This is my garden.

Enjoy it, play nice, and don't forget to stop and smell the flowers.

2nd & 3rd Week of March 2013

Posted By on April 1, 2013

Our little Zen garden

Our little Zen garden

I’ve planted the green beans, and cilantro. The carrots that I had planted 6 weeks ago are sprouting nicely. The cucumbers, okra and zucchini, are all beginning to spout.

Tree beds

Tree beds

I’ve made flower beds around our wisteria, bald cypress, and live oak trees. I then added begonias to those beds around the trees, as well as some basil on the other side of the wisteria where it will get plenty of sun. All of the tropical and warm weather plants that reside in pots indoors all winter have been moved outside to enjoy the warm weather. Things are looking great and the weather is holding nicely.

Early Spring March 2013

Posted By on March 31, 2013

Sedum sexangulaire

Sedum sexangulaire

I have a general rule of not planting until Easter weekend. That being said, it has been so warm and pretty that I felt confident I could start planting outside in the beginning of March. My husband had gotten me soil and my beds were ready to go. My next few blogs will be covering the adventures of planting early. The first week of March I planted a variety of cherry and roma tomatoes, pickling and Mediterranean cucumbers, okra, green beans, borage, roses, hollyhocks, cosmos, zinnias, and snapdragons. At this point I am planting the herbs, and vegetables, while my mother in law is working on mostly the flowers and pruning.

My little garden helper.

My little garden helper.

On many days the temperatures are hitting mid to high 70s. We found that hollyhock, cosmos and must of our flowers do best sowed into the soil. The zinnias did well in the transplanting, I almost gave up on the borage, but it perked up after a week or so. Oh I am also enjoying a new ground cover that I love. Green sedum is so amazing and incredibly easy to propagate. If a piece breaks off it can be placed in moist soil where it will take root and grow. Sedum is an evergreen and easy to take care of as it thrives in shade or full sun.

Update to Tricky Planting Instructions

Posted By on March 13, 2013

Preparing the soil

Carefully using our high-tech polymer liquid-food transfer device (more commonly known as a “spoon”) to set the germinated seeds just-so.

As I feared, the tricky-instruction seeds were forgotten in the bottom of my refrigerator. After the 60-degree time frame was up, I moved all the seeds to the bottom drawer of  the fridge and promptly forgot them. After 30 days and an additional 10-day stay, I remembered them.

The seeds had sprouted in each of the zippered plastic bags. The trick was now going to be how to plant them. My original plan had been to spread the chilled and moistened seeds over the planting area. Now the seeds had to be lifted carefully from the zipper bag and placed in the soil with leaves up and roots down. We settled on a plastic spoon as the perfect tool for this planting.

Planting the seeds

Planting the seeds

The spoon worked well and the seeds are all thriving in their new indoor environment.

The results of the refrigerated seed sprouting experiment are very positive. Previous efforts at planting such seeds led to very limited germination rates while it appears that using the refrigerator method we had a very high germination rate.

Tricky Planting Instructions

Posted By on February 22, 2013

Seeds and Zipper Bags

Seeds and Zipper Bags

When our seeds arrived in the mail, some of them had instructions I have never seen before. The Chamomile, Hollyhocks, Butterfly Weed, Bachelor’s Buttons, Aster and Foxglove all needed the same treatment. The recommendation is to place the seeds in damp peat moss and keep them at 60 degrees for 3 days.

I labeled six zip-seal freezer bags and placed one entire packet of seeds in each one.

IMG_0915The Hollyhock bag is very full because we harvested the seeds from our rose-pink Hollyhocks this past summer. The stalks were clipped and dried, and then the individual seed pods were pulled off and opened. Then I added some of our planting medium (which contains a high percentage of peat moss) and added enough water to soak into the medium slightly but not puddle inside the zipper bag.

IMG_0916I then placed all six zipper bags in a gallon size zipper bag to ensure that there would be no leaks into my next container.

Outdoor temperatures here in North Texas are already reaching the mid- to high-seventies during the daytime, so I had to figure out some way to keep these seeds close to 60 degrees.

I finally decided to place the seeds in an insulated lunch tote and place that in the refrigerator – zipped up to keep the seeds slightly warmer.

IMG_0917 As the day progresses, I remove the insulated lunch tote every few hours and allow the seeds to warm slightly, keeping them much warmer than the actual refrigerator temperature.

IMG_0918 My feline and very bossy assistant keeps me on task.

