Friday, December 26, 2008

Farmer's Almanac

Bond got me a Farmer's Almanac this year for Christmas (she also got one for each of the Gardeners at the office). Now I can plan everything based on the phase of the moon.

So...I have to start building my new garden either this weekend, 23-25 of Jan, or 19-21 of Feb.

And then plant stuff the 5-6 and 14-15 and 24-25 of March. Of course, these planting dates don't necessarily coincide with the other table you're supposed to consult--the table of best dates to plant specific crops. I guess that gives them an out--"Oh your tomatoes didn't do well this year, and you planted based on the Outdoor Planting Table--you should have followed the Moon's Astrological Place Table." Or I guess the other way we could read this, it means that this spring is not going to be so great for sweet corn, cucumbers, eggplants, pumpkins, and tomatoes (sorry Bonnie!)

Meh. I just hope this year is better than last year for growing stuff--a whole 4 peppers from the entire 2 seasons (spring and fall) of gardening.

Speaking of growing stuff. The spinach and carrots seem to be doing well in their containers. The strawberries are keeping on keeping on. But I don't see any flowers or anything...which is fine because they're not supposed to flower until January or so anyways.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Upcoming Garden Events

Green Garden Festival: Feb 22, 2009 Zilker Gardens 12-4 “The City of Austin and non-profit organizations will have booths and talks to answer your questions on environmentally sound landscaping. There will be a special focus on trees and kids booths galore! Come Join the fun!

Wildflower Center Plant Sale: April 10-12, 2009 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center "Members’ Only Sale, 1 to 7 p.m. Friday, April 10 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, April 11 and 12 The best selection of native wildflowers, trees and shrubs; expert gardeners on hand."

Wildflower Center Luminaria Display

Shawn and I went to the Wildflower Center Luminaria display last weekend. Obviously when it's dark out you don't see much by way of the plants that they have there. But still, it's a very nice event. We plan on going again next year, but we'll take the DSLR instead of my little point and shoot.

View from the tower

Okay, so it's not a Luminaria, but pretty nonetheless. I really enjoy how the Texans decorate the trees like this. I don't remember seeing trees done like this in Colorado.

Monday, December 15, 2008


It is cold. Very, very cold. That is all.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I guess it 'snowed' here last night.

You see, I just have a hard time calling it snow when it feels more like nano-ice-pellets to me. But then, I'm used to the big fluffy flakes--like the ones you see during blizzards.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Crappy Weather Warning

In case you didn't already know, we're supposed to have freezing rain tonight. With a chance for Snow.

Now then, I don't quite believe the snow, but I do believe the freezing rain. Because it's doing it right now.

I decided I didn't want to deal with covering all the plants, so I went and pulled all my peppers off the pepper plant, and the other plants will fend for themselves.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Freeze Warning

Fair warning everyone:

looks like there's a good chance for a freeze up here in the 78750 zip code. My thermometers are already reading at 39* outside.

NWS and WUnderground are predicting temps below 32 while The Weather Channel is predicting that it will only get down to 39. HAHAHAHAHA.


apparently Venus and Jupiter appear to be "close to the moon". In other words, now's a good viewing time. Jupiter should be the duller of the two 'stars' (the one closest to the right edge of the photo).

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A small amount of rain, and why I didn't know about it

So. This morning, I woke up, looked out the window and said to myself "hey, it looks like Cammie's gate is wet. Sweet! that means it rained!"

I then got up, got dressed and skeedaddled outside to see how much rain we got. That was when I realized that the tarp, (which had previously been sitting in the rock area, and was subsequently blown to our fence during last saturday's wind storm) had blown over to, and was covering my rain gage.


I also spread some wildflower seeds about this afternoon (of course I don't know how many of them will germinate since what I used was the dregs of the seeds we gave out at our wedding...that was 3 years ago).

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Bloom Day - From earlier in the month and One Day Late

So, as mentioned in my last post, the wind on Saturday was horrendous. Aside from blowing the flowers all over and making it difficult to take a photo, it also was cold. And despite having grown up in Colorado, I can't stand the cold--as soon as the temps drop below 75, I'm wearing pants, once it's cooler than 70, I'm wearing long sleeved shirts. So, because of the wind, and the cold, I would have had to get dooded up in a snow suit in order to brave going out.

The spinach is taking off in it's various planters. The strawberry is keeping on keeping on. and the carrots finally started sprouting--I did have to cover that planter with some of my green plastic mesh stuff to keep the squirrels out of digging in it. At this time of year you really have to be on top of those buggers and their need to bury all of their nuts for the winter. Of course, you run into the same problem but in reverse during the spring.

Anyhow, here are some photos of stuff that's bloomed over the last month or so.

Spiderweb (Nov 1st)

Turk's Cap (Nov. 1st). Before planting.

Yellow Snap Dragon (Nov. 1st). Before planting.

Lantana (Nov. 16th)

Lupine (Bluebonnets). Nov 16th. I like the bottom picture better, but my husband likes the top one better. Thus why you get to see both. This plant isn't blooming, but it is doing pretty good in the planters.

