Sunday, January 26, 2014

January 23, 2014 - SNOW-ISH!

So on January 23, we had, what some would call, snow.  Here, in the good ol' ATX.  It didn't amount to much (maybe a quarter to half an inch).  But it was enough to make everything a giant cluster fuck and there were like over 200 fender benders in Austin.  As such, my work was cancelled and Shawn was able to work from home so we got to stay off of the roads.  Of course, we still will go for a run on those roads (speaking of which, I should probably get that out of the way before everything re-freezes).

The hose is detached from the spigot, we just apparently don't like taking good care of our stuff - it's why we can't have nice things.

Apparently, the snow has made Quazi relive his trip to Colorado a few years ago and thus he has spent half the day holed up under blankets.  It could also be that his bed has been taken by Ivy, his mom, and under the blankets is just the next best place.
Well, there goes the plan of trying to keep the chair cat-hair and dander free.

Saturday, January 25, 2014


I went and bought some high phosphorous fertilizer (Gardenville Rocket Fuel [2-6-1]) today and spread it around the irises and rose bush.  I will have blooms this year.  I will!

January Foliage Follow Up (Delayed)

A little late, but better late than never (except when we're talking about sowing seeds out of season, naturally).

Pam at Digging started foliage follow up to highlight the various plants that hold the garden together when things aren't blooming.

I really dig my Iris bed -

The Passionvine apparently stays evergreen - who knew?

The front walk succulent bed is keeping on - though I got to say, the smell of rotting garlic from the society garlic every time it freezes is really starting to get to me.

Friday, January 24, 2014

January Bloom Day (Delayed)

So, I wonder if Carol at May Dreams Gardens expected to have many Bloom Days in January when she started this whole shindig.  Hell, I never expected to have blooms of anything other than indoor plants when I found out that bloom day was a thing.

Anyhoo, this year, I have had plants blooming in January -
The Bush Germander started blooming at the beginning of January and hasn't stopped (actually, it may have had all the blooms knocked off last night due to the SNOW!): 

The other bloomer is a plant that I JUST got at the end of December.  I didn't expect any of the succulents/cacti to bloom - and I especially didn't expect it so soon after buying them:
According to the tag, this little lady is Mammillaria weingartiana

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Carrots: Sown! Artichoke: Transplanted!

Tonight I sowed the last of my Carrots "Sunshine Mix" and transplanted my Imperial Star artichoke.

Sunshine Mix Carrots: Both (Yellowstone and Nantes Forto) of these premium European varieties taste sweet and crispy with no soapy off-flavors and you can enjoy them over a long harvest period.  From Renee's Garden Mail Order Purchase from 2009; yes, the seeds are that old.  I do not have any hopes of them coming up.  Days to emerge:  10-20.  Days to harvest:  88.  Expect baby carrot plants by Feb 4 and harvest around April 15.  I planted these in a roughly 1'x1' square in front of the Brussels Sprouts.

Imperial Star Artichoke:  To be filled in after I go look at the little tag that came with the plant. 

Season Roundup - Spring 2013

J.D.'s Special C-Tex Tomato: (Sunshine Community Garden Plant Sale, $2)
Description:  J.D Brann's cross of a black and early red that produces purple/black beefsteaks with outstanding flavor. Indeterminate. 80 days.
Planted: 3/16 in the grow box
Experience for the first half of the season:  2 tomatoes, the plant looks healthy.
Taste:  I like the flavor a lot - like I really hope I have a Krim and a JD at the same time so I can do a comparison.  The flavor is very assertively tomato - not quite smokey, but not acidic.
Experience by the end of the season:  The plant did pretty well (though not a heavy producer).  I think I will try it again in the future.

Raspberry Miracle Tomato: (Sunshine Community Garden Plant Sale, $2)
Description:  Bears large deep red fruit with delicious flavor. Up to 16 oz. Indeterminate. 80-85 days.
Planted: 3/16 in the grow box
Experience for the first half of the season:  4 tomatoes, the plant looks sickly.
Taste:  The flavor is much better than store-bought tomatoes, but it's very much a basic tomato flavor.  So basically, I'd grow it again, but I still prefer the flavor of the Krim and JD's better.
Experience by the end of the season:  Produced better than the JD's CenTex, and better than Krims, but I don't like the taste as much.

Pink Berkeley Tie Dye Tomato:  (Sunshine Community Garden Plant Sale, $2)
Description:  Unbelievable looks and flavor. Striped with port wine interior that gushed tomato flavor. Indeterminate. 75-80 days.
Planted 3/17 - there were two tomatoes in the same pot.  One planted in flower pot, one planted in the west garden bed.
Experience by the end of the season: Meh.  I liked the other tomatoes better.

Black Krim Tomato: (From Seed - Botanical Interests, pack opened Jan 2011)
Description:  70 days from transplanting. Indeterminate.
This Russian heirloom originated in Krim, a Crimean town on the Black Sea. Baseball-sized fruits weigh 10 - 12 oz. and have reddish-brown flesh filled with an earthy, almost smoky flavor. Fruit sets well in heat and is the most reliable of the black tomatoes, producing even under adverse conditions from summer to fall. Provide support for vines that reach 6 feet or more.
Planted 3/17 - two planted - one in the west garden bed, one in a flower pot.
Experience by the end of the season:  The one in the flower pot died, but the one in the garden produced a few tomatoes.

