Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Small successes

After blogging about my epic failures in the last post, I'd pretty much ignored my garden for a week. Then came the weekend where I worked, and then a quick family excursion on Sunday. Monday it rained and rained. So today, Tuesday, I decided to venture out and check on things. I was NOT disappointed this time!

TOMATOES!  I have tomatoes!  
The nursery plants I bought are all in flower or have baby tomatoes.  You just know summer is coming when you see these beauties. 
 I can almost taste that fresh salsa now!

My second batch of seedlings are thriving, 
so far.

And my little "kitchen garden" closest to the house is doing very well.  Onions, garlic, spinach, chard, carrots, lettuce, and kale are really coming to life after the monsoon rains we received lately.

I am very excited over this Cara Cara orange tree I recently planted.  When I bought it from the nursery it was loaded with fruit.  I expected it to drop all of them when I transplanted it, but it has hung on to most of them.  I have about a dozen oranges on my little tree!

My lemon tree is doing very well, too.  There are several dozen lemons growing.  They say it's best to thin your fruit to one or two on a branch but I can't seem to do that.  I'm just so excited over LEMONS!

Seeds that were planted are now growing now that the weather is consistently warmer.  This is a candy roaster squash vine I'm training up some chicken wire.  The squash from these vines are going to make some awfully good "pumpkin" pies this fall.

And even my Chinese red noodle beans have sprouted.  I thought the seeds had rotted in the ground, but here they are!

But my biggest success of all are the first batch of seedlings that had stopped growing earlier in the season.  Seems all they needed was total neglect on my part!  A little more than half of them died, but the ones that survived are now appearing strong with new sets of leaves.

I'm very happy with these small successes in the garden, I'm hoping they continue.  Now I'm off to try to accomplish a BIG success in the garden.....getting these rotten boys to help me pull weeds!


Monday, April 22, 2013


I should be well into a lush, green growing garden right now but 
I am struggling to grow anything in my garden. 
It seems as if Mother Nature hates me.

It all started with these:
These are the tomato, eggplant, pepper, and herbs that I started from seed over nine weeks ago!  They should have already been hardened off and transplanted to the garden.  I have repeated the exact same process year after year but this year something is out of whack.  They either died or stopped growing all together...all of them!  
I would have blamed it on a poor batch of soil but then this happened:
That is a dead pepper plant!  
I'll admit it.  I caved and bought some pepper plants from the nursery because I was so discouraged with the failure of my seedlings.  I transplanted them into my raised beds and then noticed something (likely snails) had been munching on the leaves.  I dusted them with some food grade diatomaceous earth and about three days later they were dead.
Strike two against me!

I could have even bounced back from that until I saw this:
Those are some seriously jacked up bean plants.
I had to replant the whole lot of them due to a late freeze and then I dusted them with the DE because the snails seemed to love them too.  Most of them died and the few that are left are looking pretty sad.

I feel my green thumb turning brown by the minute.

So like any good gardener, I went to the nursery and bought myself a garden!
My favorite nursery on earth, Enchanted Forrest, had plenty of heirloom tomatoes.  So I brought some home and planted them up in some homemade earth boxes (check out YouTube!  LOTS of ways to make these and most of them under ten bucks!)
I really had my heart set on some of the heirlooms I started from seed, so I started all over again and planted more seeds.  Thankfully, we have a really long growing season here in Texas.  By the time my purchased plants are spent, these from seed should be producing.
Now barring any natural disasters or plagues (I'm not holding my breath!), I should be harvesting tomatoes well into October. 

The only thing I seem to be doing right is flowers.
I've never had much success as a flower gardener, but I've had some beautiful results so far this year. They make me happy while enduring my vegetable failures.

Gardening is never boring, that's for sure.
Every season is a new adventure! 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


"Deeply grieved by news of the loss of life and grave injuries caused by the act of violence perpetrated last evening in Boston, His Holiness Pope Francis wishes me to assure you of his sympathy and closeness in prayer. In the aftermath of this senseless tragedy, His Holiness invokes God’s peace upon the dead, his consolation upon the suffering and his strength upon all those engaged in the continuing work of relief and response. At this time of mourning the Holy Father prays that all Bostonians will be united in a resolve not to be overcome by evil, but to combat evil with good (cf. Rom 12:21), working together to build an ever more just, free and secure society for generations yet to come." 
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone Secretary of State

Focusing today on combating evil with good 
by praying and performing random acts of kindness.
Our prayers are with you, Boston.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Growing ginger

Now I think I've already grown two of the cutest "gingers" known to man (i.e. Danny and Mary Grace!) but this post is strictly about the ginger plant.  Thanks to several pins on Pinterest, I've seen that growing your own ginger is very easy to do!

I started by taking the freshest ginger root I could find at the store and soaked it in warm water for about two hours.  Most of the Pinterest posts skip this step, but it's a root, a dried root, and a good soaking is a really good idea in my opinion.

I broke the root into two pieces and planted them in two different beds in the garden.  The bed in the upper picture remains moist, is partially shaded, cool, and heavily mulched.  The bed in the lower picture has super rich soil that is well drained and gets lots of hot afternoon sun.  We'll see which environment the ginger prefers!

I am very excited to grow our own ginger.  It has such wonderful health benefits and tastes so good!  If I'm lucky enough, I may be posting soon on making our own ginger beer...YUM!