Sunday, December 27, 2009
I wasn't sure about the lemon tree but I figured it was pretty big and should be able to handle the cold weather by now. I was right. Not one leaf fell from it's branches and it's still going strong. Of course it wasn't actuall in the snow but it was exposed to the below 30 degree weather.
A couple of the orphaned cacti died but they were on their way out anyway. They had turned yellow and splotchy. Maybe I should have watered them but since I had no idea what kind of cactus they were I didn't know.
Even the strawberry plants are still green and they did get hit with the snow and cold. Looking forward to some nice berries in the spring and maybe even in late winter if everything goes well.
The cabbage and root veggies are all looking nice. I'll have to remember that for next season.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
In my brief attempt at figuring out exactly what kinds of cacti they were I have found out that I would rather have someone who knows something about them to just tell me. The first two are very similar and may be the same variety while the other two are very likely not.
I hope someone can tell me if they can survive 20-something degree weather since we are scheduled to have some in the next few days and they are still sitting outside in pots. Which reminds me my lemon tree is due to come back in soon.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
What you do is dig a trench about a foot deep, plant the onion sprouts in the trench and just cover the tops of the plant (I was given sprouts from the seeds of last season). As the plants grow you keep covering more of the onion until the trench is entirely filled in. They make medium onions but for the first year or so only the tops should be eaten so the rest of the onion can develop.
Monday, December 7, 2009
Usually I would say, "Yes! Of course!" So I did. And now I have a good many pots sitting in my driveway waiting to be placed in their permanent homes. Among them are four different types of cactus, a few different flowers including dianthus, and some post that I'm sure are just some kind of local weed that has taken over and covered the dirt.
I have not gotten all of the pots and dirt yet and will post a series of pictures showing the wonderful findings soon (as in some time this year, I hope).
It was all outside durring the recent freeze so it should all be able to stand whatever Texas has to throw at them. In short, they're staying outside.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
The great old standby is cabbage. At least in the south it's what you eat on new years with black eyes peas in hopes of having a better year. In the beginning it was because there was nothing else to eat and that's what they had.
Here in the DFW metroplex it's a little warmer (3-6 degrees) than the surrounding cities due to lots of heat being produced. In fact now that there are a lot of gas wells just burning off the initial fumes coming out of wells it should be a little warmer than that even.
Due to the warmness other crops are still doing well. For instance my beets, carrots, radishes and lemon grass are doing great. If there's a particularly cold night just cover your plants with a cold frame or, if nothing else, a sheet.
Let me know when you make some soup with your winter veggies and I'll come try it!
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Anyway, it's supposed to have flurries or freezing rain or some such thing tonight so I finally harvested all of my peppers. Keep in mind that the only thing I put on them was water so although they're not super big there are plenty of them, most of which will have to be frozen because I don't believe I will actually use them every day.
I also still need to separate the hot ones from the bells and sweet peppers. Just so you can see them all I put them in a strainer and voila!
Any other harvests out there?
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
After a couple blocks you gave up because it was too far and wore a blister on your little toe because you hadn't broken in your new shoes yet and they weren't made for walking across whatever states there are to get here.
Before you get another crazy idea into your head I guess I had better post the rest of the flower pictures and get it over with. Sorry for causing such havoc.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
The little I have picked up here and there by fixing all of the problems that Dreamweaver creates by making junk code and if you ever tried to look one of it's pages over after several edits and whatnot you would sympathize and nod appreciatively to removing vast seas of Dreamweaver code.
Anyhow the result is a new and wider blog! That's right, there's more room to move about and not so much scrolling down
You get the point, pictures wrap better too. Hope you enjoy and feel as relieved as I do that the blog isn't squished into a sausage.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
The first frost has been pushed back a little longer so they should get nice and big. I've already picked a few and used them in pastas, sandwiches and a gumbo. I have to admit that they aren't as big as the ones in the stores but they taste way better.
Here is a view with several different peppers in the picture. Unfortunately I don't know what some of the peppers are since I sprinlked some mixed pepper seeds in with all of it just in case they were still good. No sense in wasting seeds. It's made a very interesting grouping of peppers. They are all different sizes and hopefully soon more colors will come to the fore.
I just better not forget to pick them or my wife will probably shake her head at me and sympathetically pat me on the back to comfort me in my time of mourning.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
One thing I don't think I can ever forget is the time my wife and I went strawberry picking and one very cute couple decided to dress up for the event. It was a bless her soul moment because she really should have known better than to wear high heels and such a short dress to pick strawberries. Sun dresses, on the other hand, work beautifully. Unless you're a guy....
Curiously, as far as I can tell, a guy can wear just about anything he would normally wear and still be modest while gardening.