Cyclamen in the shade garden (Nov. 16th). This is the only plant that is showing it's full potential after the wind storm yesterday. Despite what it looks like, this photo hasn't been touched up aside from scaling the image down so it would fit better on the blog.

Rain and Weather

Rained on Tuesday. I checked the gage on Thursday and there was a quarter the plants actually probably got a little more than a quarter inch because of evaporation.

On Friday night and all day Saturday the wind was blowing with a vengeance. It made it too difficult to take pictures of flowers for Bloom Day, plus it did quite a number on whatever flowers were blooming.

I must not have been watering the pansies enough because you'd never know I planted 30 of them in the front berm area. I did, however, learn while planting them that both the berm and the area by the Shumard Oak need to have good soil added to them as what's there is complete and utter crap. This probably explains why only a few plants ever do any good in either of those locations.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Operation: Planted

I planted the rest of my plants yesterday. The Turk's Cap bushes were split--one is in the 'upper garden' the other is in the 'lower garden'. This only happened because Shawn was worried that they'll get big enough to take over the stepping stones, so the original idea I had of planting one close to the stepping stones was nixed.

I managed to plant the entire flat of pansies and they're in the front yard--a couple plants by the tree, and the rest in the berm area.

I did 3 pots of flowers and put them next to the pepper plant (hoping that the bright flowers will attract the bees and possibly, maybe, hopefully, pollinate some of the pepper flowers).

Speaking of the pepper plants! I checked yesterday and noticed 3 little peppers on one them. FINALLY! I was worried that I was going to end up with nothing to show for this last growing season.

On a completely different note, I've noticed that MSS at Zanthan reads at least one of the same blogs I do--Svensto. I find this odd if only because it is a blog that has nothing to do with gardening and I actually found it through the blogwriter's granddaughter's (I think, it's either her granddaughter or great-granddaughter) website (The Daily Coyote).

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Fall Gardening

I got the gardening bug today. Okay, not really the 'gardening' bug as much as the 'container planting' bug.

I went to the Red Barn, mostly because it's closest and it's not Home Depot and got 2 bags of Lady Bug Garden Soil, 2 small Turk's Cap plants, a cyclamen, a flat of pansies (I don't know where I'm going to plant that many pansies), 2 snap dragon plants, 3 strawberries, a 6-pack of spinach, carrot seeds and a 6-pack of maroon bluebonnets.

I've already got the strawberries and 2 of the spinach plants in a planter, and I put the snap dragons, a bluebonnet and a pansy in another planter.

I plan on drilling holes in the bottom of one of those plastic cat litter buckets and planting carrots and 2 more spinach in that. (I'll wash it out first, of course)

And I'll probably put the remaining spinach and some of the bluebonnets and pansies in another planter.

The Turk's Cap is meant to go in the "shade garden" otherwise known as "the dirt patch where nothing grows because of lack of sun", as is the cyclamen. I think I'll put the cyclamen in a planter though and put it over in the shade area, mostly because I doubt it's in any way cold hardy. I'll probably also totally baby the Turk's Cap this winter to give it a better chance of making it through.

And yes I know it's totally the wrong season to be planting some of this stuff (the bluebonnets, turk's cap and probably the cyclamen), but when I get in these moods, I just can't help it. And so, I baby the plants through the winter instead of just waiting until the spring to plant them.

Trees take two

Sorry for the lack of blogging, but I quite honestly have not been working in my garden at all. But that is mostly because I was gone for 2 of the last 4 weeks, and one of the weekends was completely ruined by having to stain the deck (This homeownership thing sucks).

Today Ross came to my office bearing three Longleaf Pine tree saplings (he got them from a friend's wedding). He did warn me that these trees don't grow here in Austin, but that I was more than welcome to take a tree or two. I went ahead and grabbed two of the saplings. Now I just gotta find a place to plant them...

I actually may plant them in some planters first--especially since they look like tufts of decorative grass.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


No, my tomato plants did not do well. I finally pulled them out about a week ago (they were attacked by leaf miners). But it just makes me so sad to see my Mom's and her neighbor's plants growing 6' tall and covered in tomatoes.

of course, they are in Colorado, not Texas, so they had a much better growing season for the tomatoes this year. And from back when I had a garden here, I do remember that you either had a 'squash year' or a 'tomato year' meaning that either your squash plants did awesome and the tomatoes sucked, or vice versa. And I know Austin has that, too. The only difference was that in Colorado it almost seemed that you could predict at planting time if it was going to be squash or tomatoes. Which probably means it has something to do with it being a hot summer, or a cooler summer.

And of course the problem in Austin is that it's ALWAYS a hot summer.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Fall Gardens 101: From the Master Gardeners themselves

As promised, I went to the Master Gardeners' free seminar on Fall Veggie Gardens. It was a grand ole time! there were a TON of people there.

But on to what's important! The things they recommend growing down here in the fall (you know, to basically hold the hands of those of us who thought we knew what we were doing at one time, but obviously don't)...

Get a soil test done. Central Texas soils tend to be higher in Phosphorous (which means that you should choose fertilizers with a low middle number)

If you plant Broccoli, Cauliflower or Turnips, do not plant these in the same spot every year. Even if you switch between Broccoli and Cauliflower, do not plant them where you planted the other type the year before.

