Monthly Archives: February 2012

Typos

I was re-reading some posts and noticed what seem like crazy typos. I’d like to chime in and say I post from my iPhone. I attempt to read over the post but miss thing. Please bear with me. Lol. Damn auto-correct!

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The beginning of plants, or planning!

There are 2 ways to approach choosing plants, and they are not that different.
1. Plan ahead, what do you eat? What can you grow during your growing season. Then find transplants and or seeds.

2. Find a reputable nursery (NOT a big box store because they won’t stop you from making a dumb plant purchase) and see what they have for sale at the time. Then purchase what is ready to plant.

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Know what your growing season is, here in central texas we really have 3:
1. Spring which is most other folks what others consider early summer.
2. Summer which is only extremely heat tolerant plants.
3. Fall which is what others think of as late summer.
4. Yeah I know it’s extra. But if our winter is mild then we get a longer cold plant season. Or an early start on spring.

Part of knowing your growing season is planning days to harvest. Tomatoes are a wonderful example here in central Texas, from the time it’s warm enough to have the plants thrive to when it’s too hot is VERY short for me. So I need a fast plant, if you have a longer season for tomatoes I envy you. I want them all summer. Ok off target, I’ll post about my love of tomatoes later.

Here are some pictures of my garden notebook. If you don’t know what failed how can you succeed later? However you do it keep a garden log.

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Sorry for the blurry….

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I labeled north and numbered the blocks.

Happy planning!

Raised beds complete

Living in central Texas certainly has it’s advantages one of them is that our projected last freeze date is coming up next week.

With this in mind I really wanted to get the soil this weekend for our raised beds. We purchased the garden soil for our raised beds at a garden center named Natural Gardener. The really cool thing about this garden center is that they sell dirt that you can bag yourself.

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Shoveling the dirt or in this case garden soil was not that difficult. The only issue is in the actual number of their size bag that equals a cubic yard of dirt, about 20. The issue came in the fact of loading two small cars with that number of bags of dirt we were only able to take home 14 today.

The good news is they give you a month to get back and pick up the remainder of what you already purchased. The 14 bags of garden soil that we purchased was enough to almost completely fill the two raised beds that we already had built.

Here are some pictures of the progress of the filling of the raised beds. I'm not going to take the time to go into the intricacies of raised bed gardening there plenty of resources everywhere else on the Internet

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Normally you would use garden twine to delineate your squares, in this case I used blue yarn it’s what I had on hand. As you can see were still a few bags of dirt short of having the raised beds. completely filled. One thing that I will note is that we went and added expanded shale to both of the beds. This is because during the summer in central Texas it’s extremely hot and the expanded shale while preventing compression of the soil also helps hold moisture and sort of like vermiculite. With one main difference expanded shale does not decompose overtime therefore it is a permanent amendment to the soil.

The reason that I chose to add expanded shale over something like vermiculite to our raised beds is the fact that it helps with water retention and it’s also not something that I have to replenish. Have you ever tried to find vermiculite? Yeah just go looking for some, around here it sells out fast.

Next step? Plants!

Grass Sprouts!

We’re currently in the middle of an awful drought here in Texas and one of the big things that suffered is our lawn.

When we first moved in back in July there wasn’t really a lot of grass that was left in our yard man because the house had sat vacant for the better part of a year before we purchased it.

One of the most difficult things where we live is selecting a type of grass that’ll do well in our difficult soil and also be able to deal with her high heat conditions. Due to drought considerations obviously the first grass to be out of the running is going to be St. Augustine. So for me that leaves me two choices Bermuda grass and Zyosia grass. I know that a lot of people would prefer that Bermuda grass not be planted but when you live in heavy clay and alkaline soil you need grass to have the characteristics of a weed to take over.

And because I really didn’t know which grass to grow better I decided to start a little experiment so I present to you dueling grasses.

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I started a small greenhouse tray of each type of grass and they finally sprouted. Once the weather gets a little better outside I’ll be clearing out two very near but identical sections of earth and planting them both and see which one can manage to take over.

Urban gardening update

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These are 2 4×4 foot beds that are 12 inches deep. We think it will take about a cubic yard of dirt to fill them. After doing the math it’s almost $100 cheaper to buy the garden soil in bulk. Make sure to find a reputable place and only buy good quality soil meant for use in a garden. Otherwise don’t be upset when your plants don’t make it.

We hope to get the dirt this weekend to fill the boxes. The past few weekends have just been nasty.