Roma Tomato: (From Seed - Botanical Interests, pack opened Jan 2011)
Description:  80 days from transplanting. Determinate.
An absolutely excellent heirloom tomato – firm, meaty, 3-inch oblong fruits with few seeds, on compact plants. Very prolific plant for a bountiful harvest! As a determinate type, most of the fruits ripen at the same time, which makes this tomato a good choice for canning. In areas with a long growing season, a second successive planting will double your harvest!
Planted 3/17 - two planted - one in the west garden bed, one in the flower pot.
Experience by the end of the season: the one in the flower pot died, and the one in the garden became infested with root knot nematodes.  Before I pulled it up, it did produce enough green tomatoes for me to make green tomato chutney.

Trinidad Scorpion Pepper: (Sunshine Community Garden Plant Sale, $2)
Description:  90-120 days. Outrageously hot, these peppers mature to a red color. It is a tall plant that should produce many 2-3 inch peppers.
Planted 3/17 in the flower pot.
Experience by the end of the season:  Didn't produce anything.  Saved for next year.

Marjoram: (Sunshine Community Garden Plant Sale, $2)
Description: Tender perennial. Flavor is considered milder but more complex than its relative, oregano. Some describe the flavor as having a hint of balsam. Very popular ingredient in German sausage and herb breads.
Planted 3/17 in the flower pot.
Experience by the end of the season:  The oregano is hardier and actually survived the winter.  This plant just always seemed a little behind the 8-ball and didn't make it through the winter.

Dill: (Sunshine Community Garden Plant Sale, $2)
Description:  Warm season annual. Foliage is delicious sprinkled on potatoes, tomatoes, salmon, spinach, cucumbers and lamb chops. Dill is an important host plant for caterpillars of swallowtail butterflies. (and thus the main reason why I have it every year - that and to make a batch or two of Dill Dough Bread).
Planted 3/17 in the flower pot.
Experience:  This spring started out a bit warmer than normal and so the plant was a bit aphid ridden - but it also ended up hosting both swallowtail caterpillars and lady bugs (on account of the aphids).  I didn't get to make the Dill Dough Bread, though.

Sage: (I don't remember - I've had the plant for a while now waiting to be planted)
Description: Perennial. Sage’s flavor is bold and assertive, and considered very valuable as a digestive aid to high-fat foods such as pork, wild game and cheese. Often paired with stuffing, it also livens up vegetables, potatoes, soups and stews. The plant has beautiful, edible purple/blue flowers, and the gray-green foliage provides an excellent contrast in the garden or containers. Deer resistant.
Planted 3/17 in the flower pot.
Experience: Is flourishing in the flower pot and made it through the winter.

Pot Douglah (or whatever the new hottest pepper in the world is):  given to me by Laura at WillsFamilyAcres.
Description:   "News of the douglah possibly being the hottest won’t come as shock to those who have had one. I’ve read post after post and watched countless taste test videos where the verdict was that the douglah was the hottest pepper the person had ever tasted."
Planted ??  I don't remember when I planted it, but it's in the east garden
Experience:  The plant doesn't look all that hot - almost like it's constantly not getting enough water.  It also probably isn't getting enough sun.  Dug up and saved for next year.

Chocolate Habanero: given to me by Laura at WillsFamilyAcres
Description:  The notorious & viciously hot Chocolate HabaƱero ranks among the deadly few at the top of the heat scale registering upto 450,000 scoville heat units. Indeed the Chile Pepper Institute of New Mexico State University reported that the Chocolate Habanero Chile was the hottest chile pepper they had tested. Also known as the 'Congo black' the fruits have a unique, rich flavor unduplicated by any other pepper. The 2" fruits ripen from an emerald green to a gorgeous, chocolate brown approximately 100 days after transplanting. The ultimate salsa pepper used to make the famous Jamaican Jerk Sauce. The variety is a must for heat lovers.
Planted ?? I don't remember when I planted it, but it's in the east garden
Experience:  The plant(s) are still tiny, but I have high hopes now that the heat has set in.  Dug up and saved for next year.

Cossack Pineapple (Ground Cherry):  From seed (____ pack opened in Jan 2013)
Description:  60 days. 1/2" diameter berries have a delicious flavor reminiscent of pineapple. Bite-sized berries are so tasty that they may never make it into the kitchen, especially if you have children. Excellent for preserves, hot dessert toppings, salads or mock pineapple yogurt. Plants are short (12"-18") but with bushy spreading lateral branches which choke out weeds. Fruits ripen to a pineapple yellow. Pkt (0.06 g).
Experience:  The plants flowered and have produced fruit before planting into the garden.  I've only ever gotten a few fruits at a time and so I just eat them straight from the plant.  The fruit are tangy and good - don't know if I'd want more than a few at a time, though.

Holdovers from last year -
Lemon Balm:  (2 plants) Planted in 2010.  Removed from the garden in fall 2013 because I just wasn't using them for anything.

