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Archive for April, 2011

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Suyo Long
Not sure if you can tell from this picture, but this baby cucumber is really long. The tag says they get to be 15″! It’s amazing how much of a difference I can already see between this variety and the others.

Sweet Slice
I have two of these plants. (You can kind of see the other in the background). These have really done nothing. I’m hoping they take off at some point, but right now they are just wasting valuable real estate. The one has at least grabbed hold of the trellis, but barely. I’m interested to see if I get any production out of them.

Suyo Long

This one has taken off vertically and seems to be doing pretty well. It has produced a few baby cucs so far and is flowering well.

National Pickling

Seems to like horizontal more than vertical and ignores any efforts at training it to go in a specific direction. It does have a few baby cucs and is flowering though, so I can’t complain too much.

General Lee
This one is growing off very well and has taken to the trellis. You can see it also seems to prefer the horizontal direction. I have three plants all heading for the exact same corner, must be something about the morning sun.

Lemon

Doing well and seems to be a vertical climber, which I am very happy about.

Roma

All six of these have fruit.

La Roma

Neither of the two have fruit, but one has some pretty good flowers. I didn’t think there would be much of a difference between Roma and La Roma, but apparently there is.

Black Cherry
These and the Sun Golds have maturing fruit, good plant growth and lots of flowers.

Yellow Pear Cherry

I have two of these and one just got it’s first fruit today. I’ve had luck with these in the past, so I’m not too stressed about their late start.

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>Tomatillo Production

>Last year was my first year growing tomatillos. I love the flavor and couldn’t wait to make all kinds of salsas and sauces, but much to my disappointment the plants would not set fruit. They finally produced about 10 total near the tail end of the summer, but that was hardly a good crop.

I had read that you need at least two plants, since they will not self-pollinate and proceeded to plant the minimum number. This year I decided to double them and have a total of 4 in the same bed. Already I have at least 15 full size husks. I am excited to see how the summer plays out with this kind of production so early.

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>Garden Firsts

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With the move and having to wait on the deer fence, my garden got in a few weeks later than I would have liked. It can be a little discouraging to see others’ plants doing so well, where mine seem to be stagnant, especially my heirloom tomatoes. At least I’ve had a few firsts this week though, including my first ripe cherry tomato (Sun Gold).


First Cucumber Siting, General Lee

First full size pepper, Hungarian Hot

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>Not All Gardening is Fun

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Last night my friend and I were admiring the giant yucca stalk that will soon be covered in flowers, when we discovered my nemesis.

Mixed in with the 100 or so yuccas was poison ivy. Argh!

Do you know how much it sucks to pull out poison ivy while being stabbed by needles? Not only did it hurt like heck, but each little stab put a hole in my gloves, risking further poison ivy exposure.

I wasn’t able to dig out all of the ivy, since some of it was in the middle of the yucca bed, so I’ll just have to keep an eye on it and regularly trim it back. I think I’ll also look into trimming back that yucca. I’m not sure which will be harder to get rid of.

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>Bloom Day 4/15

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I haven’t done this in a while, and my garden is a bit sparse, but here goes…

Peach Iris

White Iris

Zinnia (in okra bed)

Marigolds (in tomato bed)

California Wonder Pepper Flower

Roma Tomato Flowers

Sweet Slice Cucumber Flower

Strawberry – much smaller than it appears. I’m not fond of this tiny variety.

Ancho St. Martin. The first pepper in the garden.

Salvia with Katydid. I’m not sure of variety. It was here when I moved in.

Pink Salvia Greggi

Sunflower that will be here year round.

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>End of Sabbatical

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Well, today is my last day. I’ve had 4 amazing weeks off. I was eligible as of August last year but purposefully waited until we moved into our new house to take it. I’ve accomplished so much in the garden and it’s been so much fun. I’ve also taken some time to enjoy the view and the wildlife. The above picture is the neighbors front yard in the middle of the day.

I started my time off with 8 cubic yards of soil. I had Hill Country Garden Soil delivered at 8:30 am on my first day. My mother-in-law was in town, who I’ve mentioned several times before. We moved 6 into my raised beds the first day and then topped them off the second day.


