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Archive for the ‘seedlings’ Category

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As usual, summers in Texas are a bit rough, with temperatures varying from the high 90s to 110. We had our hottest ever July day. It doesn’t rival 2010, but it has been a hot year with very little rain.

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Last year was a bad one for okra, and my poor production has continued this year. I’m not sure if it is root-knot nematode again this year, or the extreme heat. It was the 110 degree day that halted production.

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The peppers have had a stellar year, since I added slow release sulphur to the beds, to fix the PH problem. My new favorite pepper is from Baker Creek Heirlooms, called Habanada. It is a non-spicy Habenero, and the flavor is amazing! I only planted 3 plants, but have gotten well over 100 peppers. I’ve been putting them in everything. I also tried Marconi for the first time, and this one will be on my repeat list as well. It is a large yellow bell pepper with great production, and flavor.

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Melons produced pretty well, and I am still getting a few.

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The tomatillos usually die out in the heat of the summer, and this year they lasted a bit longer. I don’t know how long they can hang on, and if I’ll get any fall production.

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Malibar Spinach is thriving, and such a lovely plant.

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Summer beans are just starting to produce, with black-eyed peas leading the pack.

Cut and Come Again Zinnias have been the star of the garden. They seem to like a good soaking every 3 days. My vases have been full all summer. I’ll definitely be planting these again.

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I’ve let the cowpen daisies take over this year. They spread pretty aggressively, but are easy to pull out so I’ve just let them do their thing. They make the veggie garden pretty, when most things are hanging on for dear life.

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As usual, the thai basil has done the best of the varieties. I don’t really care for the flavor, but it is a favorite of the bees. The honey bees have disappeared lately, maybe due to the abundance of robber flies, but I have seen a few bumbles hanging around.

I just started fall seeds this past weekend under the grow lights, so despite the heat, fall is just around the corner!

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Veggie Garden

Veggie Garden

 

Onions

Onions

 

Potatoes

Potatoes

 

Bee Bed

Bee Bed

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Green Beans

Green Beans

 

Tomatoes - 1 of 3 beds

Tomatoes – 1 of 3 beds

 

Tomatillos -- been fighting cutworms all season in this bed

Tomatillos — been fighting cutworms all season in this bed

 

Squash and Cucs

Squash and CucsĀ 

 

First Tomatoes

First Tomatoes

 

Hairy Vetch

Hairy Vetch

 

Tomatillo Flower

Tomatillo Flower

 

Swiss Chard

Swiss Chard

 

Volunteer Sunflowers

Volunteer Sunflowers

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Seedlings Ready to Go

My spring veggies seedlings are ready to get outside. It looks like the forecast is telling me Sunday afternoon. There are two nights in the low 40s in the forecast for next week, but I’ll keep the tomatoes well covered. The only seeds I still need to start inside are the Okra. These don’t usually go in the ground until earliest April 1, so I’m not too late.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes

Peppers and Cucs

Bell and Hot Peppers

Squash

Squash

Melons and Luffa

Melons and Luffa

I also found this really cool seed cabinet at “Antiques and Things” a few weeks ago. It may not have been its original intended purpose, but it is a perfect fit. Plus, it slides right into the corner in my sunroom.

Seed Cabinet

Seed Cabinet

Seed Cabinet Drawers

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>Seedling Progress

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Romas & Cherokees
I just moved these to the grow light shelf yesterday, so they still look as little sad. The true leaves haven’t shown up yet, but should within the next few days.

Peppers, Romas and Herbs
The peppers are looking really great. They are already growing their third set of leaves. I thinned them out this morning to give them a little more room to grow.
I did some calculations and realized that I will be running out of space once I transfer to 4″ pots, even w/ 18 sq ft! I’ll probably have to use the window a little bit this year as well.

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>New Seeds

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Friday the 8th during my lunch break I drove to The Natural Gardener and picked up some seed packets. Since the peppers and herbs are well underway, it’s time for tomatoes. I picked up “yellow pear” cherry, “supersweet 100” cherry, “cherokee purple”, “green zebra”, and “celebrity”. I also bought toma verde tomatillos and some amaranth.
Planting Dates
Romas – Jan 7th
Cherokee, Zebra – Jan 10th
Cherries, Celebrity – Jan 16th
Last fall I spoke to The Natural Gardener about making my own seed mix. They recommended a mix of Worm Castings, Perlite, and Vermiculite. As for amounts, you want it too retain moisture, but not be too soggy. The amounts I have used for my seed mix are 4 parts perlite, 3 parts worm castings and 2 parts vermiculite. So far it’s working great.

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For Christmas this year my husband bought me this awesome new grow light from Gardeners Supply Company. Last year I grew seedlings in the back window, which was less than ideal. I had a small space and not enough light. Now I have 18 sq ft to grow my seedlings.

Here’s my little greenhouse. I only have 1 heating mat, which I may have to expand to two soon, since my light is eagerly awaiting more seedlings. There are jalapenos, poblanos, wonder bells, basil, dill and summer savory. The poblanos and bells were planted on the 26th, just a little slow to germinate. The others were planted on January 3rd.

Here are the first seedlings under the grow light. These are serranos, purple beauty and canary bell peppers. These were planted on December 26th.
Just for fun I thought I’d share a few pictures of my purple veggies. We cut these up and had them for snacks on New Year’s Eve.

Chef’s Choice Blend Cauliflower

Purple Haze Carrots.
Both of these varieties are grown at the White House Garden. I saw them last night
on the food network, pretty cool!

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Not much gardening occurred this weekend, but that doesn’t translate to nothing to report in the garden…

Ever since the Grow Green book came out this year I’ve been pining after a batface cuphea. I’ve looked all over the place with no luck. I talked to someone who bought one at the Zilker Garden Festival, but I didn’t make it this year. Then last week I talked to a friend of mine, a casual gardener, who had recently planted three batface cupheas. That is just not fair! She shared with me that they had several at the Red Barn in North Austin. I drove up Friday during my lunch break and was able to find some. They aren’t flowering yet, but I was told they are fast growers. Now I just have to figure out where to plant them.

We had guests over for dinner on Saturday night and I decided to make goat cheese stuffed squash blossoms. I grabbed several from the garden Saturday morning, but as I started to put them together I realized that I could use a few more. As I started opening the newly gathered blossoms one of them was buzzing. I peaked and saw a bee inside. I immediately moved towards the door to throw the squash blossom outside, but before I could, the bee escaped. I screamed, threw the blossom, and yelled to my husband that there was a bee in the house. He seemed less concerned than I was. Well after I had a chance to collect myself I went for the blossom, since you don’t want to waste a perfectly good squash blossom. As I picked it up, a bee flew out. I screamed and threw it again. I was then very confused, I could have sworn I saw the bee fly out. Turns out there were 2 bees in that squash blossom. Luckily they flew to the sunroom and were buzzing around the windows. After about 10 minutes of coaxing I swas able to return those bees to the outside. Maybe that’s why they say to gather the blossoms in the morning.

On a side note, I also made pesto with the garden basil and cooked up some zucchini and yellow squash. Yum!


On to the mysterious sprouts… For the past several weeks I’ve seen what I swear are squash and tomatoes seedlings. I could be wrong about the tomatoes, but the squash family is pretty distinct. I couldn’t figure out how these were getting everywhere, especially in the back yard. Finally I figured out that I had used homemade compost in the recent plantings. The compost must not have been hot enough to kill the seeds, so last seasons veggies were sprouting in the garden. I guess this is why you’re supposed to avoid weeds in the compost pile. A few squash plants are much easier to deal with than milkweed.

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