Oregano: Planted in 2012

Garlic Chives: (2 plants - one transplant, one from seed) Planted in 2012.  One plant removed in fall 2013.

Parsley:  I always let the plants seed out every year, so they're essentially wild in my yard now.

Lavender:  Planted in 2012.  Died during the summer.

Summer Thyme: Planted in 2012

Chile Pequin: Planted in 2012.  Died in the winter of 2013

Aurora Pepper:  Planted in 2012 - the original plant died, but I just threw a pepper in a pot and it's sprouted.  The plants have one pepper each.  Plants saved through the winter.

Aji Crystal Pepper:  Planted in 2012 - dug up and kept in a pot over the winter, now sitting in a pot.  The plant is covered with peppers.  Plant kept over the winter to be planted in the garden in 2014.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Lettuces: Sown!

Since the Farmer's Almanac* told me that today was a good day to sow lettuce seeds**, I could be seen in my PJ's with a headlamp sowing seeds for Spinach "Bloomsdale Long Standing", Lettuce "Salad Bowl", and Lettuce "Schweitzer's Mescher Bibb at around 8 pm.  Hopefully we'll be rolling in the salad soon.

Schweitzer's Mescher Bibb:  1700's heirloom first brought to the US in the early 1900's.  Best grown in cool weather.  Forms small, tight, crisp heads of green leaves ringed with red.  Excellent flavor and appearance.  From Southern Exposure Seed Exchange purchased on clearance at Red Barn.  Days to emerge:  6-14.  50 days to maturity. This means I should expect to see baby lettuces by January 28, and able to harvest around March 27 (14+50).  This lettuce is behind the cauliflower/broccoli, as well as in the potato box on the north of where the artichoke will be.

Bloomsdale Long Standing Spinach:  From FerryMorse purchased at Lowe's.  Days to emerge: 8-10. 45 days to harvest. Expect baby spinaches by January 24, and able to harvest by March 10.  Spinach is sown in front of the cauliflower as well as to the west of where the artichoke will be.

Salad Bowl Lettuce: From FerryMorse purchased at Lowe's.  Days to emerge: 7-10. 50 days to harvest.  Expect baby lettuces by January 24, and able to harvest by March 15.  This lettuce is only in the potato box, to the south of where the artichoke will be.

*did you know that there are TWO almanacs?  There's the Old Farmer's Almanac (this is the one that I normally see for sale at the store, and the website is, and there is Farmer's Almanac (which the website is  Naturally, these two don't necessarily jive with each other.  So the Old Farmer's Almanac says the best days to plant lettuces are January 18 - February 1, or transplant between February 15 and March 15; Spinach is only set plants out from January 18 - February 8.  Carrots, which I will sow tomorrow, should actually be done on January 25 - February 8 (though the Farmer's Almanac says that Carrots and lettuces could also be done January 24/25)

**(actually any plant which you harvest the above-ground part is to be planted today; below-ground plants and transplants tomorrow and Thursday; all days are good for starting seed-beds),

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

On a Walk-about

For those of you who don't know my husband, let me introduce you to him:

He is a nutter. And I say this with love in my voice, and the shaking of my head whilst smiling.

You may think that it's the long flowing hippie hair, the use of a bandana, or even possibly the wearing of light-colored jeans with sandals is what makes him goofy.  Let me assure you, it is not.  This is an old photo: his hair is shorter, he doesn't usually wear sandals with his jeans, and he doesn't wear those light jeans any more.  What makes him crazy is how obsessed he gets over things.  He obsesses over a bunch of things, but the one that he's been obsessing over for the last few years is exercise.  When he got into CrossFit in 2011, he purchased an Olympic weight bar, bumper plates, installed some pull up rings and got Bob at Draco to help him weld a pull up bar/squat stand contraption.  You can read about that here.  We did CrossFit pretty consistently until earlier this year.  It's a great workout, and I totally got muscles from it, but it also isn't usually a great cardio workout - at least, not the kind of cardio workout that your doctor wants you to do.

He has, for the most part, stopped doing CrossFit and instead decided that he would like to participate in triathlons.  He does not like running, he didn't know how to swim well until earlier this year, and he detests road biking.  I'm not exactly sure why he decided that triathlons were for him.  Nonetheless, he has started training for them, and I'm being taken along for the ride.  This means that on any given night, you'll likely find us running, biking, or swimming.  I'm not planning on participating in any real triathlons, but it does get me to exercise which is a good thing.  Except when it's a bad thing.

I don't know what I did to my ankles the other week, but I jacked them up.  Not horribly - just bad enough that they hurt for a few days so I couldn't do any running (I could have done running, it just would have been a very bad idea), so instead I went on a walk about.  I did the same distance I would have if I had run, but instead I walked.  I decided to go on a walk through the neighborhood, on streets I'd never been on before.  While on the walk I did what Pam at Digging does - I decided to take pictures of yards that have reduced grass.

I'm really digging the spiky plant at the front.  I probably would add a small tree to the bed, maybe a desert willow (God I love desert willows now, I don't know why, it's just like "BAM! Desert Willow"), or prune the bush to be more like a tree.

