Sunday, May 31, 2009

Bird Netting

Today I put some bird netting (technically it's labeled as Deer Netting...but it's the same as the bird netting only it comes in 7' x 100' rolls instead of 14' x 14') around the garden to attempt to protect the ripening tomatoes from the squirrels/raccoons/random neighbors who are stealing my ripened tomatoes. So, we'll see how this works.

For an update on all the plants:
Viva Italia Tomato: Covered in tomatoes. Not very big (the plant), not many non-fruiting branches (so it looks a little airy). One ripened tomato thus far. One ripened tomato taken by wildlife. No longer flowering

Roma Tomato: Has a few tomatoes. This one was one that was damaged by the hail. One ripened tomato thus far. And it was good. it was diced and put in spaghetti sauce. Still flowering, though barely. One tomato currently ripening. This is why I put out the bird netting--I want my tomatoes, dammit.

Corno di Toro Pepper: piddly. But I did Miracle-Gro all the plants this weekend, so maybe it will get a move on.

BHN tomato: 2 tomatoes total. This one was one that was damaged by the hail. One tomato ripened thus far. One ripened tomato taken by wildlife. Currently flowering prolifically.

Cloud 9 Eggplant: 1 eggplant thus far (about 2" big). This plant has really taken off in recent weeks and is about to flower again.

Rococo Pepper: Dead. D-E-D, dead. I ripped out--roots looked fine, so I assume it was something I did (or some act of God--it did seem to go downhill very quickly when I watered the plants and then it rained 3"). I replaced it with some watermelon seeds. Which just came up so hopefully that will have better luck.

Black Krim Tomato: about 4.5' tall I would guesstimate. Has quite a few tomatoes on it--enough that even if they all are taken by wildlife this year, I will plant one again next year. No ripened tomatoes yet.

Brandywine Tomato: about 6' tall I would guesstimate. Has NO tomatoes on it. Pssh. Still flowering prolifically. Which is only stupid because it won't set fruit with temps this hot. It better do well in the fall, otherwise I'm writing this breed off.

Cayenne Pepper: It's doing alright. Hasn't flowered any since I pulled all the peppers off. but still, 3 peppers are worth it.

Thai Chili Pepper: This is a plant that I had planted last year and at the end of the season I cut the plants down instead of ripping them out--I thought they would die over the winter. Instead, all 3 plants came back--one was killed by the guys doing our roof though, and another just never seemed to do well (plus i never watered it enough). But the third one is doing very well. I think it's about to bloom too (fingers crossed).

Other things I did today: I ripped out the strawberry plants and put them in the composter, and then planted one compact Butternut and one compact Delicata squash seed in thier place. I also finally ripped out the oregano plant in the planter and am currently drying the parts that were green. I spread the remainder of my lettuce leaf basil plants in its place (but I'm guessing the basil seeds are no longer good--they are 3 years old I think.) If nothing is coming up by the middle of June, then I'll probably plant something else in there, but I don't know what...

Monday, May 25, 2009


It rained. Again. Again it was a day after I watered the garden. You'd think I'd learn by now that I need to actually look at the weather forecast instead of just watering everything willy-nilly.

And how fitting is it that the Purple Heart started blooming the day before Memorial Day?

And just 'cuz I like this photo (An inchworm on a sunflower):

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Rain amounts last weekend (May 16/17) were in the 1" range (some parts of Austin got 2"). The only sucky part was that I had just watered all the plants the day before.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Freaking A!

Stupid. Freaking. Squirrels.

Made off with another tomate-er today. The quickly ripening BHN. Only sucktackular because that was the ONLY tomato on that plant. Great. How am I supposed to know what they taste like now.

Those squirrels better be glad that I have a job and therefore can't sit outside all day in a lawn chair wearing a truckers' hat, drinking a Pabst Blue Ribbon* and shooting at them with a BB gun**.

So it looks like we'll be making a trip to pick up some bird netting and then figuring out a way to anchor it down so the squirrels don't get under it. I may also have to buy them some squirrel corn.

