Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Reminder to Self

Reminder to Self:

Do a blog entry about herbed vinegars for Dani (see also, flavored adult beverages)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Fall 2014 Garden Round Up

Lettuce "Red Rosie" transplanted November 9.   
- Red Rosie has an upright habit. The leaves are red more than half way down and then fade to green, creating a unique 'half and half' look. Resistant to downy mildew races 1-16, 19, 21, and 23. 
- Begin harvest November 30.  
- Experience: A bit bitter for my taste (especially the ribs), very doable if the ribs are removed...or unless you're my husband who claims that the more bitter a lettuce, the better it is for you.  By early February, this lettuce started to bolt.  The older leaves are less bitter than the newer ones.  
- Pulled out of the garden 3/14
Close Up

Side view

Kale "Scarlet" transplanted November 9.
- Remarkably attractive dark green kale with red veined, frilly, tightly curled leaves. We have found Scarlet to be a vigorous performer with good cold tolerance. Begin harvesting leaves when young, and allow plant to grow well into the early winter. 24-36" tall by 24" wide, 60 days from transplant. 
- Harvested and removed from garden on 3/21/15
- Experience: It's kale.  We ate it with sweet potatoes and it was good.
Close Up

Side view
Taken Feb 18 - the leaves are definitely darker than before.

Cabbage "Early Flat Dutch" transplanted November 2.
- 85 days. [Pre-1875, possibly pre-1855 variety]
- Does well in southern and coastal areas because of its heat resistance. Excellent variety for sauerkraut and the best variety for storage. Heads are large and flat, weighing 6 to 10 lbs., averaging 11 in. diameter with medium core and few outside leaves.
- Experience: Still in the garden as of April 12, 2015 - it's now about baseball sized, so I'll probably be pulling it soon.
Still but a wee thing in Mid-February

Lettuce "Parris Island" transplanted November 2.
- 70 days. A tasty romaine-type. Uniform heads are pale cream-green inside, and the outside is dark green. Developed around 1949; named after Parris Island, off the East coast.
- Begin harvest November 30.  Pretty good general lettuce.  By mid-Feb, this lettuce has started to bolt and is now bitter.
- Experience:  I always thought the leaves were too stringy to really make a good salad lettuce.
- Pulled out of the garden 3/14
Close Up - it's already bolting (January 23)

Side view - looks leggy because I harvest from the bottom of the plant up.

Lettuce "Dark Lolla Rosa" transplanted November 2.  
- One of the most deeply curled loose-leaf lettuces. Beautiful magenta leaves with light green bases, mild flavor, cut and come again, sow spring or fall.
- Plant eaten by opossums November 8.

Brussels Sprouts "" transplanted November 2.
- The Brussels sprout is a cultivar in the Gemmifera group of cabbages, grown for its edible buds. The leafy green vegetables are typically 2.5–4 cm in diameter and look like miniature cabbages.
- Plant died sometime in January.

Cauliflower "Veronica Romanesco" transplanted November 2.
- 85 days. Veronica is the finest variety we have seen, with very symmetrical, absolutely lovely lime-green heads topped by tightly beaded, pointed domes. Excellent raw or cooked, it boasts a milder, sweeter flavor than white Cauliflower, to say nothing of its appetizing visual appeal!
- Harvested on 2/22/15. 
- Experience: Eaten with Ranch dressing on 2/23/15 and it was very good.
- Plant removed from garden 3/14 - it did not look like it was going to sprout side shoots though supposedly cauliflower can have side shoots (but it's not as common as broccoli).
FRACTALS!  I probably should have blanched this one to prevent the pink tinge, but whatever.

Mustard Greens "Osaka Purple" transplanted November 2.  
- The large rounded purple leaves of this Japanese mustard are beautiful, pungent and sharp. Try placing a filet of steamed fish on top of a bed of these leaves as a substitute for wasabi. It is best planted as a cool weather crop, and can also be used as a companion plant to repel aphids. 
- Begin harvest November 30. 
- Experience: More bitter than the Red Giant - also has more aphids than the Red Giant. 
- Plant stump removed from garden 3/14.
Close Up

Cauliflower "Graffiti" transplanted November 2.
- 80 days from setting out transplants. Easily the darkest and "truest" of the purple cauliflowers. This widely adapted, vigorous variety sets large heads of deep purple that keep their color even after cooking (reaching a shade of mauve). These heavy, well-packed heads intensify their shade of violet with exposure to sun, and need less wrapper protection than most others. They make a splendid fall crop, but are also suitable for spring. Highly resistant to downy mildew, they can withstand rainy and humid climates far easier than older varieties. And they just look spectacular! 
- Experience: 3/14 - the head isn't much bigger than what it was in February - I blame the late freeze we had.
- Harvested 3/29 - harvested the head (was maybe navel orange sized) and ate in Mac and Cheese.
Mid February - a head is just starting to form

Brussels Sprouts "Nautic" transplanted November 2.  
- Nautic's sprouts are medium-sized and have excellent taste. Plant is bigger than Diablo and has a higher yield potential, especially in areas with a cool fall. Excellent cold tolerance. For late fall harvest. 
- Experience: The plant has finally gotten taller, but the brussels are maybe fingernail sized as of 4/12/15
I'm pretty sure this is supposed to be tall and not the silly squat plant that it is...