This yard was awesome because it didn't have grass.  All the green groundcover was horseherb.  I'm not sure if that was intentional.  The lot has quite a few mature trees, but not a whole bunch of younger trees - I'm a fan of trees, so I'd say add more understory trees/bushes, maybe more little pathways, too.

This is one of those yards that you can just tell that someone spent a lot of time getting it to the stage it's at. It's the type of yard that you can see on a garden tour (though I'm sure the owners would probably heavily prune back some of the understory plants).  This yard had it all - I only took one photo, and it wasn't even of the lighted Christmas Moose. This is definitely one of those yards that I'd go by over and over again if it were closer.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

January Wide Angles

The Front, as taken from my neighbor's mail box (it's nice to have a specified spot from which to take a photo).

A panoramic of the back side-yard, as taken from the edge of my deck

A panoramic of the back yard, as taken from just outside my back door

And, something which I cannot directly provide, but here's a link to a "around the world" look at my back yard (as taken from the 'bridge').  This is actually way better than the panoramic shots because you lose depth when looking at the panos.
January BackYard World Photo

Friday, January 3, 2014

A Year in Review

So, Pam at Digging got me thinking about my favorite photos from the past year.  And hardly any of them actually made it to the blog!  HA!  No, it's actually because my favorite passionvine photo was taken with my phone, so I never uploaded it to the blog, and I never did get around to posting photos from the Florida vacation (it's still on my list of things to do).

Anyhow, I decided I'd share my favorites from those that actually DID make it to the blog. Naturally, you can click to embiggen.

Mah Cat - Ivy

The Japanese Garden bridge at Zilker Botanical Gardens

One of the many squirrels in the yard

Beetle in a coreopsis bloom

Bloom Day Pink Cosmos

North by Northwest Austin Garden Tour:  Millington Garden

North by Northwest Austin Garden Tour:  Rancho Chaotic

North by Northwest Austin Garden Tour:  Clark Garden

My "Mull-Shay" Bed

Wasp and fly on Cosmo bloom

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Wide Shots

So Tim at Xeric Front Yard has been posting wide shots of his yard every month.  He started doing it because Heather at Xericstyle said people should post more wide shots of their yards.

This seems like something I should partake in as well.  I mean, the macro shots are great, but it's very hard to convey the feel of the yard if everything is a macro shot.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the macro shot - the macro shot makes it easy to hide all the empty spots.  It makes it easy to hide that invasive nandina in the back, or the fact that the Asiatic jasmine is making a break for it and is about to take over the fence to the neighbor's yard. (Which reminds me, add "cut jasmine to be in bounds" to my ever-growing to-do list.  Actually, add "make a to-do list" to my to-do list.  Does anyone know if any of those gardening social sites have to-do lists as an option on them?)  The macro shot makes it so easy to hide the imperfections of the yard.  My grandma and grandpa said they liked seeing my yard when they came to visit last spring because I never post long shots of the back yard.  I will, however take long shots looking toward the veggie garden, and the point of it is to show the different stages the veggie garden goes through. Which, you know, is kinda the POINT of taking long shots of the entire yard - to provide perspective, to show where the problems are, to show that things are ephemeral.  Also, HI GRANDMA! :::waves wildly:::

This is kinda like Bloom Day and Foliage Followup, right?  The points of those is to show what plants are blooming (so you can figure out if your plants are ahead or behind schedule for your area), and which plants are doing the heavy lifting in your yard when the bloomers are being petulant. 

So yes, I will make an effort to participate more frequently in these type of things - I may not post on the day (because I do work, and I normally get home after dark), but I will at least try to post something at the beginning-ish of the month for the wide angle shots, and something in the middle of the month for bloom day/foliage follow up. On the plus side of doing the wide shots, I'll probably do those photos with my phone as opposed to the macro shots, which just beg for the DSLR.

And of course, since I just decided to participate in this, you're going to have to wait until Saturday when I get a photo of the front yard, and I'll even do panoramic of the back yard (maybe it will even be a little video if I can figure out how to do that).

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

What I planted/harvested in 2013

December 30, 2013:
In the end, I got a handful of Ground Cherries (enough that I'll plant again), a handful of Black Jalapenos (again, I'd plant these), about 10 Red Demons (which I love), and I pulled enough Raspberry Miracle and Roma tomatoes at the end to make a half-batch of green tomato chutney.  When I pulled the Roma Tomato, I found that it had been infested with root knot nematodes - and it was in the newer bed, which now means that both of my beds have nematodes (fie!).  I did get 3 small eggplants (if we had had a winter like a few years ago, they would have gotten much bigger).  The lavender plant did die, and I dug up and gave away the large garlic chives plant.  I didn't collect any chile pequins from the plants (left them for the birds), but they did produce.  I planted a pacman broccoli, a marathon broccoli, a green jade brussels sprouts, and a cauliflower plant in the east garden bed (sometime in late October/early November).  The west one still has a bunch of oregano and a bunch of lemon balm, plus the swiss chard and one small garlic chives plant.

October 15, 2013:  
I can harvest Red Demons and Black Jalapenos (I've actually pulled a few of each to use in cooking).  I continue to get a small amount of Cossack Pineapple Ground CherriesThe tomatoes appear to be setting fruit.