*I've never had a PBR, but one of my friends from college always drinks it whenever he wants to "do it up like a trailer park". His quote, not mine. I think most trailer parks are perfectly adequate.

**I've never shot a gun in my life either. BB or otherwise. At work, we keep talking about going skeet shooting though. So with a 12-gauge shotgun. It will be GLORIOUS.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

May 15: Bloom Day (One Day Late)

Of course, now that I have some time to go out and take pictures of the blooming plants, it's all rainy outside. So instead, you'll just have to make do with pictures I took earlier of the plants that are blooming and will have to wait patiently for photos of the plants that are currently blooming that weren't blooming earlier (or in some cases, wait for photos that actually look good instead of like crap).

So, here's a list of everything that's blooming right now: Tomatoes, Squash, Eggplant, Bulbine, Red Lantana, White Lantana, Volunteer Orange Lantana, Coral Honeysuckle, Parsley, Oregano, Easter Lily, White Cornflower, Volunteer Sun Flower, Asian Jasmine, Confederate Star Jasmine, and Bat-Face Cuphea.

Pictures I have of things that are blooming (or at least were blooming at the beginning of the month):

The cyclamen bloomed at the beginning of the month completely surprising me. This one is no longer blooming, though the bloom only officially fell off on Thursday. I want to know why posting these red flower photos on Blogger always makes them look like crap...

The Bat-face Cuphea started blooming at the end of April, and it's still going, though it had many more flowers earlier this month than it does now. The part that surprises me about this plant is that it's so small--the blooms are really little too, about the size of my finger tip (from the tip to the first joint)

Oh Noes!!1!! The Bat-Faced Cuphea has a tumor! It's nice to know that not even mother nature is perfect all the time.

As I said, I'll update later (probably tomorrow) with more pictures of all the other stuff that's blooming--and I'll be sure to get a wide angle photo of the front yard area because it's a mass of white flowers with an accent of the's actually kinda pretty this year--I think its because the lantana is larger and is blooming at the same time as the Easter Lilies (the Lilies just opened up yesterday as did the cornflower---I totally should have taken pictures last night, but I was too concerned about getting everything watered since everything looked of course it's raining. But I'm still grateful--the rain barrel needed to be refilled.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


So I need recommendations on how to transplant plants. More specifically what I need to do to prep for digging up the plant and then moving it to a new place in the yard. See, this is my problem:I think I can probably get through the summer having it here, but after the summer it needs to be moved to a different part of the yard.

So I guess my questions really come down to:
1. Should I move it now, or wait until after the summer?
2. What do I need to do to prep it for moving (cut back, water well, etc)?
3. And I'm also going to assume that I ought to just move it directly to where I want it to be as opposed to putting it in a pot and then transplanting it later...

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mystery Flowers

Mystery Flower #1 has turned out to be a sunflower of some sort:
Mystery Flower #2 is a Lantana plant. It has yellow flowers, and I think it didn't get enough water before they started falling off, but I think it's the Texas variety. Also, this picture is so close up because I was trying to take photos in the wind. Stupid wind. The best part about this plant is that we don't have a Texas Lantana in our yard. I've planted the purple trailing, the red Dallas, and some white variety.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Solanaceae Garden Update

Why plant a selection of plants in your garden when you can plant everything in the same family thus guaranteeing that if you have a problem with one plant, you'll have the same problem with all the plants?

Anyhow, I went out yesterday evening and noticed that there are spider mites. I've never had spider mites before. So I will start preventative measures tomorrow morning. These preventative measures are also called "strong spray of water from underneath the leaves", thus the reason for doing it tomorrow morning instead of tonight.

Also, I noticed a few leaves that were yellowing in what is possibly a spotted fashion. It may be early blight. I'm not sure. I dealt with the problem last night by pinching off the affected leaves. I will likely prune the tomato plants tomorrow morning to increase air flow. Of course I will end with the affected plant so as to minimize the transfer to another plant via clippers. Furthermore, the savior of the garden during the hail storms has now become its worst enemy (the fence prevented the golf ball sized hail from damaging the heirloom tomato plants, but it now also serves as a windbreak thus reducing airflow).

