Thursday, February 28, 2019

Garden Notes -- February 28, 2019

The Spring 2019 garden has commenced! Yesterday I planted the Swiss Chard:

  1. Magenta Sunset - FB Seed Group
  2. Orange -
  3. Rhubarb - Burpee Seed Co.
  4. Sea Foam - Pinetree Seeds

 and the celery:

  1. Red Venture - Trade Winds Fruit
  2. Peppermint Stick - Pinetree Seeds
  3. Kintsai Chinese - FB Garden Group
  4. Pink Plume - Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

Today I planted out the Scarlette F1 Chinese cabbage that I started in the greenhouse - I couldn't believe that I got 12 plants to survive! 

So, it's a start.  I'm going to try to put in a few things every day (with a few days off this coming week because it's supposed to be very cold again, drat!!) I have a few more other varieties of cabbages that will all be fine in the cold.

The fava bean plants have a measly two beans on them.  I'm giving up on this particular bean - I just don't think they're a good match for Texas weather. They are a beautiful plant, though....

The greenhouse is totally full -- lots of tomato plants that I've now re-potted into gallon pots, peppers, and quite a few flowers.  I'm going to be spending a few days potting up these sunflowers. There's Mammoth, Tarahumara, and Lemon Queen in this tray.
Today I potted up about a dozen morning glories - these were a few mixed colors and some Flying Saucer morning glories, which is a striped blue and white. 

I'm going to try to cover all of the cabbages this year with netting, hence this mosquito net that I found on Amazon.  It's sized to fit over a camp bed, so I figured it's about the right size.  An experiment to see how it works.
 I also found these head covers that I'm going to use to cover the tomato blossoms that I want to save seeds from.  I read another gardener who puts these over her entire plant just to be sure that no pollinators get in.  I'm kind of excited to see how this goes!
The basils that I planted a while back in some pots have started to germinate.  These little purple blobs are the Purple Ruffles basil! They're going to be so pretty when they're grown. Then there's the Lettuce Leaf basil, a pot of mixed Italian basils, and some Globe basil.  Yummm....I can taste the pesto now!

The walking stick kale has bloomed! What a gorgeous flower - I'm going to save seeds from it since it's been isolated from all the other kales.
The Orient pear has bloomed, but the Warren pear hasn't popped out any blooms yet.  These blooms are just so pretty! 
And finally -- ta da!! Peaches!

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Garden Notes --- Vertical Lettuce Garden

My spring garden experiment this year is a vertical lettuce garden.  I saw this idea earlier this year while surfing the web here, and this seemed like a great idea -- both for growing lettuce off of the ground, and for making it easier on my aching back! Less bending over.  

I followed part of the method that Dr. Van Cotthem used in his video, but chose not to do the "filling bottle", I'll just spray the entire tower since I made a larger cut out in each bottle.  If they don't stay watered enough, I'll add a filling bottle later.

I saved 6 soda/water bottles for each tower.  Cut the bottom off and remove the cap.  Wash the bottles well.  I cut a swoop out of the front of each bottle from the bottom like you see in the photo. 
 Next I drilled two small holes in each cap and then screwed them back on their bottles.

 Fill each bottle to just barely below the bottom of your cut out. I laid the lettuce seeds (I put a small seed mat that I had made with three seeds in each one) on the soil and then top with about 1/4" of fine soil.
John mounted some old wood 2" x 2" boards to the fence and then we screwed the bottles (starting at the bottom bottle), then mount the next bottle so that the cap is just inside the bottle below it. They will all drain water down to the bottle below them. I could see these being screwed directly in to a wooden fence, too, if that's what you have.
And there you have it! Now the waiting to see how the lettuce will do in these towers.  We'll check back with them in a few weeks!

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Garden Log --- February 19, 2019

Still working on cleaning up the fall/winter garden. I brought in all the rest of the kale, which was still looking quite beautiful - a huge bunch of Casper, Blue Scotch, and Premier kale.  This Mind Blowing Kale salad was part of our supper the other night, and surprise - surprise!! John even liked it!  
Still plenty of kale left, so I'm thinking a creamy chicken kale soup, like this one, probably this week one day.

More of the tomato starts I'm babying along in the greenhouse.  I'm running out of room, as usual, but I'm thinking there's only a few more nights that I'll have to keep them warm in the next month or so.
This Early Ssubakus Aliana is from China and is a yellow paste tomato.  I'm growing this one for seeds for my Facebook group.
I save the seeds for this Kumato tomato from fresh tomatoes I bought at the grocery store.  I believe it's probably a hybrid and I'm curious if it will grow true or not, but from what I've read on the web it has for others.   It's a brown large cherry and the taste was amazing. I've saved seeds from several store bought tomatoes this year, but this is the first I've planted.
Honeybunch is a hybrid F1 that I'm curious about also.  There seems to be several versions of this name out there, and it's going to be either a grape tomato in orange or yellow, or a red cherry. Ha! I got these seeds in a trade, so not sure what I've got here.
Black From Tula is a Russian tomato with dark brown shoulders.  I've heard about this one for years but this is the first time I've grown it.  
Monkey Ass is an oxheart tomato, supposedly a good paste type tomato with few seeds inside.  I'm growing it for the name -- you have to admit that's pretty funny!
 This Hundreds and Thousands tomato is destined for a hanging basket. I'm looking forward to seeing if it will be as productive as advertised! 
Here is Valentine, another hybrid grape type that I got from Totally Tomatoes. 
Purple Bumblebee is an artisan cherry, dark with some green/bronze striping. This should be a pretty little tomato!