Broccoli "Marathon" transplanted November 2.  
- This late variety is highly tolerant to cold. Grown successfully in the Northeast for late summer and fall crops, and over the winter in Florida and California.  
- Harvested main head on 2/16/15.  Used in mac n' cheese and it was very good. As of 3/14, this plant has some very good side shoots going which will be harvested shortly.  
- Harvested side shoots and removed from garden on 3/25/15
Head starting to form as of January 23.
Side view

Lettuce "Merlot" transplanted November 2.
- 55 days. (Also known as “Galactic.”) Reputed to be absolutely the darkest red lettuce in existence, which should make it tops for anthocyanin (anti-oxidant) content as well! Leaf lettuce with wavy to frilly leaf margins and very crisp, waxy leaves! Excellent bolt resistance, and good cold tolerance for a late fall to winter crop. Recommended as a cutting type for baby greens production or cut-and-come-again harvesting. We feel, along with our friend William Woys Weaver, that this variety is destined to become a classic, and it certainly deserves it!
- Begin harvest November 30. 
- Experience: My favorite of the lettuces this year. By mid-Feb, this lettuce has started to bolt - the least bitter of the lettuces at this point.
- Plant removed from the garden 3/14

Lettuce "Flashy Trout" transplanted November 2.
- 55 days. This beautiful variety steals all the attention in the salad garden. In Europe, this Austrian heirloom is called Forellenschluss romaine and is one of the most prized of all varieties. A dark green leaved romaine splashed with wine-red speckles. Imagine dipping a paintbrush in red paint and giving it a hard shake onto your romaine lettuce. You've got the picture. Your taste buds will like it too, for its rich buttery flavor.
- Begin harvest November 30. 
- Experience: The older leaves are bitter.  The last salad we had only used the older leaves, so I'll need to try some of the baby leaves to see if it's not bitter.  By mid-Feb, this lettuce has bolted and the leaves are all bitter.
- Plant removed from the garden 3/14
Close up

Side view.  Again, it looks funny because I harvest from the bottom of the plant.

Cauliflower "Snow Crown" transplanted November 2.
- 50-60 days. Snow Crown is always mild and sweet. Its hybrid vigor and rapid growth make it one of the easiest to grow of all early cauliflower varieties. It forms fully domed curds in heads 7-8 inches across, weighing 1-2 pounds. This variety maintains its prime eating quality for up to 10 days in the garden. May manifest a delicate pink blush when maturing in the hotter parts of summer.
- Harvested on 2/16/15 - it was what is known as "loose" by the time I pulled it - I should have probably cut it off on like the 12th.  I used it in mac n' cheese and it was very good.
- Plant removed from ground 3/14 - it did not look like it was even thinking of forming side shoots.

Garlic "White" planted October 12 (west bed).
- Large, plump soft-neck bulbs have papery skins and plenty of creamy white cloves bursting with excellent spicy-hot flavor. Easy to grow, very productive, adaptable to any climate.
- Experience: Still in the garden as of April 12, 2015.
Store-bought garlic just can't compare! Large, plump softneck bulbs have papery skins and plenty of creamy-white cloves bursting with excellent, spicy-hot flavor. Easy to grow, very productive, adaptable to any climate. Cultivate and store as you would onions. - See more at: http://www.gurneys.com/product/california_white_garlic#sthash.00H6vCVB.dpuf
Store-bought garlic just can't compare! Large, plump softneck bulbs have papery skins and plenty of creamy-white cloves bursting with excellent, spicy-hot flavor. Easy to grow, very productive, adaptable to any climate. Cultivate and store as you would onions. - See more at: http://www.gurneys.com/product/california_white_garlic#sthash.00H6vCVB.dpuf

Garlic "Inchelium" planted October 12 (east bed).
- Mid-season. Inchelium Red is a national taste-test winner in the softneck division. This mild flavored garlic is great baked and blended with mashed potatoes. This large, top-quality softneck was discovered on the Colville Indian Reservation in northern Washington. Stores very well for 6-9 months.
- Experience: Still in the garden as of April 12, 2015 - the plants are very large this year (apparently fish emulsion every 4 weeks or so is a good thing), but have not started showing signs of needing to be pulled.