Things to plant now:
Asparagus (it's a 3 year plant so make sure you really want it),
broccoli (stagger them, otherwise you'll be eating nothing but broccoli for a week),
cauliflower (when you notice a head growing, gently pull the leaves around it up and over the head and clothes pin them in place--this keeps the head white, otherwise it will turn an off-white color),
garlic (hardneck is recommended, when the leaves turn yellow, that's when they're ready to be pulled),
onions (transplants--look for the pencil thin transplants, when the leaves fall over, it's time to pull them up),
peas (sugar snap is recommended. Plant some now and some in January)
swiss chard,

use a soil innoculant for peas and beans

Potatoes: plant in the middle of Feb, and harvest in May. Since potatoes need soil to be added to the plant every week or so, it's easiest to get some bushel baskets, cut the bottoms out, place on the soil and plant a potato at the bottom. As the plant grows, add soil to the basket. When it's time to harvest, just pull up the basket and the potatoes fall right out.

General tips: harvest veggies in the AM and rinse before storing. Use bug and disease resistant varieties, don't water at night, rotate crops, destroy diseased plants (don't compost), and floating row covers are your friend.

Spider mites and aphids are going to be a problem always. get rid of them with a strong burst of water.

Peppers should be starting to do better now with the slightly cooler temps

Tomatoes shut down when night temperatures are above 74.

Spring planting is generally in March and fall planting is generally in September/October

For Strawberries, the crown needs to be above the soil. Grow them as annuals. susceptible to spider mites. plant in October and pinch off blooms until December/January. 30 days from bloom to fruit. Cover during freezes. Use mulch and cover with black plastic.

For rhubarb, the variety that grows down here is a green variety by the name of "Victory" (so it won't be the red that most people think of when they think 'rhubarb'). It is truely a cold weather plant as it will 'burn off' in the summer.

Swiss Chard grows year round and you can cut a couple of leaves off to eat and it will continue to grow for a couple of years. Remove the plant when it starts looking bad, but it should last a couple of years.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Bloom Day

It's not that I dislike bloom day or anything. It's just more like nothing is blooming on bloom day.

last month it was too hot and there was no rain. This month it's because Ike blew all the blooms off my plants.

But next month. I can feel it. SOMETHING must be blooming on October 15th...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Scarlet Sage

And they're still blooming. Though not much anymore...hopefully they'll start blooming again after Ike hits and dumps some rain on us. Predictions this afternoon were for 3" over 2 days. Woot! Thank God I'm not on call this weekend!

(also, for whatever reason the small picture looks like crap, the big picture is much nicer.)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Monday, September 1, 2008

Fall Garden

It seems Shawn has agreed to help me with my new endeavor for a garden along the north fence. The biggest problem we have is that this area is lower than the rest of the yard--the yard is fairly flat, but for whatever reason, about 5 feet from the fence it starts to drop off. This, of course, will need to be rectified. I just want to do simple wood framed raised beds, but Shawn has a thing for rock lined raised beds...I don't know, maybe it's some sort of "I man, AR-AR-AR" type thing that he feels the need to haul rocks everywhere.

Anyhow, this will be a fairly large project, and the deck really really needs to be stained before we do a new garden, and since its just so hot outside, it may have to wait until the end of October. (We are taking 2 vacations, each a week long and about 2 weeks apart. Since I feel so bad about asking our neighbor to cat sit as it is, I'd feel horrible asking her to water the plants so they didn't die. So I just won't have anything that needs watering.)

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Plans for next year

or maybe this fall, I"m not sure. I have decided that I need the Garden Guide for Austin and Vicinity, though. I think I also may attempt to go to the Free Seminar: Vegetables for Cooler Times, Wenesday Sept 17, 7-9pm Zilker Botanical Gardens.

Anyhow, as I said Plans for next year (and this, of course, is a hold over from living in Colorado--I still think of gardening as a spring/summer thing and it's really not):

1. Some sort of squash. Shawn says "Butternut". Which of course, I've never had. Nor do I know how well it grows down here.

2. Potatoes. Once again, I have no idea what grows here, and what doesn't. So I'll have to do my research. But seeing as how the Red La Sodas are the ones they keep giving us through Farm to Work, I'm guessing they grow here.

3. More tomatoes (will I never learn?)

4. Peppers. I think I'll try to mix in a Bell variety (Shawn won't be happy) and some spicier peppers--I think I'm done with the weird varieties--they just don't seem to do well. Maybe a nice Serrano.

5. More cantaloupe and watermelon. Eventually I'll find a watermelon that actually grows for me.

6. Carrots. Again, this is something that always gets eaten by something. As do my lima bean plants.

Also, I just went out and looked at the yard again. For the fall/winter garden, I think I'll have to create a new one along our north fence. Actually, this is where I wanted to put our normal garden, but since the fence was old, we decided it would suck to put in a garden, and THEN decide to replace it, so we waited. And our neighbor was nice enough to replace the fence last fall. This of course, opens up the possibility of turning our normal garden (in which nothing grows because it gets too much shade) into a flower garden. I think I like that idea.

