Time to tame this mess for the winter. Most of the bugs and butterflies are gone. We've harvested all the rose hips. It's always a bit sad to see the flower garden bare, but making room for new spring growth will produce a more beautiful garden.
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Thursday, August 2, 2012
Don't neglect your compost pile in all this heat that we're having. They can dry out just as easily as your garden beds. While you're giving the beds a spray, be sure to include the compost heap!
Friday, July 13, 2012
We all know that nothing tastes quite like a home grown tomato. For years, the consensus in my family has been that home grown just tasted better. Guess what - it turns out that we're right! It didn't take a degree in genetic engineering for us to make this determination, just a few taste buds - but now those scientists not only agree with us, it seems they know why.
Here is an article that explains it all better than I can:
The summary is that they decided to mess with mother nature and try to get the tomatoes to ripen uniformly on the plant and in doing so turned off 'flavor' gene. That may be a little oversimplified, but it's close enough to convince me that once again, maybe we don't need to fix what isn't broken.
Friday, June 22, 2012
We harvested two huge Armenian cucumbers from the garden yesterday. They are both around 20 inches long. We're looking forward to having fresh cucumber with dinner tonight.
Armenian cucumbers, also called yard-longs, are the preferred cuke in my garden. They technically are not a true cucumber, but are from the closely related muskmelon family. These cucumber cousins not only taste like the real McCoy, but they have some traits that actually surpass traditional cucumbers for garden performance!
Armenian cukes tolerate the heat and dry air better than other cucumbers that I've grown. They are never bitter tasting, and each fruit will grow to over fifteen inches. There is no need to peel them, as they lack the thick skin traditional cucumbers have. Armenians also don't seem to cause the gas issues that regular cukes do in some people. Yard longs can grow along the ground as Michele does, or trellised as I do.
If you haven't tried growing Armenian cucumbers, then you should definitely include them in next year's garden. These heat-loving, versatile performers won't disappoint.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Link - GardenToad's Companion Plant Guide
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Saturday, May 5, 2012
Texoma is historically known for growing onions. Our black clay and unfussy onions get along beautifully, making onions high on my list of plants to start with for people new to gardening.
Onions can grow so successfully here that you can end up with quite a harvest. What to do to preserve all of your onions? Well, you have some options. Drying, of course, is one. You can also chop them and keep them frozen in bags, to use as needed. My personal favorite is to cure them and store them in a dark, dry place, where they'll often keep for months.
Curing onions is not at all hard. The key is to not be hasty. Leave them to cure for as long as they need to set properly before storing, and you'll minimize your losses to rot. Here's a video describing the process. Good luck!
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Michele advises us to generally not plant okra before May, due its resentment of coldish weather; however, if you leave space for it where you've planted sweet peppers, then you should be able to fit the okra in nicely.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Walking the dog around the back of our place today, I noticed a distinctly sweet smell. It reminded me of honeysuckle vines, but I couldn’t remember having seen any on our property before. We followed our noses and came across several very large bushes full of sweet smelling white flowers. I had never heard of a honeysuckle bush, and had no idea what these were. They were very pretty, smelled very sweet, and were very attractive to butterflies and bees. There were dozens of butterflies flitting around the bushes. The dog and I watched them for a few minutes and then we headed back to the house to fetch the kids. I traded the dog for a camera, and the kids and I set off to watch the butterflies and take a few pictures.
The picture at the start of this post shows a couple of butterflies enjoying the flowers. Below is a close up of the flowers.
And finally, here is a picture that shows more of the bushes and gives a better idea of how they can grow and how lovely they look.
After searching online to try to determine the type of bush – and being very unsuccessful – I typed in honeysuckle bush just because it smelled so much like the vines. Guess what, there is such a thing and some of the pictures online looked just like the ones we took here! I’m not completely convinced that’s what these bushes are (just mostly convinced), but am going to keep an eye on them this fall. The honeysuckle bush will produce berries in the late summer that ripen early in the fall.
The bush is considered invasive and there are web sites devoted to giving instruction on how to kill them! I thought they were very pretty and don’t want to kill ours. There are a wide variety of honeysuckle bushes in existence, some with berries that are slightly toxic to children and others that are fine to consume. It was noted that although it was ok to eat them, they were very bland tasting and people didn’t tend to bother with them. Birds will eat them in the winter after the other, tastier food has been foraged. That is one of the reasons they spread so easily. The flowers can be dried and used in teas or made into an oil. There are some reported health benefits that are associated with consuming them in this manner.
Here are links to pages discussing these:
I think I’ll wait to try any of these out until after I confirm what the bush is. In the meantime, it is a very ornamental shrub that seems to thrive in our climate. It can attract butterflies to your garden and add a sweet smell to your yard. The bushes may be trimmed to keep the size in check if your space is limited, or left to grow tall and thick like ours and used as a privacy hedge, or to decorate a fence row. Be sure if you decide to grow these that you keep them in check and don't let them choke out any of your other plants! I know that mine are going to stay for now. I may even transplant some a little closer to the house so that we can enjoy them more easily.