September 8, 2013:
Harvested a handful of the Cossack Pineapple Ground Cherries.  weeded the gardens and pulled dead tomatoes (Berkley Tie Dye and Black Krim).  The eggplants are finally starting to flower, and the Renee's Black Jalapenos and Red Demon peppers are starting to set fruit.

August 14, 2013:
Harvested the remaining J.D.'s CenTex tomato and went ahead and harvested the Berkeley Tie-Dye as well.  It's official that the Roma and Krim tomatoes in the pot are toast, as is the Berkeley Tie-Dye in the garden.  The Berkeley in the pot isn't looking too good either.  We've been harvesting some of the Aji Crystal peppers for a while - they're spicy, but not spicy enough for our tastes.  The Lavender plant is half dead...mostly dead, whatever.

August 4, 2013:
Harvested all the remaining garlic (Burgundy, Maiskij, Red Inchellium)...I really need to start things like Broccoli for the fall...  Put up some news paper on the tomato cage in the garden to try to shade some of the plants.

July 28, 2013:
Watered all the edibles with seaweed fertilizer (trying to get them prepped for the hot weather of August).

July 11, 2013:
Harvested another J.D's CenTex tomato and Berkeley Tie-Dye.  The Raspberry Miracle will be harvested tomorrow.

June 30, 2013:
Farmer's Almanac:  Good Day For Transplanting.
Edibles:  Transplanted Nadia Eggplant to the potato box.  Transplanted the Cossack Pineapple to the potato box.  Transplanted 2 of the 3 Orange Fogo to the potato box.  Transplanted one of the Red Savinas to the potato box.  Transplanted 3 of the Red Demons to a bigger pot and placed next to the Aji pepper.  Transplanted 1 of the Red Demons to the west garden.  Transplanted the Renee's Black Jalapenos to the west garden.  Watered everything in with fish emulsion.

June 29, 2013:
Watered everything in the front yard and back with fish emulsion.  It only took me like 3 hours and almost the entire .  I also used ALL of the water that was left in the rain barrels and cleaned out the southern one (it's be a while since it was cleaned).  Here's hoping it actually rains tomorrow like predicted.

June 26, 2013:
Edibles: Pulled 3 elephant garlic to use in recipes.  Dug up some ginger to also use in recipes.  I really need to transplant the peppers and eggplant that I have sitting in the little 4" pots.

June 17, 2013:
Ornamentals:  I watered everything in the back yard well.  Also deep watered the possumhaws and the elm.  

June 16, 2013:
Edibles:  Harvested another Raspberry Miracle (for a total of 4) tomato and a JD's CenTex (for a total of 2). [edited:  Ended up having to throw out one of the Raspberry Miracles because I let it go bad]
Ornamentals:  I watered everything in the front yard well.  Also deep watered the Red Oak and the Bradford Pear.

June 15, 2013:
Edibles:  Harvested 3 "Raspberry Miracle" tomatoes over the last few days.  Have not eaten any yet.  Will likely be thrown in a pasta sauce with chard (which is still growing in my garden) and some yellow squash from a coworker.  There aren't any more Raspberry Miracle tomatoes on the plant at this juncture, and there are 2 left on the JD's CenTex.  The Krims and Romas do not have any tomatoes on the plants either.  The Aji pepper has a bunch of peppers on it, but I have not harvested any yet.  The Cossack Ground Cherries have some fruit on the wee tiny plants...Don't know when they'll be ready.

May 27, 2013:
Farmer's Almanac:  Plant Late Beets, Potatoes, Onions, Carrots, And Other Root Crops.
Ornamentals:  Transplanted Pale Pavonia, 2 verbena, 3 Arizona Blanketflower, 3 Scabiosa, 2 pink guara, the Summer Snow, the Russian Sage, the Red Sage, the Pink Skullcap, the Pink Salvia Gregii, and the Lion's Tail.
Edibles: Roma and Krim tomatoes planted, Pot Douglah and Chocolate Habanero transplanted.  Harvested the first Tomato of the season - a JD's CenTex Special.  It was very good.  Kinda like the Black Krims, but a bit more of that acidic tomato flavor.  Ate it in pasta sauce with my friend's Golden Jubilee tomato I got for taking care of her garden whilst on vacation - it was good, but not as good as my CenTex.

May 23, 2013:
Finished harvesting the onions. Cut back the lemon balm, oregano, thyme and garlic chives.

May 17, 2013:
Harvested most of the onions this week.  As per usual, they aren't exactly big, but they sure are yummy.  Cut back the parsley (again).

May 8, 2013:
Cut back the parsley (only in the back yard) so it wouldn't shade out the tomatoes.  Removed the peas since they were toast.