I also brought in all of one of the corn salads, the Dutch version.  I do like corn salad, its a delicate lettuce like green that I use in salads. It was fine all through the winter - didn't need to be covered at all.
The French Corn Salad is also all picked -- they looked exactly the same.  I honestly can't tell the difference between the two.

The last of the endive is also picked - this one is called Green Curled.
 The various snow peas have started to produce! I've brought in several hands full and there's plenty more out there. The plants are so thick that I have to really search to find them, though!
 Nothing prettier then pea blossoms!
John has been working on the vineyard - he's replaced a few plants and is re-working the watering system to bring it more in line with what is recommended.  He's slowly been replacing all of the plants with Black Spanish and Champanel grapes.  
The aloe plants have been blooming in our greenhouse - such beautiful peachy blooms.  Almost all of them have bloomed and reproduced all winter long.  I have a big job coming up in dividing these plants again.  I'm going to put some out at our gate this year in a permanent bed, I'll just provide them with cover next winter if they need it - these things are just so huge.
 And one of the pear trees has started to bud - this is the Orient!  The other pear tree hasn't shown any sign yet.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

RIP Romeo

We lost Romeo today -- the best rooster we've ever had - so gentle. I'm so sad, this evening we went down to close up the chicken yard and he and one of the hens were not there. John had to search down at the edge of the vineyard and found him. Obviously something came up during the day and killed him and took one of the hens off.  He put up a good fight. May have been a fox or a hawk, we're not sure.  
Rest in peace, big guy. 

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Garden Log -- February 10, 2019

Today I froze about 7-1/2 pounds of carrots from the fall/winter garden.  They were just beautiful - the ones here on the left are Amarillo (yellow) and Cosmic Purple. And the picture on the right shows the beautiful Gniff carrots that originated in Switzerland.  I put 9 packs in the freezer! Whew! I think I know why a lot of people don't garden - that was a lot of work. It's so much easier to just buy a little package of carrots, all cleaned and peeled and ready to eat. But then, you wouldn't get all these gorgeous colors!

I got out to the greenhouse for the first time this weekend - it's such a muddy mess outside right now. I needed to check up on those little plants - and I was so happy to see a few more have shown up. I'll be transplanting more into Solo cups tomorrow.

This Butter Apple tomato is from Bunny Hop seeds - it's going to be a medium yellow.
 Then there's the Aussie - a large, fluted, red beefsteak tomato. Several of these came up! 
This is one of the hybrid tomatoes that I'm growing this year, Sweet Millions, which is supposed to be a high producing red cherry. Here's hoping!! 
 Several of the peppers that I'm excited about have sprouted! There's Aji Jobito (a small, rare, orange and mild pepper from Venezula), Ayvarski (a sweet red), and that Chinese space pepper, Total Eclipse HJ8 (which is a very mild, corkscrew red, less than1000shu)! 
 And finally, a few of the cole plants are up and going.  I'll wait until they get a bit bigger before I pot them up, but good germination so far!

Friday, February 8, 2019

Garden Log - February 8, 2019

Today I started planting pots of basil in the greenhouse - so far I have Globe basil, Purple Ruffles basil, Lettuce Leaf basil, and a pot of classic Italian basil.  The weather has turned so cold, I didn't spend much time outside, though!
The greenhouse is filling up fast!

The tomato seedlings are growing so fast - I'm really looking forward to some of these. This Faelan's First Snow is supposed to have variegated leaves, but so far I'm not seeing any sign of that. Maybe when it gets older?
Pink Stuffer is going to be a large pink, hollow tomato. I can already tell it's a potato leaf. 
Dances with Smurfs! Doesn't that sound cool? A blue cherry tomato.
Hoping for an early spring so these can go out before I have to pot them up again. Meanwhile, the heater is on in the greenhouse for the next night or two.

Yesterday and today I spent time starting the seed mats for the spring garden. I've done all the beets and celery, and started on the carrots.  At least I got to stay inside where it's warm.

John dug up and brought in the entire fall/winter crop of carrots! Have I mentioned how much I love him lately? Well, I do.  They are lovely, and I'll get them all processed and frozen this weekend.
I'm pulling all the kale and spinach tomorrow. Pretty soon it will be clear so that we can start getting the beds ready for planting! Spring is coming.....