump and spread it out in the middle of the bed. When I was teaching my flute lessons in the afternoon I kept wondering why my back hurt so much!

Saturday September 5, 2009

Today Anna and I planted a bunch of transplants. First I sank a bunch of clay pots in the ground for sub-irrigation. When I ran out of pots we buried plastic milk jugs with holes punched in them to do the same thing. Next we planted 3-4 transplants next to each water filled pot. The water will seep out and keep the soil around the buried pots moist. We planted broccoli, cabbage, and brussel sprouts. If you have been reading this you will wonder why I planted broccoli again. Well the first broccoli I planted from seed never came up! I think my seed is too old.

We also harvested some okra and squash today.
Sunday August 30, 2009

Our Okra just started blooming a few days ago, and already we have large pods that need to be picked. This is something that you have to check every day. I happen to be the only one in the family that likes okra, so I didn't plant very much. This morning I was searching for okra recipes and came across an indian recipe for marsala stuffed okra. We will have to try that one.
In addition to the okra, we have been picking green peppers, yellow squash, butternut squash, and lima beans. The lima beans that I rescued in the spring from the ants and aphids lived all this time and produced a bumper crop. It was fun shelling them all and having a meal of the best tasting, tender limas we had ever had.
The pumpkin vines have grown truly enormous, but still no pumpkins!

Wednesday August 5, 2009

Today Anna helped me rip out all the old plants from the spring garden to make way for the fall stuff. Its hard to rip out stuff that is still alive, but I really dont think it will produce anything more. We left the old squash as it has started producing again, and the old tomatoes, peppers and lima beans. Remember the lima beens that the ants tried to destroy? Well they are doing great and producing some beans.
Most of the old stuff was so full of spider-mites that I just stuffed them in black garbage bags and threw them away. I felt creepy after touching them and had to wash up really well!
What I have in the garden right now is:
Tomatoes, peppers, yellow squash, butternut squash, patty pan squash, pumpkins, okra, lima beans. I have planted seeds of broccoli and cabbage, and will soon plant cucumbers, then all the greens at the end of the month. I could also plant corn and potatoes, but I wont.

Saturday August 1, 2009

I officially started planting fall cool weather crops! Today I planted about a row of three different kinds of broccoli, and about 1/4 of a row of cabbage.
We had two inches of rain this week! The garden looks pretty good except for all the old spider-mite ridden beans that I haven't pulled up yet. Note to self - its not worth it to try and tide most plants over from spring to fall. The squash I planted in the spring is still looking great and started producing again though. I am questioning if it was worth it to water them while they were not producing. I dont know?
Most of the new pepper plants were eaten by something. Either cut worms or pill bugs. I only have three new pepper plants left. If I had remembered to put cut pieces of drinking straw around their stems, and had shaded them from the west, it probably would have been alright. I do have 4 old pepper plants that are still producing though.
Tuesday July 14, 2009

The last couple of weeks have been blazing hot! In the last 12 days it has been over 100 degrees 9 times. Yesterday it was 104! Needless to say I am struggling to keep everything watered and alive. The Laundry room water has been a great help in this, plus the 1/2 rain that filled 4 rain barrels. Most everything is doing alright, except the tomatoes which usually dont survive this time of year anyway.
I am in the process of getting the fall garden planted with new tomatoes, peppers. and various squash. Most everything has taken the heat just fine except for the new tomato transplants - they were wilting badly every afternoon even with good water. My solution for that was to rig card board shades on the west sides of their tomato cages. I simply cut up some cardboard and used clothespins to attach them to the west side of the cages. This way the tomatoes get shade in the hottest part of the afternoon.
I am happy with what I have been learning in the water conservation area. What with rain barrels, grey water, and sub-irrigation pots I have drastically reduced my usual water bill, while actually doing a better job of keeping everything happy.
Wednesday July 1, 2009

I have scavenged all my old clay pots to convert them into subsurface irrigators. I wasn't using the clay pots for anything since, over the years, I have realized that in this heat clay pots just let too much water evaporate due to their porosity. This makes them good subsurface irrigators though. I cleaned up the pots, plugged the bottom hole with silicone, buried them, and filled them with water. The water will slowly leach out and water the plant planted next to them.
I am currently planting some of my fall garden plants around these, and will see how they do. I am planting pumpkin, squash and cantaloupe right now, and am getting ready to plant tomatoes and peppers. I am still harvesting tomatoes, beans, squash, cucumbers, and bell peppers.
The water barrel under the laundry room window is finished and catching laundry water. It is so hot and we really need this water!
I am doing very little weeding due to the heavy mulch I put down.
Friday June 25, 2009

I finally made compost!!! See my post about it here.
In addition to that I have been experimenting with water conservation methods, and picking produce. We have a potato beetle problem that I hope wont kill everything off. Apparently the larvae feed on plant roots. It's too hot to spray the plants. Around here it's sometimes hard to keep everything alive in July and August since it gets so hot. It's already getting over 100 everyday.
We can plant things for a fall garden though, and try to keep those alive in the heat.
My worms and BSF larvae are still alive and wriggling - so far so good.