IMG_0919 The seed planting beds are ready, but the seeds have two more days of the lunch tote treatment. After 3 days at or near 60 degrees, the seeds will be removed from the warm lunch tote and placed in the bottom drawer of the fridge. This will allow them to experience temperatures in the low 30s but not freezing. The seeds will remain in this state for 30 days.

On February 22 the seeds will be placed in the planting area above, but the clear lid will not be placed over them. These seeds require darkness to sprout, so we will reverse the planting container top and bottom trays. The clear plastic tray will be under the seedlings to catch water run-off and the black plastic run-off tray will be placed over the top to keep the seedlings in the dark until they sprout.

We will not truly know if this procedure works until mid-March when the tiny plants begin emerging, but we will let you know how it all works out.

A wild hog and deer stock soup with wild rice and veggies

Posted By on January 24, 2013

A soup made from wild hog and venison.

A soup made from wild hog and venison.

I love making soups, stews, and stocks in the winter. There’s something about the cold weather and a hearty pot of meaty stew or soup simmering on the stovetop that just warms my heart.

I begin by roasting bones saved from the carcass of the deer and/or hog in the oven until they are nice and brown. I then prep my vegetables and put the onion tops, and skin in the stock pot to wring out every bit of their savory essence, and continue to do the same with the scraps from all the rest of the vegetables. Then I add the herbs.

Never add salt until the soup or stock is nearly ready at the very end because a large amount of the liquid will evaporate and the stock might become to salty.

Put in the bones and continue to simmer for about two more hours. Saute your onions with salt and butter, and then when they start to sweat add white wine.

Strain your stock to remove all of the vegetable scraps we added earlier. At this point you can simply allow the stock to cool and then freeze it to have a ready supply of soup stocks. I like to use ice cube trays to freeze the stock so that I have little frozen bullion cubes that can be added to a dish easily whenever I need it.

On the other hand, if you’re craving a nice soup or hearty stew, put it back on the stove and then add your cooked onions and vegetables. Brown your meat and add it to the soup along with some wild rice. Let simmer for a few hours, and enjoy!

The teaching of fish

Posted By on January 23, 2013

Oct 23 2012 225I’m the new owner of a salt water tank. It’s a 55 gallon tank and I’ve had it since Sept 2012. I am blessed to have a friend “R” who has given me a large snail, though I thought it had died for a short while. It just stayed in one spot for 7 days, convincing me of its demise. Then it moved. Since dead snails aren’t known for their motility, I was quite relieved.

My friend R also gave me a very large coral he has had for 6 years. It hairy with soft fronds that emerge when its happy. Once again I thought I had killed it on the way home because no life showed. It just appeared as a lump of rock. 6 days later it got hairy with life….

My lesson here is to relax.

Terrarium Craft

Posted By on January 22, 2013

I find that I have to be surrounded by life, art and magic. So, I love making little people out of clay and planting little terrarium gardens along with my big ones outside. Finding little plants is easy and inexpensive!Oct 23 2012 245 Oct 23 2012 071

Tomatoes 2013

Posted By on January 21, 2013

Oct 23 2012 242Oct 23 2012 239I started my tomato seeds 3 weeks ago. A little early, I know, but I wanted a head start. Daniels took my old aquarium lights and made me an indoor grow area.  I am not having much luck with my tomatillos. Only two purple ones have sprouted out of the 8 that I planted.

I will start my peppers soon, and my mother-in-law, Texas Gunns, has already started her bulbs. We will be starting our flowers and herbs soon as well. Getting a head start on the planting this spring using our indoor grow area is going to make a huge difference, I can tell already.

Planning

Posted By on January 19, 2013

Starting a new garden from scratch is proving to be a different kind of challenge. Normally I would think of things to put “next to” this or “between” this and that, but with a completely blank slate, everything changes for me.

As a “visual” person, I think in terms of how things will look together and I can judge easily how this taller plant will look next to that shorter one. When you can see existing Snapdragons, for example, it is easy to visualize Dianthus to the right and Alyssum in front of both as a border.

With bare earth to go on, however, it seems a bit more daunting!

We have a wall of Boxwoods, bare earth, and a gnarled Filbert in the newly filled garden area. Our winter planting of Kale and onions has not made a dent in the wide open bare area. So in planning the future of this space, there is little to provide visual reference for the future appearance of the spring garden.

We know we want the final outcome to have an English Garden appearance, and we know we want to blend some vegetables in with annual and perriennial flowers.

Beyond these knowns, the entire front garden area is somewhat unknown.

December the 6th

Posted By on December 6, 2012

Oct 23 2012 232I have worked in the garden for hours, I am tired of removing sod still have 6 hours of that left. Now all day the last 3 to 4 hours of putting in soil pictures soon.