st paddy's day

Monday, June 1, 2009

June Has Arrived

June has arrived and so has consistent 90 degree weather here in Plano. Still walking about 25 miles a week to keep up with my 3-day training - my Italian color is really coming through. Today I went out to check the garden and my hydrangeas are beautiful:

(these dates are wrong - this was from 6/1/09)

I also checked out the vegetable garden and the green beans are blooming:
I need to read up more on these beans...I don't know what I am doing. I just go out every few days to see them growing. I am guessing now that they are bush beans and not pole beans because they do not have any tendrils and are not trying to climb at all. A bit of a bummer because I was really hoping for that.

And the potatoes are in full bloom, meaning they are heavily producing tasty tubers! Yum! Roasted potatoes here we come!

The Yukon Gold are doing much better than the Red Bliss and the only difference is that the YG were seed potatoes from North Haven Gardens and the RB were potatoes from Walmart that I let sprout on the counter. The RB were probably sprayed with some kind of something to keep them from growing too opinion only. But we will see who is the true winner when it comes to harvesting. (in September) That seems so far away!

Another beauty is our landscape are the Hostas. They have started flowering this year.

I have not liked them much in prior years but I am starting to think it is because I did nothing for them. This year they are set up on the same soaker hose as the hydrangeas and I water every other day. They are flourishing and almost taking over the azaleas which I hope will flower more next year after I can help them produce more branches and foliage this year.

The parsley that I planted from seed is absolutely obscene now:
The worst part is that I have absolutely no idea of what to do with it since using it for garnish would not be my idea of everday dinner cooking. Any ideas?

Last but not least, we have several yellow blooms on 3 of our 6 tomato plants. We still have two tomatoes growing on the Bush Goliath plant. I check them daily to make sure that they have not started to turn yellow or even red.
This week I am going to finally net this garden so that we do not lose any of our precious tomatoes to the birds. They seem to be especially prevalent this year but I have been very diligent about mowing the yard every week. I must be giving them plenty of opportunities for bug seeking...well, that is what Brad tells me.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

First Tomato

Last week I decided that I no longer wanted to share my strawberries with the birds. I put out bird netting on the strawberry/lettuce/watermelon patch.

One week later (tonight) I went out to check for some strawberries for breakfast:

And happened upon the first tomato growing on the Goliath Bush Tomato plant:

I also noticed that the green beans that I planted last Tuesday have started coming up:

But the biggest thing out in the garden right now is the lettuce and the potato plants. They are HUGE!

I am very excited to make more salad tomorrow. I am worried that we have a short time period before it gets too hot here in the Dallas area and the lettuce will wilt and die. I am also trying to harvest as many spring onions as we can eat as often as possible to make more room for the full-size onions. Oh the harvest!

Sunday, April 26, 2009


So far we have had a lot of lettuce. It keeps growing and growing and growing. And with all of the watering that God keeps doing, it is growing taller, even though it is leaf lettuce...check it out:
You can also see the shallots in the background up against the back board. I cannot wait to see them when they come up. Makes me think that I should plant some garlic. Just today I was watching Gardening by the Yard and Paul James suggested interplanting other crops with the lettuce since it will die out by the time we get to 90 degrees.

I have also had a few strawberries that I have managed to harvest before the bunnies started eating them:

They are the most delicious strawberries that I have ever had! This tops Driscoll's strawberries on any day of the week!

Fencing it In

After the recent frost and animal activity took hold of all 5 of my tomato plants, we decided to fence in 2 of my 3 gardens, each of which has tomato plants in it. We purchased 4 foot metal posts from Lowe's and staked at the corners and in the middle of the 8 foot sides.

We then added 2 foot tall chicken wire around the entire bed.

I planted a second basil plant because there is never enough bail for the winter pesto. Now I just need to research how best to freeze pesto.

You can also see, in the top left of the photo, that a potato plant is growing. We originally filled this bed with sphagnum peat moss as well as part of the soil from last year's garden...I guess we missed a potato!

So, the whole purpose of all this fencing was to provide a safe growing environment for our tomatoes. This time I planted Goliath Bush, 2 Bush Early Girls and 2 Celebrity plants. I used the medium sized plants vs. the smaller plants. I also noticed in far north garden that the two tomato plants that were topped by some animal are starting to sprout new foliage.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Calm Before the Storm

Today we got out in the garden to check out the gardens before the Easter storms. The strawberries are looking amazing! The first red strawberry was in the dirt and was starting to rot. So, we mulched them to hopefully alleviate the rotting. We have so many good buds, I don't want to lose them.

We also checked on our Watermelon which we planted on 3/31 and the first seedling is popping through:

We lost all of our basil seedlings with the cold snap earlier in the week, so I also planted a basil transplant from the nursery. I also plan to put down more basil seeds, but I want to wait until after tomorrow's storms so that they do not wash away.

Now, the only problem we still have to contend with is that something ate the leaves off of 2 of our tomato plants before the frost and the frost (even with frost cloth over the plants) took the tops off the rest. I took the advice of Leslie from North Haven Gardens and have fed them with liquid seaweed and will wait for one more week before going out to buy more plants.

We are also continuing to add dirt to the potatoes so that we can have an even greater crop. I was worried after the frost because I had a lot of black leaves that seemed "burnt". But, they seem to be continuing to thrive.

We will assess the damage of the Easter storm tomorrow afternoon. I hope that we have no hail.

Happy Easter everyone!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Spring Planting

Today I got out in the garden and planted my Red Bliss and Yukon Gold potatoes. I also put out carrot and lettuce seeds. The key with the potatoes was to trench out both 8 foot sides of the Partial Sun garden. I then put on the potato seed pieces. The Red Bliss were leftovers from a 5 pound bag that I didn't use before they started sprouted and had some really nice sprouts on them before I put them in the ground. I purchased the Yukon Gold in bulk from NorthHaven Gardens. I love their selection of vegetables and fruit seeds and plants! I then mixed a bit of my compost/sphagnum peat moss mix with some pine bark mulch (at the suggestion of a NHG employee) and put a thin layer over the potatoes. I left the trenches fairly low and plan to start filling them in once the potato plants start growing. Paul James suggests at each 8 inch growth, cover up 4 inches of the plant. I put the extra dirt in the original peat moss bags in the garage until the plants start growing.

For the center part of the same garden, I put down carrot seeds on the outer two areas of the remaining garden. The center will be left fallow until time to plant my tomatoes. I sprinkled the seeds on the top of the garden soil and then took some of the compost/peat moss mixture and sprinkled on top of the seeds and lightly watered them.

The last planting was the lettuce seeds that I planted in the left full sun garden. I planted mesculen mix and green lef lettuce. I put the same seeds out in the same manner as the carrot seeds after having to rake the dirt a bit.

I hope that this is a good season for the carrots. Last year I did it all wrong and planted the seeds under about 1/4 inch of soil. I only ever got 3 baby carrots.

I need to make sure that I get on a regular watering schedule so that these properly sprout along with the leeks, shalllots, parsley, basil, oregano, and fennel that I planted on Tuesday.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

2009 Vegetable Garden

Today I started the 2009 veggie garden! I planted 120 onion plants! I planted them in my 8'x4' raised bed that is in full sunlight. I planted them 2" apart as I plan to harvest half of them for scallions and let the others bulb out for some fantastic summer fajitas. Tuesday will be my seed planting day. I have 2 other 8'x4' raised vegetable beds.