May 4, 2013:
Farmer's Almanac: Favorable Time For Planting Late Root Crops. Also Good For Vine Crops That Can Be Planted Now. Set Strawberry Plants. Good Days For Transplanting.
Edibles: Transplanted the Cossack Pineapple Ground Cherry, Nadia Eggplants, Red Savina Habanero, Renee's Black Jalapeno (F1), Orange Fogo, and Red Demon into 4" pots (except for the ones that I didn't have space for - those were spread out within the seed sprouting box - Orange Fogo, Red Demon and one lone Nadia separating the two).  It's so late in the season I doubt I'll get anything from any of the plants, but that's how it goes, doesn't it?
Ornamentals:  I picked up some bi-color iris from Diana.  I actually specifically got it for my inlaws/parents, but neither are in Texas at the moment so I ended up planting the iris out by the gas meter - I figure plants would rather be dug up again at a later date than sit around with their roots not in the dirt.

May 3, 2013:
Weather been crazy, yo.  On the 1st it was 80-some-odd-degrees, then the cold front moved in and it was crazy windy and kinda chilly (night-time temps in the low 40s).  It's finally starting to return to normal, though we did set records for coldest temperatures the last two days (mid 40's at night).

April 27,2013:
So one of the problems with using a grow box is that one doesn't have to water the plants every day.  Because of this, one does not have to inspect the plants everyday and, as such, one will be completely flummoxed when one finally sees a tomato - one as big as a golf ball on the plant (JD's Special CenTex).  When did that show up?  Also, we've been eating peas out of the garden all week.  I call it "standing in the garden eating peas."  Really we just stand in the yard pulling peas off the vine that look ripe and eating them.  The butterflyweed has some issues with both aphids (expected) and spider mites (not expected) so everything got hosed down good and proper.  Also watered the ornamentals in the back yard.  Not deeply though...which means I really should water again tomorrow.  Considering I haven't watered everything for a while (looks like the 1st was the last day that I noted it), it all looks amazing.  It should be noted that I forgot to mark down when I made compost tea and watered all the veggie beds and new(ish) plantings with must have been the 13th since that's when we mulched the possumhaws.

April 20, 2013:  The Hinckley's Yellow Columbine was blooming this morning (it actually bloomed last week, but the flower stalk was not strong enough).  I find it fitting that it's blooming today.

April 6, 2013:
The Zilker Gardenfest was today, and I picked up a Tropical Butterflyweed, Almond Verbena, and Summer Snow plant.  I planted the Tropical Butterflyweed and Almond Verbena when I got home. Now I just need to find a place for the Summer Snow plant.

April 1, 2013:
Since I had to go to the dentist this morning, I watered all plants well (except trees). And found a fire ant mound and a carpenter or acrobatic ant mound...YAY!

Edibles:  I found a strawberry the other day and told Shawn to go ahead and eat it.  He said it needed to ripen for a day or two more and lo, when I went to pick it this morning, it had been entirely eaten by slugs/caterpillars/snails. And this is why I shouldn't listen to him when it comes to 'when things are ready to pick'...sure they may not be primo, but when you only have 2 plants, you better take what you can get when you can.

March 30, 2013:
Shawn pruned up some of the trees and then chipped the limbs.  The only problem?  He did so in the area right where I planted all the yarrow.  Stomp, stomp, stomp on the poor yarrow.  Instead of freaking out, I just let him continue until he was done and then watered the poor plants with fish emulsion again.  I also prepped some 4" pots so I can transplant peppers/eggplants from the seed starter thing (maybe they'll grow faster if they're more spread out...even though the plants are only maybe half an inch tall...I probably could have left the growing bin in the little green house for a little longer than I did since the peppers/eggplant like the heat).

March 28, 2013:
Farmer's Almanac:  Favorable Day For Planting Root Crops, Fine For Sowing Hay, Fodder Crops, And Grains. Plant Flowers.
Ornamentals:  Planted the milkweeds by the second rain barrel; planted the white and red yarrows as well as the recently purchased betony in the shady area by the Firespike plant per the plan.  Watered all new plants with the fish emulsion.
Edibles:  Noticed a strawberry today.  Which is good.  I hate planting plants and then getting NOTHING from them - it's one thing if the critters get the fruits of my labor, it's another when the plant just doesn't do anything.

March 24, 2013:
Went to Natural Gardener and Barton Springs Nursery today with my parents (we're trying to figure out which plants they like and dislike).  Bought 2 4" 'Paprika' yarrows and a gallon of Alaska Fish Fertilizer.  Currently NG is out of milkweed (they'll have more on Thursday).  At Barton Springs Nursery, I got 6 - 4" milkweeds, 3 - 4" Betony plants and 1 - 4" Caldwell Pink Rose.  Due to projected lows being in the mid-30's, I will not plant anything until later in the week (everything, including the tomatoes in 4" pots, are inside for the next two nights).  Watered all the seedlings, veggie plants, ginger and butterfly bush with the fish emulsion.

 March 17, 2013:
Farmer's Almanac: Favorable For Planting Crops Bearing Yield Above The Ground.
Edibles: Separated and planted the Pink Berkeley Tie Dye (there were two tomatoes in one pot), 2 Krims and 2 Romas.  Planted the Scorpion Pepper.  Planted the Sage, the Dill, and the Marjoram.  Broke apart the Ginger pieces and replanted them.
Ornamentals:  Watered everything well except trees. 

