Category Archives: Garden

Landscaping

20130407-172654.jpg

Theoretically, I should have taken a before photo. Then again you can tell from the photos that it needed to be updated.

We found the barrel at Home Depot while picking up yet more tomato and pepper plants (more on this insanity later). I of course had to have it. Immediately thinking of that ugly gas meter, I used a hummingbird bush and a lovely trailing purple ground cover.

20130407-172846.jpg

My husband I and I dug out the grass to make a planter bed for cannas I had purchased a few weeks ago, the elephant ear a co-worker gave me, and 2 asiatic lilies that were on clearance at Lowe’s (mine had tons of annuals, and even perennials that were marked way down because they were not blooming at the time). The lilies are guinea pigs! If they make it super awesome, if not oh well I paid $5 for the pair.

20130407-173358.jpg

Finally a chile petin that will hopefully used when canning season comes to make some hot salsa that my husband will have to taste test (hopefully using all the tomatoes and peppers I planted). Finally, a Meyer lemon found at HEB that I just HAD to have. Hopefully it give me fruit. I chose to put in a container so I can hopefully save it in the winter from freezing.

Spring Begins

20130327-174707.jpg

Here are my 2 beds. I have learned some valuable lessons since this time last year. One is build a better trellis. I found a good size plastic mesh for the plant to have enough to grab and really hold on to. Also, it’s better secured using zip ties!

20130327-175004.jpg

You can’t really see them but it allows the plastic netting to have a good amount of tension.

20130327-175219.jpg

Those odd looking things are water walls. You fill up the chambers up with water and let them sit out to warm all day. This allows them to help keep your tomato and pepper plants warm. They saved my behind this year. I decided that I was going to get my plants in the ground because they were looking bad in the containers. Well, you see I didn’t check the weather. DUN DUN DUN… incoming freeze! The other issue was that I went a little crazy buying tomato plants. I got 4 and 2 peppers. I only had 3 water wells but they managed to radiate enough heat to save the whole lot.

20130327-175932.jpg

The other thing I am doing different this year is only planting what we ate last year. Tomatoes, peppers, sugar snaps, cucumbers and zucchini. I might get a few more little things but will focus on what I will eat.

Ch-ch-changes

After putting it off for a while I finally cleared out my tomatoes to get the other bed ready for fall. I had been putting it off for a while because I was still getting some tomatoes.

They looked like this

20120919-203807.jpg

All cracked from the good amount of rain we had.

20120919-203854.jpg

This is what that bed looked like when I started.

20120919-203952.jpg

This is after the tomatoes were gone, and I was debating what got to stay. There was a good size oregano, and parsley that had split into 2 bunches. I also discovered my jalapeño and Greek pepper plants were in fact still alive. The tomatoes smothered them. I decided to harvest the herbs, I have some in pots on the porch. I left the chard, and peppers. The zucchini is still giving me enough squash to stay.

Here it is all cleared out…

20120919-204103.jpg

Lots of room for new plants! I’m going to make a PVC grid for this bed as well as start to put in drip irrigation while it’s all open.

DIY Seed Tape

Finally something I’m early for in the garden. Seed tapes!

Huh? Seed tape?

20120916-213423.jpg

Ok so maybe toilet paper seed squares is a better term since I broke them up.

20120916-213535.jpg

You need:
– cheap dye free toilet paper
– glue that is water dissolvable.
– seeds
Optional: food coloring.

I chose to use food coloring so I would know where the glue dot was, and so later I know the seed spacing.

20120916-213806.jpg

As an FYI mixing food coloring into a whole bottle of glue is not easy, and is downright annoying. But, I don’t have to mix glue and color every time I make seed tapes (and I have less red fingers). The color does not matter, but I got red so I can use it later for red velvet cake.

20120916-214012.jpg

Determine the seed spacing then add seeds.

20120916-214048.jpg

I used tweezers. Yeah the nails don’t help. You should hear me type!

20120916-214305.jpg

Once all the seeds are in place, place a sheet of toilet paper on the top. Let dry.
Then place seed tapes in a bag with the seed packet (you were wondering how to tell them apart huh?).

I also over seeded each one. You’re never going to get 100% germination. If you do, please tell me how.

Finally I broke the sheets apart to allow succession planting. These ‘tapes’ work for carrots, beets, parsnips, or any other small seed that can easily be washed away, or just need to be barely covered and birds like to steal them.

Aquarium Seed Starter

This has been a super busy weekend for me in the garden and yard. So much it’s going to be more than one post.

First up is using an aquarium as a seed starter.

This idea goes back a while and involves a few weird twists.
1. I am horrible at starting seeds. They always end up all leggy, and then die.

2. I had a groupon for a garden center that was about to expire a while ago, after being ignored by the staff I grabbed a seed starting mat and thermometer.

3. My pet mouse died. Leaving me an empty aquarium. (Yes. I had a pet mouse, the aquarium has a lid)

So after a trip to target I snagged a lamp, and assembled the tank.

20120916-210734.jpg

20120916-210745.jpg

The foil is to reflect the light around the tank.