Monday, April 9, 2012
Saturday, April 7, 2012
|Photo by Jengod|
Monday, April 2, 2012
Friday, March 30, 2012
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Monday, March 26, 2012
Friday, March 23, 2012
In our area spring tends to bring some of our most severe storms. Hail can come unexpectedly, wreaking havoc in our gardens. Large-leaf and non woody stemmed plants can take the most damage. Most of the time the damage isn't the end of the world, but you can lose harvest.
There are several options that you can choose from to protect your plants from hail damage, ranging from a sheet spread over the plants to hoophouses or other structures. The idea is to cover your plants with something that the will hail will bounce off of. Simple as that. Here's a link to another blogpost covering several hail protection methods used in an area that gets struck with more hail than we generally do.
If you already have some hail damage, then here are some suggestions on what you can do to help your plant recover.
Sunday, March 18, 2012
Friday, March 16, 2012
Isn't it lovely! The kids and I are going to keep a close watch on the area. If we see any more come up, we're going to harvest it.
My husband also recently found a nice batch of wild onions growing on our place. It's fun to find unexpected gifts from the land. We're going to be keeping an eye out to see what other treasures we can find.
Until next time, happy gardening!
Thursday, March 15, 2012
I noticed in my garden walk yesterday afternoon that the warm weather jump started all of the potato starts that my family and I planted a couple of weeks ago. There are cute little shoots popping up out of the hay mulch! I love seeing vegetables and flowers growing.
Potato starts are available now for purchase from garden stores. They can be planted right now in our area. You can check out Michele's previous post on potatoes to see the difference between potato starts specifically for planting vs using potatoes intended for eating.
I used red potato starts intended for planting. I want to mention that I picked these up from my local hardware/feed store for a much cheaper price than the home supply stores. It's always a good idea to check out your local shops before heading to the big box stores. You can luck out on some great deals.
Don't feel that it's late in the season to plant potatoes. It's nowhere near that. Last year it must've been halfway through April before I got mine in the ground. I still got loads of potatoes, lasting all the way until the heat and drought finally did them in.
Friday, March 9, 2012
Ok, I'll admit that this not the most awe-inspiring picture of a garden ever, but hey I tried. At the bottom of the picture, you can see the fence we put up to keep the rabbits out. It's not very impressive to look at, but it does the job and was made from materials we had on hand. Given more time and resources, you can do a much better job, but I just wanted to show you that it doesn't nave to be fancy to work.
The top of the picture features some of the sprouts we are seeing. These are some of the seeds that the kids toiled away to plant for me (I supervised). The beans and peas are looking good, and the lettuce is ready to eat. Yes, all of those white things in the pictures are rocks. I am attempting to grow vegetables in a rock garden! But look, it's working and the plants are growing. It just goes to show you that with the proper nutrition, plants will grow in almost any soil. We have added a lot of natural fertilizer to this garden over the years (rabbit, chicken, goat and horse manure) and it has paid off. The lucky plants that are growing in the raised beds actually have nice, rock free soil, but honestly, the yield is about the same when I take the time to water properly.
This post is mostly just to let you know that you don't need perfect conditions to have a successful garden. Don't get frustrated and don't feel like you have to go out and buy a bunch of materials just to get started. You only need a shovel, seeds, time and patience. Compost, fertilizer, and mulch help out too! Now no more excuses - get that garden started today!
Saturday, March 3, 2012
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
These figures represent only those published by the USDA. Studies in Russia and Eastern Europe by Gerasimova, Racz, Vogel, and Marei (Hobbs 1985) indicate that dandelion is also rich in micronutrients such as copper, cobalt, zinc, boron, and molybdenum, as well as Vitamin D.
Friday, February 17, 2012
Did you know that you can eat the okra leaves as well as the pods? They can be prepared much the same as radish or beet leaves. Those are the ones that some people steam up or use in various cooked dishes but that my family loves to just toss in a salad. I can’t wait to try them out! Okra is one of the few green vegetables my husband likes and we’ve been growing it for years. Our favorite way to eat it is rolled in cornmeal and fried. It might not be the healthiest way to prepare it, but is sure is good! There are many, many more ways to prepare it that does not involve deep frying. Just look online and pick what looks best to you.
Okra is believed to have been grown and consumed back in ancient Egypt and has since been introduced to almost all warm climates world-wide. It is a very good source of vitamins A, C, and K. It is also a good source of dietary fiber and a few minerals. It has quite a few other nutritional benefits. Here is a more complete list of those benefits. The whole article is interesting but if you want to just skip to the nutritional information, click on the link at the top of the page.
One thing about okra is that it won’t grow until it’s nice and hot out. We have been working hard on our gardens and getting all of our cool weather plants in the ground, but the okra has to wait another few months. I’ll probably plant it early to mid-May. Some people don’t plant it until June, but I’m not that patient. I find that it will sprout and grow a little earlier than that.
If you haven’t tried to grow it yet you should think about it. There are so many ways to use it that everyone should be able to find something they like about it. Hope you found some useful information here. As always, happy gardening!