March 16, 2013:
Farmer's Almanac: Favorable For Planting Crops Bearing Yield Above The Ground.
Edibles:  Planted the Raspberry Miracle and J.D.'s Special CenTex Tomatoes in the Grow Box.
Ornamentals:  Planted the Ruby Crystals Grass to the Hell Strip.  Dug out the area by the rain barrel, again.  Backfilled with rock instead of dirt.

March 9, 2013:
Who would have thought that the little decapitated tomato would have made it?  Waiting for the storm to roll in so I didn't water any plants except for those that I planted today.  Planted the Yaupon Holly, Carolina Buckthorn, Hummingbird Plant, Gulf Coast Penstemon, Blue Penstemon.  Moved the Philippine Violet (unfortunately not really where it's final place is supposed to be...)

March 3, 2013:
Watered all plants well (except trees).  Based on advice from Roberta, I watered all my sad little tomatoes with seaweed (okay, actually she recommended fish emulsion, but I don't have that, I have seaweed though). Watered the betony plants with the seaweed as well.  Seaweed stuff purchased from Barton Springs Nursery on Feb 16 for $11.

March 2, 2013:
Sunshine and AOG plant sales today.  Purchased JD's Special C-Tex tomato, Pink Berkeley Tie Dye tomato, Raspberry Miracle tomato, Dill plant, Marjoram plant, Trinidad Scorpion Pepper Plant from Sunshine for $2 each.  Purchased white yarrow plants from AOG for $2.50 each.

February 25, 2013:
We had a crazy windstorm today - windy all afternoon and night.  Gusts up to 51 mph in the area by the house.  And of course I had just moved the tomato seedlings to a less protected area in the yard.  They look sad and pitiful and aside from one, are all still alive. 

February 24, 2013:
Watered all plants well. (did water possumhaws and elm, but no other trees)

February 18, 2013:
Transplanted the tomatoes from the little seed bed starter container into 4" pots.  A grand total of 7 Romas and 6 Krims were transplanted. 

February 16, 2013:
Farmer's Almanac:  Fine for planting aboveground crops where climate is suitable.
Ornamentals:  I'm going with the theory that anything that you plant for whatever is growing aboveground is an 'aboveground crop', even if you never harvest it.  I purchased a Big Muhly, Augusta Deulberg Sage, 2 Ruby Crystals Grass, and a Coral Honeysuckle vine from Barton Springs Nursery today (already planted all but the Ruby Crystals).  I purchased two Gulf Muhlies (and planted them) from the Natural Gardener.  I also planted the 2 Big Muhlies I already had as well as the 2 Texas Betony plants.

February 8, 2013:
Some of the peas have have some of the quinoa? carrots?  I don't remember what I planted where...oh well, I'm sure I'll figure it out when they get real leaves on the plants.  All of the greenhouse plants have come up, save one little Naga.  That's okay.  If I actually get the number of habanero plants to actually survive, it won't be that big of a deal.

February 4, 2013:
Even when I'm trying to keep track I do a crappy job - I think most of the seeds (in my greenhouse) have come up... the only ones lagging were the Naga Jolokia and Cossack Ground Cherry, so I need to make a concerted effort to check on them.  I don't think anything has come up from what I planted in the garden...but it's only been about a week.

January 26, 2013:
Farmer's Almanac:  A Most Fruitful Time To Plant Beets, Carrots, Onions, And Other Hardy Root Crops. Also Good For Transplanting.
Edibles: Red Savina and Red Demon peppers have sprouted.  Transplanted the onion starts into the east garden bed.  Sowed Quinoa, Carrots (Sunshine Mix), and Peas in the west bed.
Ornamentals: Purchased and transplanted 3 Dianella plants by the deck.  Transplanted 2 Bluebonnets, 2 Ruby Crystals Grass, and 1 Verbena in the Hell Strip.

January 16, 2013:
Noticed the Black Krim and Roma seeds sprouting.  Cat grass sprouted over the weekend and is now approximately 3" tall.

January 13, 2013:
The Cat Grass planted on January 6 have sprouted and are about 1" tall (last night there was nothing, today, BOOM! Cat Grass).

January 6, 2013:
Farmer's Almanac: Today is a good day to plant root crops and leafy greens.  Start seed beds.
Ornamental Seeds Sown - Candy Tuft (white pinnacle), Cosmos, Coneflower (Purple), Gomphrena (Eleanor's), Grow Green Wildflower mix, Larkspur (from Caroline), Marigolds (tagetes), Scarlet Flax, Cat Grass
Edibles Seeds Sown - Eggplant (Nadia), Ground Cherry (Cossack Pineapple), Habanero Chile (Red Savina), Naga Jolokia, Renee's Black Jalapeno (F1), Thai Chile (Orange Fogo and Red Demon), Tomato (Black Krim), Tomato (Roma)

