Friday, September 30, 2011

Now appearing in the garden...

Popping up today are the tomatillo seedlings. Good, since this is a warm weather crop, I need them to get a good headstart before the weather turns cool. Still don't know if I was too late planting them. My plan for these veggies is canned salsa verde. Crossing my fingers!

I looked up today how to make homemade organic detergents, soap, shampoo and conditioner. I may give it a try. Store bought shampoos, soaps, etc. are hard on the environment as the chemicals in them don't break down and eventually pollute our waters. All those suds we are used to when washing are not the product of the cleansing agents but just sudsing agents added to make us think we're getting dishes, laundry, our bodies, hair, whatever, cleaner. It would take some getting used to washing with homemade products that don't foam and bubble.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

First up in the garden...

Cauliflower. Took 4 days for it to sprout. I planted two rows because it's one of my favorite veggies. Raw, steamed, with cheese sauce, mashed with butter, any way you fix it it's good.

Rain today! Some areas got several inches. We got a little over 3/4" in the garden but that's not bad! Came with lots of thunder and lightning. I was worried about the lightning with all the dead trees in the woods around here.

Dinner tonight: meatless spaghetti sauce over mashed sweet potatoes and homemade garlic bread. Don't knock it 'til you try it. Yummy!

Monday, September 26, 2011

When can't you garden in Houston?

Answer: only when you don't want to.
Key: orange = start seeds
yellow = start plants
green = harvest

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fall garden

I'm glad I live in a climate with a long summer and longer growing season but this is ridiculous. Temps back in the upper 90s and 100s this week. Weatherman says we may get a break next weekend, but what does that mean? Normal temps? High 80s? And, please God, some rain!

The garden is cleaned up, weeded and organic again, or at least as organic as it can be in a suburban yard. Who knows what lies beneath the nice organic dirt and mulch I've added?

Harvested yesterday: 6 oz asparagus, 4 lb sweet potatoes, 2 lb horseradish

I'm just now planting the seeds that should go in early September, but it's been too hot. It's still too hot but the daylight hours are getting shorter and that's part of what triggers the plants to flower. It's a touchy issue this year deciding when to plant.

Planting today: Scarlet Nantes carrots, Tomatillo Verde, Lipstick pimiento peppers, Snow Crown cauliflower, Di Cicco broccoli, and three varieties of Irish potatoes: red, white and purple. I'm putting the potatoes in a new garden on the southeast side of the house to try to keep the vines from taking over and shading the other veggies. Potatoes are a greedy garden crop.

Need to obtain artichoke, lettuce and cilantro seeds to plant soon. Should I try sugar cane?

Question: why do my onion sets and garlic never bulb?
Question: why does dill burn up and die so quickly? I've tried shade, sun, water, less water, pot plants, garden plants, seed starts, plant start. <*sigh*>
Question: why do Brussels sprouts never flower in my garden?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sweet Potato Queen

Four pounds of sweet potatoes from the garden this morning. They were just sitting there with their little heads peeking above the dirt, waiting to be pulled out, washed off, and (eventually) eaten. The biggest one weighs one pound all by itself.

Still not using any chemicals, pesticides or non-organic fertilizers and all is going well. Pests seem to take care of themselves with the good guys munching on the bad guys before they can do significant damage.

It's a hot day, high in the high 90s and the year-long drought continues.

I'm baaack!

It's been a while! I've been gardening all along and have learned a lot - what to do, what not to do, and what happens when you fall and hurt your knee. I had some mulch put in my garden last spring when I had a sprinkler system installed and it killed everything in the garden. Then I fell and tore something in my knee and can't kneel anymore, which makes gardening really hard since I don't have a raised garden. Then the sweet potatoes that I planted two years ago decided to reappear and take over the garden. Plus the weeds. Then one of the coldest winters happened last year and now the hottest summer on record with days and days of 105 degrees and up, plus wild fires in the area and on and on. What a mess! So, on a relatively cool morning, when the temps were still in the 70s I got out there and weeded, pulled up the sweet potatoes and now have a garden ready for planting, which may happen this weekend. Temps are still in the high 90s, so it's about 10 degrees hotter than it should be but I think we'll be OK due to the sprinkler system. We're rationing water so I can only water two days a week but I may sneak in a few extra waterings while the seedlings take hold.