Also, I still need to look into possibly getting some of those Earth Boxes (or creating my own). I have a feeling that tomatoes and other water hog plants will do better in those.

Boggy Creek Farm

So, I FINALLY went to the Boggy Creek Farm today.

I've been on their mailing list for a while, but had never gone out there. I told my Mother In Law about it approximately 8 months ago, and she said that when she comes out here next, she wants to go there. I decided it would be best to actually, you know, go to the place BEFORE she actually comes out.

Anyhow, today was the day we finally went. Every other time I've suggested it, Shawn's pooh-poohed the idea as I was participating in the Farm to Work program and was picking up fresh veggies every other week. I finally got bored with all the summer squash and okra, so I stopped ordering--at least until they start having something other than summer squash and okra. This of course means that we don't have any fresh veggies in the house.

At Boggy Creek Farms we picked up a green eggplant (a type that neither of us has ever had before), a head of garlic, 2 potatoes, a pound of ground bison, and a 2 oz bag of Larry's Smoke Dried Tomatoes. Our grand total was $29.04. Of course, the Smoked Tomatoes and Bison ended up being $17 of that $29. And the price would have been higher if Shawn had let me get the Chevre and Goat's Milk IceCream like I wanted. In any case, I don't foresee Shawn complaining about the price of the Farm to Work stuff for a while.

And, as a total plus, BCF has chickens everywhere. They've got chicks right now and they are so friggin' adorable. I especially liked the little yellow ones that had the ittiest-bittiest combs you ever saw.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Bush Tree Thing

This is the bush tree that I keep referring to (close up to show the leaves):
I don't know what it is, but it has purple azalea like flowers in the spring. The problem I have with it is that it gets VERY sparse looking in the summer. Plus, it's just out of frame on the picture of where the tree used to be...which means that we start running into the problem of getting a new tree planted in the back yard when we really don't have any space. I say kill it off, the husband says keep it.

The Tree has been removed

It was actually removed on Tuesday of this week--As mentioned earlier, the arborist came (Andy Johnson from Central Texas Tree Care), and said that our tree was at emergency status and needed to be removed ASAP. This part didn't surprise me. In fact, the only reason I thought there was something wrong with the tree in the first place was because our cat refused to climb it or sit in her 'hidey hole' (one of the 90* crooks created a cat sized area where she could sit and be mostly hidden, but still be able to survey the yard). Funny little beasties.

We didn't have the stump removed, but that was because we didnt' see how they'd get the equipment into our backyard. So now I guess it's a sit and wait game for the stump to deteriorate. I wonder if Solarizing does anything for getting rid of tree stumps...

Overall it was cheaper than I expected (I was expecting it to be over $500 because the tree was in such a weird spot)...the final price was $450 and that included pruning all other trees on the property.

Fist raised to the heavens

It rained. Some more. Which only sucks because I'm on call for rainstorms this weekend. The rain caused me to call my other coworker who is on call to ask her stupid questions.

stupid weather.

Got a shade over an inch.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Storm Comparison

You'd think this would be easier to find than it is....

For Colorado (From NOAA Atlas 2):
  • 2-yr storm: 0.71" in 1 hour, or 0.83" in 2 hours, or 0.91" in 3 hours, or 1.05" in 6 hours, or 1.58" in 24 hours
  • 5-yr storm: 1.38" in 6 hours or 1.99" in 24 hours
  • 10-yr storm: 1.59" in 6 hours or 2.27" in 24 hours
  • 25-yr storm: 1.90" in 6 hours or 2.65" in 24 hours
  • 50-yr storm: 2.19" in 6 hours or 2.95" in 24 hours
  • 100-yr storm: 1.86" in 1 hour, or 2.39" in 6 hours, or 3.35" in 24 hours

For East half of Texas (SCS type III, Can be found in City of Austin DCM):
  • 2-yr storm: 1.72" in 1 hour, or 2.16" in 2 hours, or 2.32" in 3 hours, or 2.67" in 6 hours, or 3.44" in 24 hours
  • 5-yr storm: 3.56" in 6 hours or 4.99" in 24 hours
  • 10-yr storm: 4.21" in 6 hours or 6.10" in 24 hours
  • 25-yr storm: 5.14" in 6 hours or 7.64" in 24 hours
  • 50-yr storm: 5.94" in 6 hours or 8.87" in 24 hours
  • 100-yr storm: 4.37" in 1 hour, or 6.85" in 6 hours, or 10.20" in 24 hours

You'll notice that a Colorado 100-year storm is roughly equivalent to a Texas 2-year storm. This explains why when I moved down here, it would rain and I would worry that someone was going to come by and tell me it was time to evacuate.

Even more Rain

And another 1.25" during the day on Friday.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

more rain

another .25" today.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Colorado Rain

The front from Colorado finally blew in (after it dumped quite a bit of rain up there--it was something like they were 5" behind for the year and after the month of storms they've had, they're now like 7" ahead or so they say...perhaps I have those number flipped. but whatever).

