Saturday, February 24, 2018

Garden Log - February 24, 2018

Rain, rain, and more rain.  I'm not complaining, really - since we'll all be praying for rain in the near summer - but really! I'm so sick of mud.
Rain drops on the pine tree

I'm still working on all the little seedlings and continuing to start more.  Today I started the gourds. I'm hoping for better luck then I had last year, not a single plant made it (honestly, they died from neglect - I did a terrible job with them.)  If these germinate, I'm putting them out on the fence in front of the orchard.

I'm also trying to start some of the tangerine cross-vine - these seeds were collected from the plants in the fall. I sure hope they germinate.  They are in the greenhouse under the lights and on heat pads.

 The milkweed plants are mostly up and growing - I've got Herb Red and Pink.  These will go in the front flower bed and I hope we can attract some butterflies!

 Both rows of sugar snap and snow peas are up and growing.
 Keeping an eye on the blackberries and raspberries.  We'll be fertilizing these soon, as soon as the weather cooperates.
More to come soon - meanwhile - stay dry!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Garden Log - February 18, 2018

Lots of little babies coming up in the greenhouse - I'm even putting some outside to harden up some now.  I'm hoping they will all be ready to go out in the garden by mid-March, provided we're frost free by then.  

We're expecting rain in the next few days, so I may put them out to get some natural rain if it's not coming down too hard.
 Green Cotton
 Mississippi Brown Cotton
 These are from some white cotton seeds I picked up on the side of the road in Brownsfield, Texas.  Probably gonna be some kind of Franken-cotton, but we'll see.

John has finished the Squash House - he made a smaller bed on the inside of each side for me to plant pole beans in.

 Turk and Grey are very interested in what he's doing....

I have about 20(something) tomato seedlings now, in various stages of growth.  Several cabbages going, some regular head cabbage and two different types of Chinese cabbage.
 Chirimen Hakusai Cabbage
 Various seedlings on the porch of the greenhouse - those are Heavenly 
Blue morning glories in the front.

I'm starting several types of basil this year.  Blue Spice, Globe, Lettuce Leaf, Licorice, Holy, Purple Ruffles, and Italiano Classico have all sprouted and are on the go.  African Tree Basil and New Guinea Basil have not and I think I'll have to start over.

The fruit trees are all budding and some have burst forth with blooms.  They are truly beautiful when in bloom - and so attractive to bees! Someone's honey bees have been here every single day just busy working these trees. They make quite a racket. 
 Nectarine tree, peach and plum trees in bloom
 Two plum trees in the orchard in bloom

I'm finally having some success with the pepper seeds - the new ones I planted have started to pop out of the dirt.  Red Cheese peppers, Lipstick peppers and I found one of the earlier ones had sprouted - one of the Stocky Golden Rooster.  Looks like I'll have some sweet peppers after all!

I found a few volunteers out in the garden have sprung up - spinach and two celery plants.  I think those are both Pink Plume celery.  I may dig them up and replant once I've got the spring garden layed out.   

I've been potting "up" all the little seedlings as they outgrow their containers, hope to have them all in their final pots soon (except for the tomatoes - they will get one more potting up.)  That's how I'm spending most of my time out there right now. More to come soon!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Garden Log - February 14, 2017

We were in Boerne, TX, today for a Valentine Lunch and grocery run, and stopped in to the local Tractor Supply.  They're getting ready for baby chicks, by the way!

As I was browsing through their garden area, I found jostaberry plants, and picked up two of them.  John has already planted them for me, so here we go!  It was an impulse buy, since I wasn't planning to add any more fruit to our place (we have enough to take care of!) but we'll see how they go.  PS: I need to stay out of Tractor Supply.

Photo from Google

They are a cross between gooseberries and currents, according to what I read online.  

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Garden Log -- February 12, 2018

The spring garden officially started today -- we put out the snow peas and the snap peas in the main garden! Whoop!

These are all edible-podded peas, and the seeds were all part of the big pack of bean seeds that I won last month! There's about a dozen in each pack, so I get to try so many different varieties.  I found out that peas don't cross-pollinate since they are self pollinating and usually do so before the flower opens. So I'll be able to save seeds from all of these. Yea!

They all seem to have different heights, too, so I tried to put a tall one next to a short one so I can tell them apart.  

Amish Sugar Snap 5-6 ft. tall vines
Dwarf Grey Sugar 3' tall vines
Dwarf White Sugar 3' tall vines
Green Beauty Tendril 6-8 ft. tall vines
Mammoth Sugar Pod 4-6 ft. tall vines
Oregon Sugar Pod  2-3 ft. tall vines
Royal Snow 30" tall vines
Spring Blush Tendril pink blush/5-6 ft. vines
Sugar Snap 5' tall vines

It was pretty nasty out most of the day today, so I was happy that we were able to get out there for a while between rain drops. Peas like it cool.  It's supposed to be rainy the rest of the week and getting colder again, so they should be happy.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Fall/Winter Garden Log -- February 12, 2017

Things are moving along in the garden when the sun is out.  I'm so tired of winter and we are both ready for more sun. These dreary grey days are getting old.  

The baby onions are coming along.  I fed them some sea weed fertilizer yesterday.  They should be ready to put out in the garden by end of March.  These are Flat of Italy and Stuttgarter onions.

