Saturday, April 22, 2017

Spring Garden Log -- April 22, 2017

To see a world in a grain of sand, And a heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour. -- William Blake

Happy Earth Day Everyone!

The squash house plants are all growing so well, even the Asparagus beans that I saved several years ago - I was sure they wouldn't grow, but all of them came up!

 This is a shot of bed #4 - it's coming along too. I've been slowly mulching and weeding it. Almost done!
 This is Bed #1 and #2 - it's a jungle! Weeding in there is a chore, but I'm giving it my best. 
I really need to pick more spinach and give this bed a chance to breath. It's so full. I'll be doing that on Sunday and freezing some of this bounty.
I weeded and cleaned up the kale bed this past week. It's growing so well.  I'm in love with this Siber Frill kale. 
 Next to the kale is this bunching onion patch.  
 I'm still thinning out all of the onions - finished with the white onions this week.  We'll use these in cooking and John likes to add them to his salads.
 Here are the first of the Blueberries tomatoes -- I'm excited to see how these look when they mature. Supposed to be pretty dark.
I have the tallest garden huckleberries this year - these plants are almost 4 ft. tall.  
The potatoes are flowering! 
 Something funny going on with these Red Swan bush beans - they have some long vines coming out from the top. I'm new to this variety, so we'll see what happens.
 Today I had to get John's help in dealing with my tomatillos.  They are huge this year, and the yellow variety flopped over onto the beets and onion plants, so he put a trellis in there to force them back up. The plants are loaded.  They look beat up here, but I'm hoping they'll recover - I had to unweave them from the plants around them and they were resistant!
 The beets look good, but really packed in there.  Will probably space them out a bit more next year.
 The squash bugs have started to show up - mostly on the tomatillo and the huckleberry plants. My actual squash plants are still too small to attract them yet.  I've started picking them by hand and drowning them in an insect spray solution. Nasty things - I really hate them.
 In my spare time I'm re-labeling all of our fruit trees so that we can ID them.  I'm putting the year they were planted on the aluminum metal label as I go.  The labels we had on them are now too small and I don't want them to girdle the plants, so they had to go.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Spring Garden Log -- April 15, 2017

Awake, thou wintry earth -
Fling off thy sadness!
Fair vernal flowers, laugh forth
Your ancient gladness!
~Thomas Blackburn, "An Easter Hymn"

Everything's planted, so now it's just a matter of keeping an eye on things! The squash house is sprouting everywhere - all of the beans and the squash are up and growing. I think this will be a wonderful sight to see when they've covered the arches!

The peppers are showing up. Here's a jalapeno already....
 ...and this Cubanelle is getting quite big!
I spent a good hour thinning out the tomato plants -- too many leaves! They need to be trimmed to allow air flow and to keep them from touching the ground.  I'll have to continue this every couple of weeks. 
 I only had to clip a few to the wire this time, but I'm sure I'll be securing all of them pretty soon.

The cucumbers are looking great....
...and I think these are the tallest tomatillo that I've every grown. They're covered in fruit too! 
 View of Beds #1 and #2
 Full view of the Squash House
 Full view of Bed #4
The herb garden is filling in nicely.
 John put two burr oak acorns in a pot this past winter and they stayed in there all winter.  I think he had given up on them, but I just put the pot out when I emptied the greenhouse, and look what happened!  Both have sprouted!
 And finally, I planted some begonias around the big oak tree outside our side door.  I think it looks like spring there now - the garden gnome approves!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Harvesting already!

The first part of the main garden is really doing well, and I've started bringing a few things in already.
I'm thinning the onions a bit as a time to give the remaining more room to grow, so they are coming in to eat as green onions.
Red and white onion thinnings

We've already eaten some of the kale, but this is the first of the Siberian Siber Frill that I've picked. What a funny leaf - besides being super frilly around the edges, this leaf has little frills poking up all inside the leaves too. Very interesting!
The spinach that I was sure that I wasn't going to be successful with has grown beautifully. I don't know why or what I've done right, but I'm not questioning it. Both varieties are just beautiful.  This is a handful of the Red Kitten spinach that I brought in for salad.
The extra dwarf Pak Choy are all looking beautiful - I like to chop them up fresh in salad, too. So crunchy! 
This is the Nero di'Toscana kale that I planted in a container. They are small but beautiful!
Another container grown lettuce (Valmaine) - these were packs that I had just a few seeds left of, so I put them in containers.
Still bringing in a handful of mulberries every day.  Those trees just keep producing.
And finally, here are a few leaves from the beet tops to add to a big salad this week.
Harvest totals so far:

   Mulberries                                         6.6 oz.
Beet tops
Nero di'Toscana Kale
Siber Frill Kale
Valmaine Lettuce
Red Onion
White Onion
Extra Dwarf Pak Choy
Red Kitten Spinach
Sea Foam Swiss Chard
Orange Fantasia Swiss Chard

Monday, April 10, 2017

Fort Clark

We took a little day trip today with our friend the Hoyt's -- off to find another of the Texas forts that we haven't seen yet.  This one is in Bracketville, Texas, which wasn't all that far away.  I didn't get any good photos of the fort itself - it's all privately owned now and is actually one of the best preserved forts we've seen on our travels.  The whole thing is inside of a private resort, Fort Clark Springs

You have to stop at their gated entrance to get permission to see the fort and drive thru. There was the nicest lady there and she was so helpful - the museum is not open every day and she tried her hardest to find someone to open it for us, but there wasn't any of the regulars able to meet us there, so we didn't get to see that.  But, we did have a very nice drive around the entire resort.  
 The original buildings are still there and many of them have been sold to private owners. Most are in very good condition and have been restored where needed.  There's a motel, golf course, hiking and bike riding areas, and an RV park there. I have to say that the RV park area was the only place that looked like it needed some attention...not in the best of shape.  The motel was right near the springs where they have a very nice spring-fed pool for visitors and owners.  There were several people swimming today...yikes! Too cold for me.
There was a restaurant on site, too, but it was closed today.

 We walked all around the springs and open area - there were several historic plaques and some beautiful and HUGE pecan trees all over the property.  They've been there a really long long long time.

This rock monument was on a field where there had been a big skirmish between the soldiers and the Comanche Indians.  

 Moras means mulberry in Spanish, something new I learned today. (Also, this military commander needed a better hair cut - just sayin'.)

Can you find the fish?

After our tour we went to have lunch in Camp Wood - a really good BBQ place called the Nueces Country Smokehouse. Delicious!  I had the pulled pork sandwich and potato salad.  The thing was so big I had to bring half of it home with me for another day. 

After lunch we took a very scenic drive thru the hill country through Leakey, Vanderpool, Medina, Bandera and then home.  A very nice, leisurely day with good friends.  I need more of these!