We got 1" on Tuesday day (and 0.79" of that fell in one hour...or so that's what the gage at the elementary school was reporting), and then another 0.75" over night.

which is wonderful...just as long as it doesn't rain on the weekend. I'm on call and we have to have priorities obviously.

Monday, August 18, 2008


So, the tree in the back yard that I posted about last week is indeed dying. It is being eaten by carpenter ants, and the arborist dude is coming back tomorrow morning with his crew to remove the tree. It's apparently at 'emergency status' right now because of the crack.

Shawn asked what he would recommend for a replacement tree and his suggestions included Chinquapin oak and Mexican plum...of course I was hoping for something that didn't drop fruit. But to be fair, he was giving Shawn recommendations based off of us keeping whatever the bush-type-thing is in the backyard.

The arborist also walked around the house and told Shawn what all the other trees were on the property. So we've got Red Tip Photina, Dwarf Crepe Myrtle, Shumard Oak, Chinese Pistachio, Bradford Pear, and 2 Arizona Ash (one of which will be removed). He also told shawn what the bush-type-thing was, but of course he didn't remember it. This is because he doesn't really care what plants we've got in the yard whereas I do.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Good news, the arborist is coming on Monday to look at the tree. I already warned them that it would likely need to be removed, but we'll see what he says.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Watermelon Cantaloupe, Round 2

Round two for the cantaloupe and watermelon. I don't hold out much hope. Though I do highly recommend the little peat pots. Mostly because they cut down on the whole disturbing the root system thing AND you can put seedlings in the ground instead of seeds...which seem to get eaten alive out here.

Texas Mountain Laurel Trees

Success! At least partially. I haven't noticed any of the original seeds having come up, but I obtained some more seeds and planted them in a little plant doohickey and one in the spot where the dwarf maple used to be. I've got the sticks around it to A) indicate where I planted the seed, and B) to keep my cat from ripping it out of the ground accidentally while she digs cat holes.

Grapefruit trees and Basil Plants

with my anti-squirrel device on the grapefruit (stupid animals keep digging in my plants and uprooting them.

Big Tree, oh noes!

One of the large trees in the backyard is dying.

We've known it for a while, but were trying to ignore it. We can't ignore it anymore. Mostly because it appears termites are eating the tree...which normally wouldn't be too big of a deal...except that the tree in question is the one that LEANS. I guess I should explain--the tree leans...or so it appears because the previous owners cut off one of the large branches thus causing the tree to be heavy on one side, so it compensated by immediately growing branches in another direction. But of course, the trunk, by then, was permanently stuck leaning toward the deck.

Anyhow, I will be contacting some arborists tomorrow to see what their suggestion is...

Check out the pics and let me know what you think:
backside of tree

"front" side of tree

Showing how the tree leans.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Yay for Dolly!

Hurricane Dolly (tropical storm, whatever) made landfall at South Padre island last week (second to last week in July). Since we were on the "dirty" side this time, it actually meant we got some rain (last year when Rita hit, we were on the 'clean' side and so we got 105* temps, no rain, and 85% humidity, with no breeze, at all).

We didn't get a ton of rain, only maybe about an inch or so, but it was definitely a much needed inch.

Plus, it brought the temperature down, and it's actually been downright nice outside...sure, a little hot in the sun, but not bad.

Also, yesterday I transplanted my watermelon and cantaloupe plants in the back garden where I had a brandywine tomato that died.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

July Updates

Things that have died:
The watermelon plant,
The cantaloupe plant in the back yard
the tomato in the back yard
most of the parsley plants

Things that have produced fruit:
Nothing. Okay, that's a lie. The Lemon Boy tomato plant produced 2 tomatoes, but I didn't eat them because we had leaf miners and the got to the fruit too, so everything was thrown away. Plus one of the tomatoes split the day before I picked it anyhow.

Things that are still surviving:
The basil plants in a planter
The oregano plants in the back yard
The new lantana plant (though barely, and the old plants are just fine)
The tomato plants our front (since I had leaf miners all the plants got a pretty drastic pruning)
The pepper plants (one has flowers now, so hopefully there will be peppers)
Texas Mountain Laurel trees (YES!!!!)
my grapefruit trees (YES!!!!)

Next steps:
According to the Natural Gardener Garden shop, it's time to start tomato seeds again. I don't know if I'll go for it, if only because my tomato plants are currently okay...though they're not producing flowers or fruit, but still, I don't know if I want to go through the energy of starting more plants when I don't really have anywhere to put them.

Also, I started another batch of cantaloupe and watermelon seeds last week. Hopefully I can keep them alive this time.

I may eventually opt to go the route of getting some Earth Boxes instead of planting stuff in the garden. Then I'd just need to find some nice flowers to go in the garden and hopefully then I wouldn't have to spend so much time doing stuff...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

tomato pinworms

I've known it for a while, just didn't care...until all of my tomato plants were attacked. Sigh.

Monday, June 30, 2008


Oh praise the baby jesus! we had RAIN last night. A whopping 1.25" of it. Hallelujah!

The rain barrel is full again (it had been empty for the entire week and I was forced to water my plants with ACTUAL water), and the grass is already looking good because of the rain.

