Archive for January, 2010

Delicious harvest!

January 27, 2010

Here is the first harvested broccoli (4 plants went in and 3 have survived) and the second round of collards (six plants) from the October planting. I wish I could remember the variety of broccoli. Gypsy? I think that is right. And wonderful Georgia Southern collards. We’ve eaten a mess of ’em and have a few blanched batches in the freezer. Yum!

To catch a butterfly

January 26, 2010

I went out to the Wildflower Center last October and noticed some wonderful shrubby boneset plants that were covered in flutterers. After a bit of research I realized it was the same thing that Jeremy of Bio-Gardener had recommended as a good plant for the still-unplanted butterfly corner. I found a few places that sold seeds and wondered if local nurseries carried the plants and then forgot about it altogether since is was getting to be fall and there was leaf raking to do.

We were raking and bagging leaves in the front yard when I noticed this bush by the front door…

I think it is a shrubby boneset and plan to transplant it to the potager section in February. It is in a pretty shady spot by the front except when the pecan trees drop their leaves. It started blooming and growing when it got some light so I think it will be happier in a sunny location in the back. I’m pretty psyched because it will help fill out an empty corner (I plan to put mistflower in the same area) and make the garden look more mature. This butterfly was nearby so that is a good sign.

I’d been told that much of gardening was digging things up and moving them around. I’m beginning to understand!

Updated garden plan

January 25, 2010

I spent the day clearing out cardboard and marking some path/bed edges. Here is a look at the updated garden plan. The shaded areas are the paths . My thought is to use mulch for a few years as a pathway material in case I want to change some of the dimensions or sections.

The circle in the middle was originally conceived of an herb spiral (they are very cool!) but I have changed my mind and now plan to add a stock tank pond. Pam/Digging has awesome posts about these and the ones I’ve seen at the Wildflower Center are fantastic. Callahan’s has a 4-foot diameter tank that matches the planned dimensions perfectly so perhaps in February I’ll tackle water gardening!

The other changes since Chloe and I came up with the original design are the addition of roses to the back edge near the deck. I planted Zephirine Drouhin roses in October and have since added garlic since they get along so well. We had a Communist Cuba dinner party with roast pork (yum!) and I had tons of ordinary garlic from Fiesta around. I did the overnight soak with baking soda and a quick dip in rubbing alcohol and into the ground those cloves went (pointy side up)! They are growing well, but I am not harboring high hopes as they were leftover bulk garlic. I did try to order fancy-pants garlic but I was too late in the season. Alas, no pictures of that yet.

Here is some dill that was planted from seed over by the coral honeysuckle. It is there for the caterpillars.

Here is the coral honeysuckle. It is doing very well despite being ignored during most of the winter. I like plants that can survive on their own.

What Lies Beneath

January 24, 2010

This morning I checked my email and found I had my first two blog comments ever! One was from Secrets of a Seed Scatterer in Georgia, and the other was from Pam at Digging here in Austin. They found me through Blotanical. Think back to when you first realized that someone was actually looking at your blog and multiply it by a lot to get a sense of my excitement!

I am going to try to do a much better job at this blogging. I started this one weekend when I was sick and haven’t posted since.

Today I began to remove the cardboard that has been covering the garden since last August/September and found some pretty cool specimens. Here is a bunch of snails I uncovered among some sprouting greens that looked like baby spinach. I hope they (the snails) are not harmful since I let them be.

I also found this caterpillar.

It looks like a ball of fuzz, but it really was a caterpillar. I hope it enjoys the butterfly/hummingbird corner.

Mostly what I found beneath the cardboard was Bermuda grass. I was somehow hoping it would have disappeared entirely but there it was taunting me with its interlocking tentacles and deep-rooted outposts. I know every gardener has to go through this conflict-ridden stage of eliminating unwanted Bermuda grass from the garden and I am prepared for a long period of pulling out unwanted grass.

I raked and pulled as the wind blew little pieces all over the rest of the garden. I finally got tired of all this and started setting out the border to see if I liked how it looked. I think I will finish the border of the vertical section (that is what the part along the fence is called) with the concrete blocks and then put willow branch fencing (there is some from the previous owner) alongside to soften the harsh appearance of the concrete. Here is a look at the overall garden plan.

You can see my beloved hammock in the background. It was a little cool when I finished gardening, but I still managed to enjoy a Negra Modelo with some chips and salsa while reclining in the hammock. (I wore a ski jacket.)

fall veggie update

January 10, 2010

Sometime in late September/early October I planted lettuce, collards, red and green cabbage, Brussels sprouts, Swiss chard,  cauliflower, and strawberries. I harvested most of the lettuce, collards and chard right before and after Thanksgiving due to travel plans and the predicted snowstorm (never arrived). The leafy greans were awesome. Lots of production and delicious. I spotted one small stalk of broccoli a few days ago and the cabbages are starting to form very small heads.

Roses are romantic

January 10, 2010

I planted two Zephirine-Drouhin roses over here by the deck at the end of October. My parents came to check out how the weeds were doing and very kindly bought me these two plants to balance out the weeds vs. planned equation in the garden. This variety is thornless and should grow very well over here and eventually I’ll train it to grow up over the top of the deck. The man at the nursery only wanted to sell me one plant since he said they can grow “15 by 15 in one year.” He also said they didn’t flower very well. Maybe he didn’t even want to sell me one plant. I had researched this variety so I insisted. We’ll see what happens…

The wonders of cardboard

January 10, 2010

The cardboard was used to stop the spread of the Bermuda grass and protect the ground from more weeds than I could handle. Cultivating weeds is an art and you don’t want to have more than you can take care of or they might get neglected and die. So down went all the cardboard (it helped that we moved in and unpacked all our moving boxes) we had over the most Bermuda grass-infested areas.

Here are a few pics of the garden with some of the plants I’ve mentioned as well as the cardboard. A repairman looked at the garden the other day and not knowing it was mine asked, “What are _they_ doing over there?” in a very scornful voice. Well, just trying to make way for new weeds!

You can see how much the cool weather crops (lettuce, cabbage, broc, cauli, collards) have grown since the veggie post.

First crop of veggies

January 10, 2010

Butterfly and hummingbird corners

January 10, 2010

Butterflies and hummingbirds don’t mind weeds so the two corners near the street are dedicated to these lovely creatures of flight. One corner was planted in September with coral honeysuckle vine (on a vertical pole), butterfly bush, lantana, purple coneflower, and purple winecup. The plants are still small and it looks a little scraggly but I am looking forward to the spring when it should all fill out and mature.

Making way for new plants…

January 10, 2010

I was so inspired by the plans we had made for the garden that after Chloe fled the heat for the more verdant and cool surroundings of the Northeast I spent a few days clearing out all the weeds to make room new round of cool weather volunteer plants as well as some planned plantings. Check out the before pics here.