Monday June 15, 2009

Harvested strawberries, tomatoes, dill seed.
Planted lavender.
Set out Safer Brand Fire Ant bait, and Garden Safe slug bait, both are non-toxic.
Snipped strawberry runners.
Messed with worms and BSF Larvae.
Saturday June 10, 2009

Planted okra, pumpkins, cantaloupe.
Picked strawberries, tomatoes, green beans.
Went to a worm composting class with Anna! We now have a plastic worm bin and 1/2 lb. of worms!
Friday June 9, 2009

I spent most of the day making a homemade Black Soldier Fly composter/pod. I used a left over 10 gallon bucket equipped with a screw on lid, a piece of old garden hose cut in half length wise for the ramp, and two old jars for the compost tea collector and the self harvesting container, and more garden hose for all the connections. I used Garry's hand auger to drill 3/4 and 1" holes for ventilation and connections. I will post a picture when it is all done.
Planted a few more transplants, basil, thyme and chamomile, in the herbal tea bed.
Continued to renew the mulch in flower beds. We have run out of mulch from our tree.
Wednesday June 10, 2009

Today it is too wet to work in the garden. We got three inches of rain last night and this morning, and the rain barrels are all full. I wish we had more barrels! My wonderful husband brought home something yesterday call, "Texas Guide to Rainwater Harvesting. Texas Water Development Board in Cooperation with the Center for Maximum Building Systems." I cant wait to read it. This is funny since he came home to the weather sirens going off due to a tornado/hail warning and we had to go down in the storm shelter. Read about it in the post "Almost a Tornado."

Tuesday June 9, 2009

Transplanted borage, basil, fennel and dill to the herbal tea garden.
Made a huge list of garden chores and put it up in the house. The girls are supposed to check it in the morning and pick something to help me with each day. They put their initials by chores they have done. Now I have to think up some reward. ; )
Claire picked deadheading some flowers, and Anna helped me with the transplants. Then I taught Anna how to train and prune the various vines in the vegetable garden (cucumbers, tomatoes and squashes.)
Today I discovered black soldier fly larvae in my compost. (Yes the compost in the rolling barrels finally started working.) After doing research on the web I got so excited! People actually raise these things in bins (like worms) and they make great chicken, fish and reptile feed! I am definitely getting into this, so stay tuned. Now I am more than ever eager to get some chickens, and my old excuse for not letting Anna have a pet lizard is gone (I dont like spending good money for crickets.) I dont have to spend money on the lizard either - she catches them all the time!
Saturday June 6, 2009

The last couple of days were spent just enjoying my garden and pulling a few weeds here and there. Garry put up some tall stakes for me to train the tomatoes on. Thank you! We tackled bermuda grass in the new paths. I finished reading "Ruth stouts No Work Garden book."
Today I harvested the rest of the carrots and onions. The carrots were the best ever - wish I had planted more of them. Now that the garden is bigger I will be able to plant a bigger fall crop.
I also renewed my attack on the ants and put out more homemade ant killer.
My baby herbs are doing fine and I am starting to harden them to more direct sunlight. I will plant them soon.
Wednesday June 3, 2009

It is such a lovely day today! Here it is 2:00 in the afternoon and it is only 81 degrees out side. We worked in the garden all morning long, off an on, right up 'til noon, because it was so cloudy and cool. The only thing that stopped me was that I pooped out : (
I finished weeding the rose bed and reapplying the mulch. Hopefully the job is done for the summer. I'll just keep throwing on mulch if weeds appear.
Claire weeded a gravel path, a difficult job, and Anna weeded and expanded her Iris bed.
I mulched the 40' row that is now empty of onions. That was a lot of work shuttling the mulch around from a pile to the garden, as opposed to opening up store bought bags. But the mulch is free - unless you count how much we paid having the tree cut down : (
I worked on training the tomatoes, cucumbers and squash - a perplexing job I am just learning.
After that Anna and I braided all the onions we have pulled up so far. That was fun. I have a picture of them in the blog called Braiding Onions. We hung the onions up in the pantry/laundry room.
Doesn't seem like much, but I am really tired!
Tuesday June 2, 2009