Not to mention that it's cloudy today so it's not 100billionty degrees out.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Too hot

it's too freaking hot right now.

the tomatoes are all stunted, the watermelon is almost dead, the peppers keep growing, but they're not flowering.

most of the native plants have gone into hibernation mode.

yep, the only thing doing well is the oregano and the parsley.

Oh, I planted some texas mountain laurel seeds. Again. And I started some basil in a planter. Of course I had to make an anti-squirrel device on the planter because those rodents will dig in anything...and I can't have them going about pulling up all the basil plants!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Operation: Rescue Lizard

So we've been working on a TV stand (which you can see stories about on my blog Here), and on Sunday, when Shawn pulled the pieces back in, there must have been a little anole lizard on one of them because when I went out to throw some trash away, there was this TINY little lizard sitting on top of one of the boards. And I mean tiny. From tip of nose to tip of tail he was no bigger than my pinky finger (about 2").

I briefly thought about getting my camera, but quickly decided against it as both of my cats were lounging in the driveway and I didn't think I'd be able to take pictures without one of them coming over to investigate. So, instead I went inside and got a glass and a piece of junk mail (I was hoping to do the whole catch it under the glass, slide the cardboard trick). Of course, things didn't go as planned. The little bugger kept running away from me (duh). and so finally I decided to set the glass down, and hope the little guy ran into it as I tried to coral him with the piece of mail. Now THAT worked. He jumped up on the glass (instead of going in it), but at least I was able to pick him up and take him over to the devil plant area without him trying to get away from me.

Thankfully neither of the cats came over to see what I was doing over in the berm, and so, now I've got another friendly garden creature eating more of those obnoxious bugs that do nothing but destroy my plants. Awesome.

Friday, June 6, 2008


As mentioned earlier, we've had nasty ultra windy weather.

And my tomatoes have the habit of pulling their cages out of the ground. Since I really, really, really didn't want to lose the Lemon Boy to the wind, I decided to get up early on Thursday the 5th and go out and engineer a better tomato cage.

I ended up just using a left over tree spike (the things you put by the trees to keep them growing straight) and stuck it in the ground near the tomato plant, then went and got some twine and tied the tomato to the spike. I also put a rock next to the spike to help make sure it stayed in place until the dirt compacts more.


Finally, a respite from the heat.

Last night we heard some thunder, but seeing as how it was insanely windy and likely we weren't going to get any rain, we figured we wouldn't see anything. When I woke up this morning, the roads/sidewalks/driveways were wet and there was rain water coming off the roof.

The only problem is it seems like all the rain happened in the front yard, and we just got a dusting in the back yard. In any case, there wasn't much rain at all--maybe about a tenth of an inch.

But still, it made it so the temp only got up to 90.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Today, while I was doing my daily check of the plants, I noticed the Lemon Boy Tomato has very small tiny tomatoes on it. Yum Yum.

Also, on a sad note, my husband ran over one of my watermelon plants with the lawn mower. He told me it was a run-away lawn mower accident. I'm not sure if I believe him. :)

It has not rained, and it doesn't look like we'll get any appreciable rain in the near future. It's also been very hot and very windy. Sigh...last year we had too much rain, this year not enough. Why can't we just have perfect weather?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Blanket Flower

Seemingly only difference between Blanket Flower and Indian Blanket? Blanket Flower has a yellow center...well, that and this whole perennial vs annual thing

Chicks Dig Scars

Finally got a picture of an anole inflating his dewlap. This picture was taken about a week after the last picture, and I question if it's the same anole. Watches me, but isn't overly concerned about me and is willing to hang around while I figure out my camera, most anoles are like leprechauns--you blink and they're gone.

Also, I see this picture, and for whatever reason I get that "It's tough out here for a pimp" song stuck in my head. I think it's because this guy has a scar that goes across his 'nose' and causes a perma-sneer.

Hello down there!

This little guy (actually, he's one of the bigger Anoles I've seen) was watching me and the cat (I.V.) from his perch atop the trellis.

Bad Weather...just the other way around

We haven't had rain in the past week or so, and of course it's been mighty toasty out there (as Lee says "[We're] in the great frying pan that is Austin, Tx"

I've been watering the pepper plants every day. But I still claim I have to water them because the wind and the heat is too much for them, if it were just the heat I'd probably leave them alone. I've also been watering the watermelon in the front berm--that one has been getting crispy around the edges. I've also been watering the Lemon Boy plant every day because the leaves are all wilty...but they've always been wilty, so I'm beginning to think it's just the way the plant likes to look.

Of course, at this time last year, we had spiders everywhere, but with the lack of rain, it seems we have lizards everywhere instead. Pictures to come soon...oh trust me, I got some gems.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Bad Weather

I know, I'm a little late in posting this...

On May 14 we had our first real scare with bad weather (Tornadoes, hail, torrential rain, wind). Or at least, we were supposed to. There was a funnel cloud confirmed in Lago Vista, and a possible funnel in the 620/183 area. We did not get any wind, nor did we get any hail. We did, however, get to sit on our bathroom floor for 30 minutes while the neighborhood tornado siren went off.

