Archive for the ‘Spring’ Category

Which apparently means its time to hatch chicks. We’ve been fighting several of our hens for the last week to keep them from going broody. We’ve given up on a few. We have out Patridge Rock (Shirley), our Light Sussex (Priscilla), and our Splash Orpington (Fancy) currently sitting on eggs. Priscilla is on fake eggs right now, as we’ve been trying to force her into a specific box, but we plan on giving her duck eggs tomorrow. (Started April 9, 10)

We also have our 3 Seramas (Hera, Athena, and Demeter) sitting together on 9 eggs. They are the cutest things. They all sit together on the eggs so that they can get up one at a time and the others will keep the eggs warm, and I’m sure sitting on eggs can be a little tiresome, why not have your 2 best friends there with you? (Started April 1)




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Spring Garden

I thought it was well past time to post on the veggies I have growing this season.

Tomatoes were planted March 3rd. It is the earliest I have ever planted them, and a big gamble. I did have to cover them 2 weekends in a row, but they seem to be doing well.

Tomatoes and Peppers

Tomato Varieties: Roma (12) , Amish Paste (4), Cherokee Purple (4), Green Zebra (2), Violet Jasper (2), Riesentraube (2), Dr. Wyche’s Yellow (2), Emerald Evergreen (2), Fox Cherry (2), Isis Candy Cherry (2), Black Cherry (2), Yellow Pear (2), Tomatillo – not really a tomato (6)


Peppers were planted the 17th and 24th.

Filius Blue



Other pepper Varieties: Red Cheese, Sweet Chocolate Bell, Ozark Giant Bell, Emerald Giant Bell, Chinese 5 color, Craig’s Grande Jalapeno, Mustard/Red/Chocolate Habaneros.

All of these germinated well except for the red cheese. Out of 10 attempts I only got one plant.


Beans were planted the 24th. This year I actually followed the instructions on the seed packets and soaked the seeds for 2 hours before planting. I noticed a huge improvement in the time it took for the seedlings to sprout. I only have a few that haven’t popped up yet, and I believe it’s due to the differences in varieties. I created this new bed along the original cross fence. I thought I’d put up some fishing line and let the beans go crazy.

New Bean Bed

Bean Varieties: Bolita, Monkey Tail Cowpea, Rattlesnake Pole, Dragon Tongue, Mccaslan 42 Pole, Roma II, Golden Wax

I am most excited about the Bolita. It claims to be tastier than pinto beans. It is a very popular in New Mexico, so hopefully it can handle a little humidity.


Cucumbers and melons were planted on the 24th as well.

Cucs and Melons


Last Year's Watermelon. This plant was strong enough to survive the winter, the least I can do is give it the chance produces fruit.

Cucumber Varieties: Japanese Long, Parisian Pickling, Lemon, Ruby Wallace’s Old Time White

Melon Varieties: Musk, Sugar Baby


The okra is still waiting to be planted. I have so many carrots going, that I thought I’d give them until the beginning of April to see what they can do.

Carrot Bed


Okra and Amaranth seedlings waiting for transplant

Okra Varieties: Clemson Spineless, Bowling Red

Amaranth Varieties: Motten Fire, Joseph’s Coat Perfecta



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>1. Tomato towers work great. Last year I only used small tomato cages. This year I spent a little more money and bought the towers from Gardeners.com. They are about 5 feet tall and really support the tomatoes well. I will be investing in a few more next year.