Cauliflower "Chef's Blend" sown August 30.  Sprouted September 6.  Transplanted October 30.
- 75-120 days. This colorful mix of three varieties gives you a long harvest period from 75 to 120 days. ‘Snowball Y’, an heirloom variety from 1947, has tight white heads on dwarf plants. ‘Green Macerata’ is a delicious green Italian heirloom. ‘Purple of Sicily’ is also an Italian heirloom with bright purple heads and mild flavor. Healthful minerals give it the purple color, which turns green when cooked. We recommend a late summer planting with fall harvest for best results. 
- Experience: The Snowball one pictured below was removed from the garden 3/14 - the head that had formed became rotten because of the late freeze and copious amount of rain we got. 3/29 - harvested the other head (must have been Snowball as well since it was white).  Head was pretty small, but already falling apart. Ate in Mac and Cheese.
- Removed both plants by 3/29
Must be the Snowball variety.

Swiss Chard "Silver Rib" sown August 30.  Sprouted September 6. Transplanted October 30.
- Selected by discerning Italian cooks for its clean mellow flavor, these handsome vigorous plants have wide, silvery mid-ribs and crinkly, broad, deep green leaves.
- Experience: I grow chard because I have seeds for it.  I don't use it for anything (though I probably ought to).  As of April 12, 2015, the plants are still in the garden.
Still pretty little in mid-February

Mustard Greens "Red Giant" sown August 30. Sprouted September 6. Transplanted October 30.
- 40 days (mature) or 20 days (baby greens). Red Giant is a brilliant maroon with deep green midribs, so showy you may just have to plant two crops. These leaves are slightly textured for a better bite and good holding power. The flavor is zesty and full, with a good bite that you just can't find in store-bought mustard greens. And because you pick this mustard leaf by leaf for eating (instead of uprooting the entire plant, as you do for head lettuce), you can enjoy the fine display of color for many weeks! Frost just improves the flavor and color.
- Begin harvest November 30.
- Experience:  I like the flavor better than the Osaka Purple.  Shawn likes to use a leaf on his sandwiches. 4/10 - Most of the leaves are gone - I'm using it as a trap plant for the snails and roly polys at this point.

in Mid December

In mid February

Friday, April 10, 2015


I have somehow managed to keep my tillandsias alive by putting some wine corks in a glass jar, placing the tillandsia on top, and then adding a little water in the bottom of the jar - when the water has evaporated, I add a little more.  I'm actually a little impressed I've managed to keep 2 of the 3 I got alive since I've never had these before.  Now if only I could get them to bloom...

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Greenwood Cemetery

Fact: There's a cemetery at the north end of the west runway at ABIA.

Every Sunday, I drive by this cemetery and finally decided to stop in and have a look around.

Apparently these were popular because there were many headstones like this - a sandwich plate set up where the bolt holding everything together had rusted away thus spilling the letters and dates every which way.

Of course, being by the airport means that there's an airplane taking off with some regularity (about every 15 minutes or so when the wind is from the right direction).

Broken head stone

The muscari (aka grape hyacinth) was naturalizing all over the place.

I'm used to seeing this flower in white (and there were plenty), so having a pink version was pretty nifty.

Waiting for an airplane

More naturalizing muscari - the cemetery irises will probably bloom a in a few weeks - they are wee things (I bet they got mowed over earlier this year and are recovering).

I'll have to make some visits throughout the year just to see how things change through the seasons, as well as take my actual camera and get some photo practice in.

Findagrave.com has a large database of tombstones in cemeteries in case you want to do some research for your family tree or something.

Austin Genealogical Society also has some Austin area cemetery photos/listings.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015


Time to clean up ye olde cacti/succulent pots. I think my gardening goals for the year are going to include researching all the cacti and succulents I have in pots and figuring out which ones need to be brought in for the winter and which ones don't. I realize I totally could just leave them all out and if they make it, they make it, and if they don't, they don't, but I should at least probably AIM to do some research to know what I have in which pots. And don't you worry - I have SO MANY MORE POTS than what's shown here.

I think I'm beginning to have a Pot problem...

I did go to college at the University of Colorado, afterall.

One of my hooter pots

XTERRA cactus in the small blue pot (picked up during my husband's first ever XTERRA triathlon)

Table vignette after everything was cleaned up and trimmed back.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Garden Journaling

Probably meant more for ornamental plants, but whatever.  Also, I think I'm going to find this quicker than blogging which requires planning and editing and photo taking, etc.

The cover