On the second and third days we cleaned out all of the front beds, removing oversized red yucca plants (big pain), cutting out dead shrubs and trees, and removing weeds and (what seemed like) millions of wild onions. We then took a trip to The Natural Gardener and purchased
Fireworks Fountain Grass
Blackfoot Daisies
Pink and White Salvia Greggi (plant – not flower is deer resistant)
After mom left I picked up 2 cubic yards of mulch and then mulched the front beds and all of my raised garden beds. I also used the remaining cubic yard of soil to make a mounded raised bed for cucs and melon.
We added some great solar lights as well, which we found at Costco.
My biggest obstacle was waiting for the deer fencing. I ordered it online without realizing that is was their busy season. It took me two weeks for the fencing to arrive. I was quite busy in the meantime, but it meant my veggies didn’t get into the ground until March 29th. I was moving them in and out daily though, so I don’t think they took too much of a hit.
While waiting for the deer fencing, I put up the rabbit fence. My garden area is cross fenced, so I was able to staple the fencing on. I haven’t dug down at all (nearly impossible), but I did bend the fencing out to help discourage them from burrowing under.

The one thing I didn’t do myself was to install the posts. I climbed on a ladder with a sledgehammer and hanged for about 5 minutes before calling my husband and telling him we were hiring someone. I was not concerned with the cost. This was a great decision. It allowed me to spend more time in the garden, rather than spending at least a week digging holes. The guys were out here with a jackhammer for at least half of them.
The fencing arrived the day after the posts went up and I installed it myself. Luckily it wasn’t too heavy and it only took me about 4 hours.
The next morning I was finally able to put in the plants. It was a really emotional day for me as I had been without my garden for almost a year. It’s amazing how quickly you can go from never having gardened to being unable to live without it. It really is how I keep my sanity.

I also transplanted my fig tree, “Fig Stick” to a nice spot on the hill. One of the problems with planting on a hill in the hill country is limestone. I didn’t think it was possible to get that many giant chunks of rock from one tiny hole. I have a lot more appreciation for every tree on the property now.

The other problem with planting on a nice open hill is deer. On my information sheet it shows that deer do not like Fig Trees, so I didn’t protect it. Big mistake! Turns out that all 8 in the group had to try it before agreeing that they didn’t like it. I’ve since put some makeshift fencing around it, and it seems to be recovering nicely.
Fig Stick shown through the old hitching post.
I also finished up my husband’s pepper garden. He loves super-spicy peppers and picked out several at “It’s About Thyme” – a great little nursery in far South Austin. I planted them in pots, so he can bring them inside during the winter. We built a small stand for them to keep the dogs out as well.

I’ve also wanted a succulent garden for a while, but have never gotten around to building one. I was inspired by the brain coral near the pool and decided to make an “underwater” succulent pot. I have three other pots with strawberries that I plan to fill as well, once they’ve run their course.



A few other things that were accomplished during my time off…
New gutters with rain water collection. Each barrel is 200 gallons.

1 for the front

2 for the back (vegetable garden)
Pool has gone from green to a beautiful sparkling blue. I look forward to dipping in the pool after a hard days work.

Horseshoe Pit and Basketball Hoop installed to add to the ways to enjoy being in the outdoors.

I also managed to get us completely unpacked, except for the usual garage stuff. Good thing I’m headed back to work tomorrow. I am exhausted 🙂

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>Vegetable Garden In

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Here’s the list of what I’ve got going this year…
Tomatoes
Romas – 8
Cherries – 1 each of Sun Gold, Black Cherry, Yellow Pear, Red Pear
Black Krim – 2
Cherokee Purple – 2
Green Zebra – 1
Kellogg – 1
Homestead – 1
Lemon Boy – 1
Striped German – 1
Peppers
Big Bertha – 1
Red Beauty – 2
Purple Beauty – 1
Poblano – 1
Anaheim – 1
California Wonder – 1
Serrano – 1
Jalapeno – 3
Tabasco – 1
Hot Hungarian – 1
Tomatillos – 4
Clemson Spineless Okra – 6
Tiger Stripe Eggplant – 1
Beans
Butter Beans – 4
Black Eyed Peas – 4
Yellow String Beans – 3
Green String Beans – 3
Cucumbers
Sweet Slice – 2
General Lee – 1
Additional – 3 (need to get the names)
Cantaloupe – 1 Sugar Queen, 2 others
Watermelon – 1 Sugar Baby, 1 Yellow
I decided against squash this year. I didn’t have the energy to fight those Borers.

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