Friday, November 6, 2009
"I don't have pecans around me." you may lament. That's ok, there are these things called trucks that will bring them to your local grocer and you can get them from him. He's a nice old man who knows a lot about things like fishing and spitting and of course pecans so you should be in good hands if you don't know what to do with them once you've bought some.
In the rare instance that I met a different grocer you can also look online for some recipes like the following one.
If you even try to convince me that you don't have access to the internet then shame on you.. I'm not that gullible.
The main problem I have found is that there are too many pecans where I live and the squirrels like to hide some of them in the flower beds to pop up in the spring where I then have to dig them out and scold the squirrels for their industriousness.
Hurry before the end of the month though because the prices will soon rise as the harvest season ends and the grocer treis to hoard the rest for himself.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
If you're like me then it sounds really good except that you probably don't have the acreage. Don't let that daunt you though, there are varieties of clumping bamboo that are much more manageable as a screen and don't end up on the other side of the yard, or worse in the middle of the yard.
If that still sounds a little too much, there are many shrubs that would do just as well for a little privacy. If your area is good for it you might consider grapevines The main problem with a live fence is the time it takes for it to grow. Even if you have the acreage, bamboo would take a few years to make a decent fence unless you planted the entire thing. Likewise bushes and shrubs are usually sold in much smaller sizes than you would need to make a good fence. In the mean time you can plant vines, which would work well on a chain link fence, or tall growing flowering plants like sunflowers to fill in where the shrubs haven't yet.
If you have a living wall I would love to see pictures of them!
Monday, November 2, 2009
I didn't know there could be so much work in putting in large rocks. digging the right shape of a hole for the rock you are putting in can be more time consuming than planting trees. If you want to put the rock in at an angle then you have to dig the angle into the ground before you set it.
At first I was told that we needed a trench so wide by so deep. This would have worked except that the rock they then selected had a nice growth on one side that they wanted to be more visible so the trench turned into what seems more like a truck loading area ramp so that it had a good viewing angle.
Then burying it took some doing while avioding ants which had been living where we wanted the rock to go.
Looking back I'm pretty sure it was well worth the changes.
Monday, October 26, 2009
I already had somewhere to be afterward and I didn't want to be lat to it too so by the time I made it to the park there was less than two hours to do anything.
Unfortunately for me, when I got there the park was closed off to traffic due to a walk for diabetes. I have nothing against these sorts of things but no one there knew of this supposed plant swap.By the time we figured out that it wasn't anywhere in the park there was just enough time left to have lunch and go on to the next event.
After we got home that evening my ife looked on the board to see what might have happened. Apparently 4 days before the event was to take place the location was changed and since I wasn't glued to the boards I missed it.
Suffice to say there will be no pictures this time around.
There is one person who was expecting me to show up and they're still going to drop by to swap some flowering plants for a few key lime trees.
Friday, October 23, 2009
As far as where to plant it, I have been told that it looks really good next to purple flowers so I think I'll find a spot near the lavendar bushes.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Anyhow there are now at least 4 candy lilly plant sprouts to trade come Saturday.
Right now they look like little blades of grass but I believe she said they were relate to the iris.
Ok, after taking the picture the flash has revealed that the 6th pot has indeed sprouted. You can also see the basil and the coleus at the edge of the picture.
Monday, October 19, 2009
When I was little I was camping with my family and my mom foud some of this wonderful bit of the plant family and made some tea. It was one of the oddest taste and yet familiar. It was sassafras tea, ok so not really a tea but see my other blog about that.
It was once the main flavoring of rootbeer but is now illegal to put in there since it is a very mild narcotic. I guess some narcotic is too much for the FDA. Amazing how some things still get through... Anyhow that wasn't the wierdest part. We probably know various plants that make pretty good flavoring from the root but this tree has another use. An entirely different seasioning comes from it's leaves and you can buy this in the store, at least down here in Texas. If you've ever heard much cajun music you are bound to have heard of the "filé gumbo." Pronounced fee-lay it is the dried leaf of the sassafras tree. I have found a local sassafras tree on a nearby street and as soon as I muster up a little more boldness I'm going to ask if I can rake the yard for this wonderful spice. Ok, maybe not rake the yard but at least pick up a few leaves for drying so I can have fresh filé.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Another newcomer to the weed family, in my case the plants that are growing in my gravel walkway, is fennel. There are only two fennel plants sprouting where they shouldn't but that's still too many. It's hard enough to keep the grass out.
I wouldn't have this problem if they weren't so reproductive. Both plants produce many seeds every year and have no problem dropping them where they shouldn't. Ok, so it's partly my fault for trying to harvest some of the seeds for cooking but I don't want to complain about myself...
Friday, October 16, 2009
It's also one of the hardest plants to kill. I rarely water it and, even in the hot July months of Texas, it just doesn't care and keeps on growing. if all plants did this there would be no such thing as a desert.