After that whole debacle, we ultimately got 0.7" of rain according to our rain gage.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


0.7" rain on Sunday to Monday...

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Common Google Searches

So, since I have sitemeter, I can see what the more common searches are that bring people to my page (and furthermore how long they STAYED on my page reading stuff).

Today, those search terms were:

Austin Organic Gardening:
I don't think I've ever specifically said that I am an organic gardener, but I like trying to be. I do have Azalea and Rose fertilizer, but that was because I was going to do a grand science experiment and plant a couple of hydrangeas then fertilize each one with a different fertilizer to try to get one pink, one blue. But, I killed my hydrangeas before I even got them in the ground, so I gave up. But I still have the unopened fertilizers (even though there is a rose bush out front...but I honestly am trying to kill that one off because I don't like it).

Last year I bought all of my plants from Walmart, and I wouldn't say that they were organic, but once I planted them in the ground, we only used organic practices--so the plants only got fertilized with our Compost and Compost Tea. I also try to only use the water in the rain barrel, though of course, that is highly dependent on how much rain we get. This year I only have one transplanted plant (a Lemon Boy tomato from The Red Barn garden center that I got for free through their coupons), and the rest I grew from seed in recycled-from-last-year-plastic-pots as well as those little peat pots.

Orange Fogo Thai Peppers:
Yes, I have planted some of these. I planted 4 of the Orange Fogos and 4 of the Red Demons. Since I transplanted them, 4 of the plants have died off. However, if I remember correctly, I did a kitty-corner style planting with them, so really I should now have 2 orange fogo and 2 red demon. But, I don't know which pepper plant is which. Don't worry, I'm sure I'll figure it out when they start growing peppers. Also, all the plants are approximately 1" high. Hey, at least they're still alive.

Growing Avocado Trees in Austin:
I have this in a pot at work. Where it inexplicably flourishes. It currently has crispy spots on some of the leaves, but that is because they were the leaves that were touching the window a while back--the tree was starting to lean and I didn't have any supports, so I turned it so it leaned against the window. I transplanted it a month later and now it's got supports and everything. For whatever reason, I blogged about the Avocado Tree more on my normal blog than I did here. Anyhow, here are the pictures I took.

Asian Jasmine Austin:
This is the plant that I refer to as "Devil Weed" or "Devil Plant" This is because it does not die. Sure, there are places where it doesn't spread as much--Full Sun, and it does appear to be a very good plant for xeriscaping as I've never watered it... But seriously this plant would take over our backyard if we didn't hack it back 2 times a year. And just so you know, if you ever plant the stuff and then decide that you want to get rid of it, you never will-- You might be able to get rid of it by taking a shovel and digging the whole plant out.

When I moved down here, it became obvious that it was the cheapest groundcover the previous owners could find because there were at least 12 individual plants planted throughout the front and back yard. I decided to rip out the 2 that were planted by the crepe myrtle by our bedroom window. I spent an entire saturday out there with a trowel and tried to get every last piece. I thought I had done good until this year when I went out and found that it looks like I never even pulled the plant out...

Friday, May 2, 2008

Front Yard

Pam at Digging asked for a picture of the front yard berm area. This is actually a picture my husband took to prove to our homeowner's association that we do actually cut the grass once every week. The backside of the berm has Asian jasmine (at least, that's what I think it is), and the front part has some Easter lilies that the previous owner planted in it. (Also, the tree that looks like it's in the berm isn't, it's about 10' behind it.

We have planted Lantana plants in it; we first planted two purple plants, but one died, so I planted two white plants in it last year which have come back this year. We also have some wildflowers growing there right now too. And since this is one of the well drained areas that gets full sun, I planted some watermelon seeds out there this year.

Thursday, May 1, 2008


I decided to plant some of the grapefruit seeds we got from our fruit we bought about 3 weeks ago.

And so far, one of them has come up. Now then...give it about another 10 years...

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Variegated Fritillary Butterfly (Euptoieta claudia) on the Tickseed

Sunday, April 27, 2008

More Rain

We got another 0.8" early this morning.

This at least means that we don't have to worry about our lawn dying off...

A note about Wildflowers:

You have to be lazy.

No, seriously, be lazy. Most of them look like weeds until they bloom (see Corn Poppy). Thus, obviously, the only way you'll ever see them bloom is if you're lazy and refuse to pull them out until they bloom.

Also, some of them (see Scarlet Sage) come back from the same plant every year so you can't just pull out the dead plants--it requires that you cut them to the ground instead (actually I believe Wild Seed Farms suggest you just mow over them or use a weed whacker on them). Unfortunately for us, the area where the wildflowers are planted doesn't exactly have a lot of dirt holding all the root systems in place, so I have to go out and cut all the dead plants by hand.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Watering before the Rain

Normally I try to wait for the rain to come so I don't have to water my plants. The problem is, the predictions for rain can be totally off.

I had been trying to wait until it rained, but yesterday my plants were starting to look a little peaked, so I watered them using the water in the rain barrel.

Then, at about 9pm it started raining. hard. it even hailed a tiny bit.

Ultimately we got about 1.5" of rain in about an hour.