The rain kept me from doing anything in the garden this morning. The storm was pretty spectacular though and we got about an inch of rain. Instead of working at home we took a little trip to our Pastor's house to visit with Marlene. Marlene showed us her Easter Egg Chicks (we hope to adopt a few). The grown rooster was gorgeous! Marlene also raises meat goats and goat dogs. We got a tour of all her ingenious automated devices for watering and feeding- she is a wiz at concocting things to suit her purposes. Way to go Marlene! Marlene gave me lots of advice, especially about all the things you can make out of wire stock panels! I am now "hatching" a plan to make a chicken tractor out of one 16' stock panel.
Monday June 1, 2009

Got up very early and weeded the Rose bed. I reapplied mulch which was thinning.
Anna got up and helped me dig up bermuda grass in the vegetable garden extension area. We cleaned up the area, moving all the various heavy composting trash cans over to a new spot, moved a bunch of bricks and cinder blocks, and raked wood chips all over so no bare soil shows now. In a few weeks it will be time to start putting in the second season garden plants.
We found two garter snakes and one lizard. Anna had fun playing with them. The lizard was the same leopard gecko that lost it's tail last time Anna found it. It's tail had already grown back a quarter of an inch! The tail was not spotted like the rest of him and was a different color, so we could tell it was new. We played a hide and seek game where the lizard crawled all over Anna, while I tried to look at it. It was always just going around one corner of her as I was going around the other! If I stopped, it would peek around her shoulder at me. Anna is a good sport.
We dug a trench and set in an 8 foot long board along one side of this garden extension to baffle the bermuda grass. Of course I will be the one that gets baffled by the wilily grass!
We played around rolling the compost barrels that had been freed from the termite ridden stand along the ground. This was fun and much easier than rotating them on the stand. I am going to leave it like this.
By 10:30 we were done and we sat in the shade and looked at the flowers. It was only 82 degrees by this time today.

Sunday May 31, 2009

Claire was feeling poorly so I stayed home from church with her.
I wasn't going to do any "work" in the garden, but I couldn't help noticing...
The Ants were eating my baby Red Bud again. I reapplied the kaoline clay band-aid which had washed off in the pouring rain a few days ago. Once again worked like a charm.
Of course I noticed that the rain had washed off all the clay from the peach tree. No, I wasn't going to spray the tree while all my good brethren were at church! However, I did dab a bit on that happened to be left over from the ants (spraying's easier.)
I wandered around "looking" at things, and refilled all the bug traps with water. Why do the bugs all go into the trap already filled with dead bugs? You would think it would be a "dead" give away ; )
I checked the ant bait I had put out in pill bottles. Boy ants are dumb! There is a pile of dead ants in the bottle and around, but the ants are still going in there. (Ants may be "dumb" but they sure have got us beat!)
I noticed two big empty pots sitting there all forlorn. What they really wanted was fennel seeds, so I obliged.
I also notice a Rosemary plant that wanted to be planted in the big pot next the the iron bench, so I obliged it, and also the peppermint seeds that wanted to be planted in the big pot's partner on the other side of the iron bench.
But Really now Garden, that's enough, its Sunday morning!
Time to go in when its 90 degrees in the shade at 10:00 in the morning.
Saturday May 30, 2009

Weeded here and there.
Claire weeded the Iris bed (this is never mulched so... weeds : )
Anna helped me harvest 88 onions that had fallen over. They are drying in the shade of the front porch waiting for me to braid them and hang them in the laundry room.
Tied up a squash to the trellis.
Pruned a few tomatoes. Lots of fruit is setting!
Anna and I pulled up all the spinach and lettuce that was bolting. Ate the spinach and threw the lettuce in compost.
Everyone helped mulch the new herb garden with our dear departed tree's wood chips.
I redesigned the new herb garden layout, as its real self differed from my "plan."
Started some more herb seed.
Cooled off in the shade under the Cucumber trellis. There was a wonderful cool breeze!
Read " Ruth Stout's No Work Garden Book" for a few hours. Fabulous!
Did garden research on the net.


  1. I am so happy to have found your blog! I am a newbie gardner. We live in the North Central part of Texas..(North East Johnson County). I'd love to know what area you are planting in! I have right at one acre w/ a wet weather stream (wooded along of course).. The property was a part of a pasture...so I am starting from scratch and I hope to do what you described "Make something ugly beautiful".

  2. We are in South West Denton County so we are not too far as counties go.

    Congratulations on your property! Since you are starting from scratch you have the opportunity to really plan everything out carefully - you can even plan the placement of trees from the sound of it and not be stuck with bad placement like I was. The internet is a great resource for gardening information. I would go to your county extension agent's web site and see if they have a planting chart for your area.

    When I moved here I had hundreds of plants in tow dug up from our previous home, so I had to get them in the ground as quickly as possible in what beds were available, so the planning wasn't the best.