2. Tomatoes need so much room. Again, I planted the tomatoes too close to each other. I put 6 tomato plants and two pepper plants in one 4X8 bed. I should have left out the pepper plants. The tomatoes were crowded and the peppers ended up so shaded that they didn’t produce well. Cherry tomatoes get huge! They were at least 8 feet tall and spread like crazy.
3. Cherry tomato varieties. You can’t beat sun gold tomatoes in the spring, but they really don’t taste well when things warm up. Regular old cherry tomatoes were not quite as good in the spring, but I preferred them in the summer. The overall winner are the pear cherry tomatoes. They tasted wonderful spring through summer, and are still producing well now.
4. Drip systems do wonders. I had problems last year with cracking tomatoes and blossom end rot. I was watering myself with the hose and couldn’t seem to get the watering even. This spring I put in a drip system and I haven’t seen the same issues. The next thing I need to do is get a timer. This waking up at 5:15 to turn on the water and go back to bed is not fun.
5. Beans get huge. Those little beans start so small, but wow do they grow. I did not plan well enough and the production suffered. I had a few small (about 3 feet tall) stands, but they couldn’t hold the weight of the beans. For the fall I have switched to metal tents, which should work much better.
6. Squash just may be too much work. I did get some good production this year, but those squash-vine borers are just impossible to deal with. The only thing I found that really worked is to get an early start, get as many as possible before the heat brings the SVBs. I was able to cut into the zucchini and yellow squash to dig out the pests, but the pumpkins are impossible. The plants are just too big you don’t know where to start. Due to the overwintering larva, I think I’ll have to skip squash next year altogether.
7. I love straw. This makes such a great mulch. A friend of mine can get organic straw from his parents’ farm. It also doubles as an addition to the compost pile.
8. I need to fix the melon bed. This year the melons and pumpkin plants grew like crazy. Unfortunately, this kept me from cutting the grass around them. Last year I put a winter garden here, but this year I will spend the winter ripping out all of the grass and making a nice bed.
9. Dewberries are my favorite. Of blackberries, raspberries and dewberries I really like the later. Aside from having thorns, the berries taste wonderful and the plant grows very bushy rather than one or two long branches. I plan on puting a few more of these in next year.
10. If you see a few holes in the leaves pay attention. I saw holes in the swiss chard and just ignored it for a week or so. By the time I really looked the plants looked like skeletons and I couldn’t even count the number of caterpillars. A little Bt would have fixed this right up. I used Bt on the tomato plants when a few spread over there and it was fixed in no time.
11. Back to tomatoes. I love romas. I don’t care for brandywines. The brandywines didn’t taste all that great, didn’t produce very well and tended to crack, due to their size.
12. Zinnias and cosmos handle the heat really well. Mums do not. I planted the mums soon after moving in almost two years ago, and they’re calling it quits. I love my knockout roses. They really love the sun and heat. I want to try them in other colors.
I think that will do it. I’ll have to come back in and add pictures later.

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>Argh! Austin Weather!

>I have to say I am a little irritated this morning. It felt a little chilly so I checked the weather. There is a change of a light freeze tonight. It is April 6th. This just isn’t right. Yesterday I cleaned up all of my garden stuff. Put my row cover neatly away, along with all of the skewers I use to stake it down and clothespins I use to attach it to the tomato cages. Now I have to get everything out again. Also, my plant are much taller now, so I had to buy some larger skewers (last time I used short bamboo ones) to prop the row cover above the plants. Luckily, Central Market had them on clearance so I bought a bunch. I hope my newly planted melons survive the night.

Alright, enough whining. At least it’s not snowing, like it has been in Seattle for the past week.
Things could always be worse 🙂

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>Spring To-Do List

>My garden has been so neglected. With football in the fall, this sporadically cold winter, and helping my friends build a gazebo every other saturday, I haven’t done much besides watering. Unfortunately, with our lack of rain, this has been more than I’d like. I’m just starting to realize how quickly spring is coming and I have a ton of things on my plate. I thought I’d put a list together of everything I need to do.

X 1. Plant spring seeds. (I bought a heat mat, seeds, and starter kit yesterday, so I’m not far off)
X 2. Dig out blackberry beds along creek
X 3. Dig hole and plant kumquat tree
X 4. Dig out 3 4×8 sections for new raised beds
X 5. Install raised beds and bag compost/soil/mulch
6. Find spot for strawberry plants and get them planted.
X 7. Prune Roses (Feb 14)
8. Find, purchase and plant limequat tree
Update – having trouble finding one, not sure if this is going to happen
9. Find, purchase and plant pomegranate bush
Update – haven’t convinced DH that we must have one, might not happen this year
10. Dig out beds along fence in backyard
11. Clean up existing beds, mulch, add weed blocker
12. Install drip system for new beds
13. Move 3×3 raised bed
Update – waiting until onions are ready. 2 popped up unexpectedly from last years plantings.
X 14. Plant herb garden
No problem, piece of cake!

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