John is working on making a permanent strawberry patch over what used to be the turkey pen (or I guess it was our first chicken pen.) Anyway, he pulled the whole thing down a few weeks ago since the turkeys have a new pen down in the chicken yard. He's fencing it in to keep the armadillo and other varmints out.  He put in 10 new roots and transplanted his Ever-bearing Strawberries (there were 6, I think) to this new area.  I'll be planting the four Loquat trees around this area in the future, should they all survive.  They are still looking great and having been adding new growth all winter.
Strawberry Fields forever!

Meanwhile, I've been planting flower seeds, cotton and continuing to plant herb seeds.  These went in to the greenhouse, and some of the morning glories are already breaking surface.

I'm starting some more pepper seeds.  I'm not having much luck with the ones I planted earlier.  I think only 2 have germinated. Sigh....   I took the whole tray and threw it in the corner, cursed it three times, and told it "I'M DONE WITH YOU!!"  Then I stamped my feet and turned away. (I've heard that if you give up on pepper seeds, they'll finally emerge.  I'll let you know if that works.)  I'm soaking these seeds a while before planting to see if that helps.
Red Cheese, Lipstick and Habanada peppers

Meanwhile, I'm "potting up" some of the little seedlings for the second (final) time before they go in the garden (mid-March I hope, weather permitting.)  We have 11 tomatoes, 9 broccoli, 4 cauliflower, 11 cabbage, 10 herb, 5 tomatillo and only 2 pepper plants so far (1 Hatch and 1 Sugar Rush Peach.) 
 The Rio Grande peach has decided to start blooming. I'm worried about it, since we're still getting freezing weather.  It was 28 degrees here last night.
Still bringing in some greens from the garden, some baby kale and parsley. 
 I can't get over how pretty the three year old radicchio plant is looking - this cold has caused it to turn a beautiful maroon color.  This plant keeps coming back strong every year, though. I need to put it in a bigger pot this spring.

John working on the fence around the strawberry plants.

I received a huge packet of seeds from my Facebook garden group (The Serious Seed Traders) on Saturday that I'll be diving into this week.  Excited to see what I have!  

I also got two varieties of seeds from them for "grow out" this year (I'll grow them for seed, then send back all the seeds to the group. I'll get back a pack of all the varieties of seeds from the grown out this December!) Both of my seeds are from India, and I'm excited to try this.  I have:

Friday, February 9, 2018

Things We've Found in the Attic....

John has been cleaning up the attic this past couple of weeks.  We're planning on getting a few bids on a new A/C unit for the upstairs in the spring, so he wants to clear it out so that they will be able to get up there and see what's needed.  It's a mess.  We've been throwing stuff up there for years, just not sure what to do with some of it.  The time has arrived, and I'll have to decide.

Most excited to find one of my mom's little ceramic nuns! I think there were three of these at one time, but she's the only survivor (unless more show up later.)  I'm keeping this one and putting her on display on my bookshelf.

Next was a couple of scrapbooks of Colleen's life - not sure if I made these or if she did.  They are great, though, and I'm going to scan the pictures before giving these to her.

Here's one of the pictures that were in them.  I love this pic of her at Halloween one year.  I was trying to decide which of her two girls look the most like Colleen, and I think I'd have to say Joss (which is totally not the one I would have said earlier, but Joss is looking more and more like early Colleen all the time.)

There were several books and manuals up there  (Windows 5 manual, or Word Perfect manuals anyone?) I'll probably donate some of the fiction books to the library. And we found some of JR's scout stuff I'm going to give to him next time I see him.

There will be more soon -- he's not done by a long shot! Did I mention it was a real mess up there? 

Monday, February 5, 2018

Cranberry Wine Update - First Rack

We were a few days later then planned, but the cranberry wine finally had it's first rack.  We carefully siphoned it from the two one-gallon carboys, there was about 1-1/2 inch of sediment in the bottom of each of them.  
 Before racking
The thick sediment in the bottom of each carboy

Otherwise the wine is beautifully clear, and a gorgeous color.  Taste test revealed a very dry wine - it's obviously eaten all the sugar I gave it, so I added 3 more cups and it will sit again until the first week of March.
 Bottled up again!
Cartoon pic of my tasting - whew! it was soooo dry!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Fall/Winter Garden Log -- February 4, 2017

Well, the only garden news is what's going on in the greenhouse.  I've had terrible germination problems with the tomato seeds, and I'm beginning to think its the little grow pods I purchased. Not a one of the seeds in those pods has germinated, and they've had plenty of time.  Almost total germination in the new pods I got from Amazon. So, I think I have my culprit.  Good thing there's plenty of time to start over.

I've started some broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower seeds, too.  They've all started to emerge.
 A few of the tomatoes I started in the new pods have started to emerge.

I've planted some herbs, too.  A few of them are starting to germinate.

 This year I'm trying the cow pots when I pot up some of the seedlings, made with cow manure! That has to be good, right?! We'll see how they do.
Some of the seedlings are getting their second set of leaves now. 

 One of our plum trees (Gulf Coast? or Gulf Beauty?) has lost its mind and started to bloom. Yikes, I don't think we're safe from frosts yet, so this is not a good sign. I hope the rest of them don't follow suit.
John has decided to build me a permanent squash/bean house, and has made a good start on it today! This will be covered with the hog wire panels.  Looking forward to seeing how it turns out. 
Have I shown you how I'm organizing my seed stash now-a-days?  I bought this great photo storage box. It's working great, except for all those beans I won...I have to keep them in a baggie. 

That's about all for now.  The weather is starting to warm up, so hopefully more garden news soon!