Rain Fall Totals for 2013

Date of Reading

January 6* - 1.2" 
January 9 - 2.9"
January 10 - 0.3"
January 11 - 0.05"
January 15 - trace
January 26 - trace
February 4 - 0.05"
February 6 - 0.05"
February 7 - trace
February 10 - 0.20"
February 18 - 0.05"
February 21 - 0.1"
March 9 - 0.1"
March 10 - 1.4"
March 11 - trace
March 20 - 0.3"
April 1 - trace
April 3 - 3.0"
April 4 -  0.2"
April 11 - 0.3"
April 12 - trace
April 19 - 0.3"
April 27 - 0.05"
May 10 - 0.1"
May 11 - 0.9"
May 15 - 0.7"
May 16 - 0.05"
May 22 - trace
May 25 - 2.5"
May 26 - 0.6"
June 2 - 0.2"
June 9 - 0.6" (in a sudden and very quick downpour)
June 18 - 0.9"
June 30 - 0.3" (enough to fill up the rain barrels after being completely drained)
July 15 - 0.2" 
July 16 - 2.1"  
July 17 - 0.4" 
July 18 - 1.5" (30-year normal is to have 18.88" by this time of year; we are now at 20.8"
July 21 - 0.1" (after this last week, Lake Travis has risen 2')
July 27 - 1.8"
August 15 - 0.2" 
August 23 - 0.1" 
August 26 - trace
August 28 - 0.1" 
September 3 - 0.2"
September 4 - 0.1" 
September 6 - trace 
September 11 - 0.5" 
September 17 - trace
September 21 - 1.4" 
September 29 - 3.5" 
October 12 - 0.2"
October 13 - 3.8" (South Austin received a foot of rain)
October 14 - 0.3" (after this last week, Lake Travis has risen 2')
October 15 - 0.01"
October 16 - 0.84"
October 18 - 0.01"
October 21 - 0.53"
October 27 - 0.10"
October 30 - 3.24" (record for north Austin on this day, Onion Creek watershed flooded because Wimberly area received about a foot of water.  The flooding sped up the buyout program in Onion Creek Forest and Onion Creek Plantation.  The floods became known as "the Halloween floods")
October 31 - 1.43"
November 4 - 0.04"
November 5 - 0.01"
November 6 - 0.33"
November 20 - 0.01"
November 21 - 0.10"
November 22 - 1.83"
November 23 - 0.03"
November 24 - 0.13"
November 25 - 0.95"
December 6 - 0.07"
December 9 - 0.04"
December 13 - 0.15"
December 21 - 0.46"  
*amount listed is from the beginning of the year through January 6

Weather Extremes 2013

Date listed is the date that I found ice in the water saucers in the yard:
January 7* - Ice in the bird bath
January 14 - Ice in the bird bath
January 16  - Ice in the bird bath
February 7 - high temp: 85 (record)
March 16 - high temp: 86 (record)
March 18 - high temp: 90 (record)
April 20 - Cold Front - low temp: 41
April 24 - low temp: 45
May 3 - Cold Front - low temp: 44 (record)
May 4 - low temp: 46
May 5 - high temp: 79; low temp: 51
May 6 - high temp: 76; low temp 50
May 17 - high temp: 95 (first day of mid 90s temp)
Mid May - Mid June : Gloriously average
June 25 - high temp: 101 (first day of triple digits)
June 28 - high temp: 106 (record)
June 29 - high temp: 108 (record)
July 13 - high temp: 105 (tied the record)
July 17 - Cold Front - high temp: 78
August 14 - 107 (record)
September 16 - 99 (tied the record)
September 20 - Cold Front - high temp: 81 (and rain!)
September 21 - Cold Front - high temp:  83
October 13 - RAIN!  While I only got 4" or so, South Austin got a foot!
October 19 - Cold Front - high temp:  69
October 30 - RAIN!  South Austin/Wimberly got close to a foot.  Because Wimberly got a foot, and south Austin got a foot, it made for some pretty massive flooding in Onion Creek.
November 8 - Cold Front - high temp: 66
November 12 - Cold Front - high temp: 61, low: 44
November 13 - Cold Front - high temp: 57, low: 34 (pulled in all tenders and covered peppers, said goodbye to eggplant and tomatoes)
November  14 - low temp: 33
November 16 - Heat Wave - high temp: 81, low: 63
November 17 - high temp: 90 (record)
November 18 - high temp: 80
November 22 - Cold Front - high temp: 74 (above normal), low temp: 36 (below normal) (pulled in all tenders, said goodbye to the peppers)
November 23 - high: 43, low: 36
November 24 - high: 43, low: 35
November 25 - high: 40, low: 35
November 26 - high: 58, low: 38
November 27 - high: 52, low: 33 - (peppers have finally looked like they froze)
November 28 - high: 53, low: 32 (first official freeze)
November 29 - low: 34
December 1 - high: 73 (above normal), low: 53
December 2 - high: 83 (not a record, but 20 degrees above normal)
December 3 - high: 85 (not a record, but 20 degrees above normal)
December 4 - high: 75 (10 degrees above normal), low: 56 (10 degrees above normal)
December 5 - low: 34
December 6 - high: 38, low: 30
December 7 - high: 31, low: 27
December 8 - low: 28
December 9 - high: 40
December 10 - high: 48, low: 29
December 11 - low: 30
December 12 - low: 32
December 15 - low: 34
December 16 - low: 34
December 17 - high: 74
December 19 - high: 78, low: 55
December 20 - low: 67 (yes, a LOW of 67)
December 22 - low: 32
December 23 - low: 31
December 30 - high: 44, low: 35

* = I didn't start counting until the 7th