Well, at least my rain barrel is full again.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

And Yet MORE Flowers

Blue Cornflower
And, not really a flower, but I just couldn't help but notice how BLUE the sky looked, so I had to take a picture:
Red Tip Photina

Friday, April 11, 2008

Newest Member

Please welcome the newest member of the wildflower bunch: Corn Poppy!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

For the few of you...

who actually read this blog...I had to turn on word verification because i was getting inordinate amounts of comment spam...and I don't know why it was only on this blog...

interesting, no?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

April 8th

The day I transplant 8 pepper plants, and 6 tomato plants. Also the day I plant 4 grapefruit seeds in a plastic throwaway pot to see if they start little grapefruit trees.

April 9th is the day that my watermelon/cantaloupe seeds started showing by the water meter.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


I brought home my plants from work (or at least the ones I'm for sure planting).

It's so sad, my little tomato plants look just so tiny compared to the one I bought yesterday...

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Red Barn

Picked up my free 4" Tomato from Red Barn today (Lemon Boy), and also got a red lantana plant. All for $2.70.

Monday, March 31, 2008


I planted some Watermelon and Cantaloupe seeds yesterday. Let's see...I planted them in the area by the water meter (a new place, but for some reason I think the watermelon will do well there), in the berm-y area out front between the Lantana and the Easter Lilies, and then finally in the area just east of the Shumard Oak. This will be a grand experiment to see which seeds come up, and which don't.

Also 'planted' some more wild flower seeds. Man, I really need to get rid of those things...

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Texas Mountain Laurel

So, I've noticed in the neighborhood that there aren't many Texas Mountain Laurel trees. And I don't know why this is. Probably has something to do with the seeds being poisonous. But this is why you don't eat them.

Anyhow, I took some seeds from the tree at the HEB down the street. and then I decided to plant them around the homestead area (a couple out by the rose bush, and a couple by the composter). Who knows if they'll come up (the ones out by the composter have the best chance I think because they aren't competing with other plants, plus I was able to actually plant them in the ground).

Now I only have to wait like 5 years to be able to see anything.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

More Seeds

I bought more seeds today.

This time I got flower seeds though. Entirely for the 'shade' garden.

Columbines, Impatiens, and Coleus.

I'm not going to follow the directions of 'start indoors' because it seems like way too much work for annuals that I don't get anything from other than not having a dirt patch for a garden. So, I will sprinkle the seeds about in a few weeks. I figure I'll keep the columbine seeds where the columbines are, and the impatiens will go around the stepping stones, and therefore the coleus will go in between the two.

Also, I spoke with Pam, Baking Goddess Extraordinaire, the other day and she's starting a garden too. We're going to go halvsies on some plants and seeds because she knows she won't be able to use all the seeds in a pack, and it's cheaper to buy the 6packs than it is to buy the singleton plants. Now we just have to figure out what we each want to grow in our respective gardens this year...

Friday, March 14, 2008

Seedlings Growing

The seedlings are doing fine at work. Though they do need to beef up quite a bit before being planted in the big bad outdoor world.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Yard Work

We did yard work on Sunday the 9th. This is mostly because we couldn't work on finishing the bathroom because of a lack of mirror (Lowe's was out of the size we needed).

We mostly just sucked up the leaves in the energy dissipater (picture below...keep in mind that we need to clean it out again to get in all the nooks and crannies), and chipped the twigs and branches in the yard as well as the pineapple leaves that were laying all over the deck. The chipped items made it to the front yard garden area (which, by the way, is where the Easter Lilies are coming back...I thought I ripped them all out last year...freaking flowers). I'm guessing painting the deck will be the next project on the agenda when the bathroom is done.

Also, the wild flowers seem to be doing well. So well they're starting to take over the yard, in fact. Shawn is not happy about this turn of events, but I pointed out that he should be starting to mow again soon, and therefore he won't have to deal with the plants being in the grass since he'll just mow right over them and they'll die. At least that's the theory.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Seedlings III

Most of the seeds have germinated. In fact I had to take the cover off of the plants by Wednesday of last week (feb 6). so far so good.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Seedlings II

Pepper plants started germinating. Red Dragon germinated, not so much on the Orange Fogo...oh well, they've got until sunday to germinate in "normal time"

Monday, February 4, 2008


Tomato plant seedlings germinated. Small seedlings abound. All but one square has come up.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Seeds to be Seedlings

So I started the seeds the other day. I started the seeds in little peat pots and saved-from-last-year-plastic-plant-thingys on Sunday the 27th. I planted 8 each of the Red Dragon Peppers and Orange Fogo Peppers. and 7 Brandywine Tomatoes, 5 Marvel Tomatoes and 4 Green Zebra tomatoes.

All the plants are now in my little plastic greenhouse at work where they will most likely remain until it is time to plant all the plants at the beginning of April (or end of March).

Also. The last weekend in March is the Zilker Park Plant Festival. I haven't gone yet, but I think this may be the year.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008


So, according to the Natural Gardener's list o' things to do in January, one of the many things to do is to start the tomato seeds. So, I shall have to start this post haste.

eh, I'll just wait 'til the weekend. Besides, I don't have any potting dirt.