You also can't cook with all plants so I guess it evens out in the end. It keeps growing and I keep eating it. Well, not by itself but on pork or chicken or in a cream sauce over noodles. Any of these options will do.
It's also good for sachets!
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
For it's resiliance in the face of these obsticlesI believe it has earned the right to be called a tree.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
It's rained on and off for at least five days now and all of my plants are loving it. The strawberry plants are perking up well and even the new offshoots are getting big. The pepper plants are getting along fine and producing at a good rate. Even some of the pepper plants that haven't really done anything this year in the front are starting to get big. Hopefully I'll be able to get some peppers off of them before the freeze comes this year. Last year I didn't get to some if the peppers in time and they froze on the plants. All I had to do at that point was pick them, cut them up and put them in a sealable bag to be tossed in the freezer for later use in the winter.
Sometime next year I'm planning on digging up some of the sweet potato bed to see if there is anything there next fall to give it time to produce well and to weed out any less hardy parts of the plant. I also hope to see flowers next year and gather some seed (genetic engineering at it's finest).
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Blogs are a lot like planting. Sometimes a blog can grow to a point where the blogger thinks it has matured and is now reaping the reward of his hard work. Other times a blog fizzles and is uprooted and tossed aside for a more productive venture.
One thing about gardeners is they like variety. I don't know anyone who just plants roses for instance. Sure roses may be their main plant but there are always other plants in the yard that are cared for and maintained. Vegetable gardeners are likewise very diverse in their plantings.
In the gardening spirit I have decided to keep up with this blog but start yet another plant in my blog garden. It is not a gardening blog but may at times have garden related posts in it. It is a general blog in the line of a roughly 500 word format on whatever topic comes up that day.
Please feel free to stop in and see what is being covered that day. http://qwill-pen.blogspot.com/
Friday, October 9, 2009
Included are the candy lilies that I got seeds for recently, basil that I have had for some time now which is actually sprouting, jujube but only four of them since I haven't gotten back to the tree to get more seeds, grape from my mom's grapevines of which I still have most of the seeds from, and let's not forget the key lime trees which it seems that all but one is still alive.
The only definite plants so far are the basil and key lime trees since they are the only ones that have actually sprouted so far. I hope the grapes will sprout soon since the seeds are smaller and usually denotes a shorter germination.
For those of you who don't know a little basil goes a long way. From the two plants we had last year we made some pesto. We froze most of it into cubes and put it in the deepfreeze. One cube makes an entire meal for pasta and thaws quickly which makes me think, pesto chicken linguini for dinner tomorrow?
Just in case you are interested in attending we will probably also have the much talked about lemon thyme cookies again this swap.
Hopefully coming soon will be my want list. I still have to discuss it with the misses. Included will most definitely be bushes of some sort for the front.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
I may be making a tea out of it soon to see if it helps my wife sleep, I still need to do a little more research just to make sure there are no calamitous side effects. So far as I can tell an overdose may lead to confusion, giddiness, and possible liver damage over a long time, then again so do a LOT of things. I love those commercials that end in the disclosure, "Side effects vary and may include, nose bleeds, liver damage, eyes bleeding, skin peeling off and possibly death." Ok, so I exaggerate, but everything has a side effect that's usually why something is taken.
Skullcap is also listed in a tea for arthritis which includes rue, angelica, black cohosh, colombo, valerian root, and gentain root.
Rue is another thing I don't currently have much of an idea of what to do with but that will be another day and probably after I get another plant of it, the last one died, I think....
Monday, October 5, 2009
Among the recently used herbs and plants were, parsley, sage, rosemary, lavender, thyme, lamb's ear, mint and chives. On top of that we had beets, peppers, onions and green onion.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
I've more or less left it alone since June.
I also did a little planting of seeds for the plant swap today. Hopefully everything will sprout.
I found an interesting tid bit about what to do with lamb's ear. The usual is to use it like a bandage, but I have also found that it works in tea and tastes very light and almost minty.
Don't worry. I've tried it and it's really pretty good.
I made the tea by steeping a partially dried torn up leaf in a cup of hot water for three minutes.
Several of the plants seem to look better at night. I don't know if it is because they perk up in cooler weather or if I just can't see the problems in the dark as well. Either way it seems the plants are doing much better.
I need to make some cold boxes soon before it gets too cold to do anything about it. Granted that is still a few months away but I'm a procrastinator. It's a miracle I get around to blogging sometimes.
Currently I'm sitting up with my sick wife watching Lilo and Stitch wishing we could go back to Maui and wander around on foot. Maybe even see a mongoos again.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
This summer I rescued a little plant from the dirt outside of the office and put it in a slightly crowded pot. Can you spot it?