Archive for April, 2011

>End of Sabbatical


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


Here’s the list of what I’ve got going this year…
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
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
Butter Beans – 4
Black Eyed Peas – 4
Yellow String Beans – 3
Green String Beans – 3
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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