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Archive for the ‘okra’ 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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>One of those Days

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Today I got home from work early enough to spend a few minutes in the garden. I wandered around only to find two new pests. It’s one of those days where you wonder why you even bother. Why don’t I just leave it to the professionals?

Here is where the cutworm laughed at my attempts to block him. I caught him in the act, stretching as far as possible to bite just above the straws I put in yesterday. I found a second one, but destroyed them both before taking pictures.

Here are the next culprits. I don’t know what they are, but would appreciate any help. I couldn’t find them in the Texas Bug Book. These little critters eat through the stems on the tomato plants. You can see the droopy end, completely cut off from nutrients. I may have to resort to some organic pesticides on these guys.
Why do I bother? Well … I just finished eating some sauteed okra. Simple olive oil, salt, pepper and whole okra. I also mixed in some zucchini and mushrooms. Mmmm! I agree with a friend of mine that plain old sauteed okra is just as good as fried, as long as you can handle a little slime.

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The vegetable garden is really doing well. I haven’t gone to the farmer’s market in weeks and we’ve been eating like kings. Squash, tomatoes, okra, green beans, onions, pepper (notice no “s”), swiss chard and plenty of herbs. 

Sugar Pumpkin. 
Hopefully the Squash Vine Borers don’t destroy the entire plant before I’m able to see this one ripen.  

Sun Gold Tomatoes. These are so incredibly tasty I can’t see us planting any other type of cherry. We just can’t get enough of them.

Brandywine.
Until just a few days ago when I spotted a few more tiny ones, this big guy was the one great hope. The production has been so bad on these, that tasty or not I don’t think I’ll be planting them again. Next year I’ll try Cherokee Purple instead.

Romas. 
These have just started ripening in the last day or two. I’ll be making some spaghetti tonight. Mmmm!

Octopus Swiss Chard. 
Really it’s just plain old swiss chard, but the twisty stems remind me of a certain sea creature. If I was ESP I’d be adding some really cool pics here 🙂

Okra.
Like the zucchini, these guys can get really big really fast if you aren’t paying attention.

Zucchini.
Still hanging in there. From this picture you’d never guess that I’ve cut into every one of these and lost half. Obviously, I overplanted the bed. Who knew vines could grow like this 🙂

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Once of the second type of tulips ( which I didn’t write down ) is up. This is the one I’ve been waiting for, with the yellows and red. It’s just beautiful. It is much smaller than the other variety though.


Here is a picture of the soon-to-be melon garden. It is twice the size that it was last year. Two nights ago I removed the old winter veggies that had already flowered and gone to seed. All I have left is carrots and a few herbs. The 3×3 herb garden is pretty full, so I’ll have to relocate these to one of the other beds. We’ll plan on eating the last of the carrots this week. I have 2 cantaloupe, 2 watermelon and 2 cucumber seedlings that I picked up last weekend, awaiting their new home. The natural gardener only had 1 variety of each, which is why I got so few. I plan on going again this week to see if their selection has improved.

Herb garden with society garlic taking center stage.

Dewberry. I found it interesting how bushy this plant is compared to the blackberry, which is one long stick. 

I love the instant gratification of beans. As soon as they pop up from the ground they are instant plants, no tiny delicate leaves. In a day or two they’ll be double the size of my peppers. I planted both green beans and butter beans. Mmmm! 
I also have two tomato plants in this bed from a swap I made with my neighbor. I gave her 1 roma and 1 sun gold. I have no idea what she gave me, I’ll have to ask her again. I’m noticing a trend here of me having no idea what’s planted  in my garden 🙂


The okra took quite a beating from the cold. I covered everything with row cover, but the leaves still haven’t quite recovered. It appears the flowers don’t care though. They plan on blooming anyway. 

Thai Basil. Added this because I thought it was pretty.

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Tulips are my favorite flower and I finally planted some last fall. They started sprouting weeks ago, but didn’t flower until this morning. I’m not sure if the flower is supposed to be so close the ground, but I’m not complaining. I planted a total of 10 ( 2 different types) , all of which have sprouted, but only 1 flower so far.

The dewberry plant is flowering. You’re not supposed to get any berries the first year, but I just may get a few. The blackberries are just about to flower as well.

I planted both nasturtium and marigold from seed a week or two ago. I haven’t had any luck with the marigolds, but almost all of the nasturtiums came up. I didn’t get a chance today, but plan on running drip lines to them as well.

After giving up on the marigolds coming up, I picked up 6 yesterday. These worked so well last year at keeping the horn worms away that I just can’t do without them.
At the farmers market this weekend a guy was selling banana trees. My husband has been wanting on forever so I finally gave in. I ripped out some ruelllias that I wasn’t too fond of and put the tree in a nice corner spot. This location will block the north wind and hopefully keep the tree alive. The type is “Gran Nain”. This is the same as the commercial variety. From what I’ve been reading it should do fine with our weather. The only trick will be keeping the soil moist.

I noticed that a few of the veggies are looking a little rough. The squash is a little yellow in the leaves and the okra has some white veins and just overall looks unhappy. I have all of the veggies on the same drip system, and figure that the amount I’m giving the tomatoes is just too much for the other plants. I attached some 2GPH emitters to the tomatoes, so they’ll receive twice as much water as the other plants. I also attached some on-off switches to the okra, so I can give them even less water, if necessary.

The same guy who was selling the banana tree also had columbine. I picked up two, the standard yellow, which is a Texas native and a very pretty purple and yellow. I planted these in the back corner of the yard where there isn’t much sun. My only concern is the soil. I read that columbine prefers sandy well-drained soil and my soil is clay.

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I know it’s not quite to the last frost, but I looked at my schedule for the next few weekends and I just won’t have time to plant the veggies. I took half a day of vacation friday and got my seedlings into the ground. Saturday I worked on the gazebo again. I’ll have to post some pictures soon to show exactly what took what could have been 9 full days of gardening work since late November. Sunday I installed a drip system. The new beds are really more than I have time to manage with the hose, and my tomatoes didn’t do as well as they could have last year with consistent watering. It wasn’t expensive, and not too difficult. I haven’t hooked up a timer yet. Right now I just turn on the hose while I’m getting ready for work or taking a morning walk.

Tomato close-up. I plan on putting straw on all of the beds, once this cold front passes. I did some research and found that straw is a cooling mulch. That is perfect for out hot summers, but no so great when you’re trying to keep the beds extra warm.
Brandywine, romas and misc. peppers. I planned on remembering which peppers were which when I transplanted them into bigger pots and that didn’t work out so well. I planted all of them, so I guess it doesn’t matter too much. I’ll figure it out eventually.

Okra and swiss chard. I’m also thinking of planting some sweet potatoes as well.

Yellow squash and zucchini. The seed packed said these don’t always transplant well, but mine have really taken off in the last few days. My trick will be trying to ward off the squash-vine borer. I didn’t have much luck last year.

Rainbow Cherry, Sungold, misc. peppers. I have also scattered onions though all of the beds.
After planting on friday the weather forecast kept getting worse. Monday afternoon I bought some row cover and covered everything last night. This should protect against potential frost, and the sub-45 degrees that we’ll be seeing the next few nights.

To fix my bloom issue … I picked up a few bluebonnets at the Natural Gardener. I planted them right by the front walk. Ahh … spring is here, except for that pesky cold front.

Last night I planted some daylily bulbs in this bed as well. I’m hoping the rain will encourage them to pop up quickly. I’d eventually like to make this entire bed full of daylilies. One of my neighbors has a similar thing on the side of the house and it is really beautiful. I am planning on doing the yellow/orange varieties.

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