Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I hate this weather...

Okay, I know I said I like this weather, but last night it was 20 DEGREES COLDER THAN NORMAL so ALL my tomatoes, cucumbers, tomatillos, and peppers are mushy black crud. (My canteloupe are mush too, but that's okay seeing as they were a "volunteer" crop anyway.) Even a few of my perennials got a little frosted (like me right now).

Why didn't I cover them? Because it WASN'T supposed to get that COLD. It was ONLY supposed to get down to 50 degrees or so (normal temps this time of year), but NOOOOOO - I have black stumps where my wonderful plants used to be.

Silver lining - my lettuces, chards, cabbages, and other root vegetables are still looking good. I now have planted at least 7 different types of lettuces (seed and starts), four types of cabbages, several variety of broccoli, and collards and kale (seed). I'm trying intensive planting on my lettuces. I planted four rows of starter plants and in between, seeded other varieties. My goal - to have a solid row of lettuces (6' x 2') with no real visible space between the plants so that I don't have to weed. We'll see how it goes...

In other planting news - my GardenHoes project looks great. The number of unplanted plants is slowly going down and I am trying to be sooooo good and not buy any new ones until I get all these in the ground. I have several bulbs that I planted under one of our mock pear trees coming up, so I am hoping to get some flowers. What kind, I don't know, as that area became an experimental bulb planting ground. The deer have managed to eat a few more of my plants, but most seem to be surviving (it may be because my neighbors have taken up target practice and scared the deer away). We got some new fish for the pond...I wasn't supposed to, but when I saw that the new babies that survived the spill were okay, I figured - what the heck? Lots of other stuff in the works, but I can't remember it all right now.

Last thing - I can't wait for Hoe Anna's project day. It will be the first time we've been over there, so i'm excited to see what her place is like.

~Hoe Naomi

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Heather's Hoe Day!

Despite being in the middle of the kitchen remodel, the Garden Hoes were over the first Saturday in October for a huge project. Anna and Nickie did a beautiful job cleaning up and mulching the pond garden and we built a beautiful herb and iris bed in front of my garden. It didn't "sound" like a big project in my imagination but, like the kitchen remodel, it got bigger and bigger as we went along. Probably the most time consuming part of the project was removing only a very small amount of the fill rock that made up the majority of the ground. After removing 5 wheelbarrows full of rocks from the tilled ground, we called it quits, added compost and finished the project.

Between all the hard work, we took a few breaks, of course. One was for lunch and we had Greek Salad and some other Greek fixings. YUMMY. Another break found Anna telling Ryan, because he was sitting in her lap and asking the questions and she has more patience than I, what EVERY variety of onion and then bean was in the seed catalog.

Little FUNNY aspect of the day...Naomi had met, the night before at First Friday in Georgetown, a gal who had recently relocated here and invited her to hang out with us on Saturday to do a "little gardening". Well, the new firend DID show up and DID even jump in and help for a little while. During one of our breaks, however, she commented that when Naomi had told her we'd be doing a little gardening and eating, blah blah blah... SHE thought it would be a sort of picnic and we'd occasionally pluck a weed. THAT got quite a laugh out of all of us. The LAST thing we are is some prim and proper gardening group. LOL.

Anyway, we had fun and got the project(s) done!

We forgot to take a "before" photo but remembered pretty early in the day. Here is Naomi tilling up my rock ground in preparation of the bed.

It is beautiful and I can't wait until next year when all the iris come up and, hopefully, bloom amidst all my herbs.

Many thanks to all the Garden Hoes for the awesome job! Extra thanks to Naomi for the beams, compost....

Thursday, October 2, 2008

I'd rather be playing in the dirt...

Thursday morning and the temp is about 75 degrees. I wish I was outside right now. Not even necessarily doing anything productive, but just moving things around.

This morning when I went to work, I noticed that I have the beginning of a bloom on my fall asters. I got these for the first time this year and was told that these plants bloom at the start of the fall equinox. (This is not my plant by the way, but hopefully soon). The Natural Gardener calls the Fall Aster one of their favorite plants and talks about them on their website: "All year we wait for this magical time when profusions of purple aster blooms signal the transition into Autumn in Central Texas. Aster oblongifolius, our native species, is a real powerhouse of a plant. A very hardy perennial, reaching about 2 feet high by 2 to 3 feet wide, it is extremely drought tolerant and will spread quite happily by seed. An unobtrusive member of the garden community for most of the year, Fall Aster jumps to the fore in late summer to provide an eye-popping show through the Autumn months. Plant now to get a head start for Spring."

Well, between the 50 degree nights and the fall aster blooms, I think Fall has officially arrived. This is my favorite time of the year - boy, I wish I could be outside right now.