So far it’s working wonderfully. I wish I had this back in July. Because I’m late starting these seeds.

20120916-211018.jpg

I used small jiffy pots, seed starting mix, and snack size baggies to create mini green houses. This allows them to stay moist, breathe a little. They are easy to watch and portable.

Next step? A timer for the light so all I have to do is water.

Tomorrow I’ll show you how to make your own seed tape!

Garden clearance

On a store stop on the way home today my local grocery store HEB, in a smaller store had garden things on clearance. Namely peat pots, and *gasp* miracle grow on serious discount. The peat pots were $0.24-$0.35 per package.

While many of you are not thinking of spring gardens right now be on the lookout for garden supplies on the cheap. This time of year many big box retailers put garden stuff on clearance. Which can be a huge money saver.

20120902-205932.jpg

4 packs less than a dollar. Score!

Drip Irrigation

FINALLY!

We knew when the beds were put in that drip irrigation was ultimately where we wanted to end up. Here in central Texas we are still in a drought, and while currently not under water restrictions, I’ve tried to act like we were to see if I could garden in a drought.

The thing is there are so many options with drip irrigation. Too many. I needed a starter kit, something to be able to look at and go from there. Alas, I could not justify the $60 price tag at my usual big box garden store. Amazon was sold out on the kit I liked there. I wanted to get the irrigation in place for my fall garden. Knowing this is my learning curve for spring garden 2.0.

Well, google led me to Raised bed irrigation which then led to DIG corp drip irrigation kit. Available at Home Depot for 1/3 the cost of a different brand starter kit at another garden retailer ( I’m not advocating a certain store, or a certain brand drip irrigation. I will say that the Home Depot mobile site does tell you what aisle to look in).

It was not only simple to set up, it had a great guide included. And at about $20 I figured it would at least be a good start.

We did a central line the width of the box with the drip line running the length.

20120902-204518.jpg

I like this way because I can change the length lines to solid tubing with emitters for things like tomatoes when I can only get 2 per length of the bed, or squash. While I can put in different for carrots, radishes, or parsnips.

Hopefully tomorrow I’ll get my fall garden plants in.

Garden update

20120806-183752.jpg

I have been completely slacking on updating what is been going on with my garden boxes. As you can see from the picture above they look a lot different than last time I updated.

The bed that is now empty I am working on figuring out some form of irrigation for it in preparation for my fall garden.

My husband helped me build a PVC grid that he drilled small holes into in an attempt to form an irrigation system and also a marking system for the different sections. It works awesome for just being a grid. Sadly it sucks as irrigation because my boxes are not level. I think that grid is going to become a trellis.

Those are my tomato bushes that I was about to give in and rip out before I noticed that the entire top third of them are once again covered in fruit. There for a while the heat was so bad that they were flowering they weren’t setting properly. Now it’s back to me vs. the birds for tomatoes.

20120806-184352.jpg

Also along the lines of being lazy that is a baby cantaloupe. I picked up the cantaloupe plant on a whim one day at the nursery and forgot to plant it for about a week and ended up sticking in a large pot and setting it off to the side of the garden and forgetting about it. Apparently it was getting enough water to give me one baby cantaloupe.

Right now I am in the process of getting ready to start planting the empty box for my fall garden. November 20 is the average first frost date for where I live. That gives me about 90 days to start for plants that are frost tolerant, or about a month of plants that have about a 60 day plant to harvest time. If I cover when it gets cold, I might have tomatoes for a good while longer!

Garden downtime

I realize it’s been a while since I’ve updated my garden. Quite honestly it’s because it’s been around 100° for the past several weeks and everything has just sort of gone into stationary mode.

The cherry and plum tomato bushes have been producing decently well even with the heat and my lack of constant watering. However the larger variety tomato bush that I had has completely failed. By that I mean while the bush would flower almost continuously the entire time it has produced four tomatoes. It was removed today officially.

Right now I’m waiting for ‘fall’ transplants, and cooler weather.

In the meantime this is what happens when you assume that your cucumber plant is not producing fruit

20120709-212017.jpg

Birds vs. tomatoes

I can overlook a lot of minor pest issues in my garden. In fact I’ve been dealing with a prominent fire ant situation that I can’t seem to do anything about.

20120615-190907.jpg

But I about had a conniption fit when I walked out to check on my garden on Monday evening and noticed the carnage caused by the mockingbirds. What you see there is the remnants of my tomatoes that I picked off the ground in the garden beds. Apparently the mockingbirds had decided that my tomatoes would be a nice treat in addition to their regular diet of birdseed.

They actually entirely ate some of the cherry tomatoes, but what broke my heart was the random poking and destruction of my large salad tomato that was destined to become a BLT. So I put netting over all of my tomato plants.

It’s not very fine netting, they can still poke through it. It does however severely limit the number and location of the tomatoes that they have access to.

20120615-191227.jpg

If you look off to the right of that pictures you can sort of see some of it; I would say that that open spaces are probably quarter inch by quarter inch it’s still pretty open netting.

But you know what? It works!