Oddly there are still no tomato hornworms. Though I think they're coming since I saw a moth fly away from the plants last night.

The one pepper plant still has aphids.

I did get 2 cayenne peppers off the pepper plant out front. And the Thai chilies surprised me by coming back from the ground this year...If they survive the summer, I'm hoping they'll give some fall peppers.

And now the before and after pictures:

Before (about a week or so after planting...a few days after the hail, thus the craptacular looking plants in the front):

Now-ish (about 2 weeks ago...So that gives about 3 weeks between pictures. Front Row from left to right: Eggplant, BHN tomato, Corno De Toro Pepper, Roma tomato. Back Row from left to right: Rococo Pepper, Black Krim tomato, Brandywine tomato, Viva Italia tomato):

We planted the tomatoes in the "organic gardeners of Austin" style; that is, we planted them as deep as possible, of course the only one that was small enough to actually somewhat adhere to the "all but the top leaves" rule was the Krim. And it has probably had the best growth there for a while. It's definitely the most robust of the tomatoes in any case.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Bloomin' Plants

Orange Bulbine (plant graciously given by an anonymous garden blogger).

Coral Honeysuckle blooms. This was the only plant I bought at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Plant Sale. I'm guessing that since it bloomed it means it's doing well.

(next post will be about the mystery plants that finally bloomed. And the post after that will be soliciting advice for transplanting one of the mystery plants. And the one after that will be about more plants blooming...who knows...maybe that one will actually coincide with a Bloom Day for once).

(Also, this is what happens when I can't read all my normal blogs during lunch at work--my blogging suffers because I have to spend the time after I'm home reading blogs instead of writing them.)

Austin Garden Bloggers Get Together

I attended the Austin Garden Bloggers Get Together last weekend. (also, does any one find it funny that says that Blogger isn't a word?) I showed up late at Jill's house as I left my house a little late (what do you mean I can't make a land-speed record and make it to downtown in 5 minutes?), and so I'm sure I missed introductions and what have you. After hanging out in Jill's yard for a while, we went on a walking tour of the immediate neighborhood, and it was during this tour that I found out just how large artichoke plants are AND how large pomegranate trees can get. Discovering this kinda actually sucks because I wanted to plant a pomegranate in the front yard but it's a bit big for the place where I wanted to put it.

After our walking tour it was off to Jenny's house to see her gardens...and quite honestly, if she'd let me I'd just take out of town guests there rather than the wildflower center. And she makes it seem so easy to have a gorgeous garden. After the explanation of how everything was done (the rockscaping part), we had snacks (courtesy of everyone) and a little raffle (courtesy of Pam). Jenny's husband, David, won the first raffle and I don't remember who won the second (Vertie maybe?), And as Pam points out in the comments, MSS won one of the raffles (and actually there were three raffles--two for books, one for a magazine). After more food and conversation, Diana recommended that because the weather was starting to turn stormy that maybe the plant swap should commence. So we all trouped around the yard to the driveway. Since I didn't bring anything to swap, I pretty much stood back and only accepted seeds that were offered (I don't know why but when people want to get rid of plants, I view it as a big money commitment from them whereas seeds are more like "I have this, but I don't want it, please take it"...which of course is only funny because all the plants are dug up from yards and the plant swap is really more like saving a plant from a compost heap). Sue and I got involved with talking about work (we both work with government entities...she for the environmental side and me not so much), and when we noticed everyone else heading off to our cars, we opted to as well. That's when Jenny asked if either of us wanted the bulbine plants sitting on the driveway. Since everyone else was leaving, Sue and I split the plants and then headed for our cars. I don't remember any one presenting/talking about the orange bulbine (I do remember someone talking about the yellow bulbine which was snapped up). So, to whichever of you garden bloggers brought the orange bulbine, thanks so much! I already planted it out in the front yard, hopefully it actually does well where I planted it. (also, please tell me if I linked to anyone incorrectly!)