New Backyard Flower Bed

My husband and I have been busy with gardening and landscaping work over the last few months. However, our most recent project included establishing a flower bed in our backyard. Unfortunately our backyard has many challenges, such as limited grass, many bare spots, high sun exposure, slight run off area when it rains, and weeds (both high and low varieties). In the future we are looking to put in a walk pathway, but in the meantime we did not want to plant grass or do much until the walk pathway has been laid down. So, we decided to add a flower beds to help define the area better and cover more space and to minimize the weeds.

The flower bed is set along side of the house that faces the Southwest side and receives high sun and heat for over 6 hours each day. We choose to plant native perennial plants to help conserve water and provide much needed color for the backyard. All of the plants were purchased at Home Depot, when they had their 5 for $10.00 perennial sale.

The following plants were planted in the flower bed along side of the house:

– Two Lavender plants

http://www.thegardenhelper.com/Lavendula.htm

– Two Autumn Red Sage plants

http://www.azarboretum.org/plantlist/autumnsage.htm

– Two Mealy Blue Salvia

http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=safa2

– Two Bluehill Salvia

http://www.highcountrygardens.com/catalog/product/84778/

– Lipstick Saliva

http://www.plantdelights.com/Catalog/Current/Detail/03202.html

Here are some pictures from the progression of this flower bed:

 

Native Flower Bed-Removal of Grass

Native Flower Bed-Removal of Grass

Native Flower Bed-Borders

Native Flower Bed-Borders

Native Flower Bed_-New Home

Native Flower Bed_-New Home

Native Flower Bed-Autumn Sage Saliva

Native Flower Bed-Autumn Sage Saliva

Native Flower Bed-Garden Bed Prep

Native Flower Bed-Garden Bed Prep

Native Flower Bed-Lining up the plants

Native Flower Bed-Lining up the plants

New Native Flower Bed_Decision made on plant location(s)

New Native Flower Bed_Decision made on plant location(s)

 

I am happy to report the plants have survived the summer and are still blooming.

Happy Gardening.

-Sandra

 

I know, it’s been awhile….

It has been several months since I have posted to my blog. Please see some blog posts that I will be posting soon of past and current activity in the garden.

Happy Gardening!

– Sandra

Jasmine Vine in Bloom

After the rains and some sunshine, my Jasmine vine took off. Here is a picture of my vine that has full of blooms. I am  happy to report the vine is still blooming and I hope it does so for some time. Jasmine vine is a new plant to me, so I was pleasantly surprised to see so many blooms.

Jasmine Vine in Bloom

Jasmine Vine in Bloom

Happy Gardening from Sandra

Spring Tulips

Almost a month ago, I purchased some red tulips that I could not resist after I saw them. I planted the tulips in some planters in an area where I like to sit outside. Unfortunately with the winds from last week, most of the tulip flowers have blown away. However, here is a picture before they bloomed. What is your experience planting tulips in the Austin area?

Red Tulips

Red Tulips

Happy Gardening from Sandra

Visiting Sunshine Community Gardens Today

This morning I will be visiting Sunshine Community Gardens today for their annual plant sale from 9:00a.m. to 2:00p.m. This is my first time attending this gardening event, so I am looking forward to it. I hope to bring back some interesting tomato plant varieties to try in my garden this spring and summer. I hope you can make it out. Here is a link to read up on the plant sale today.

http://www.sunshinecommunitygardens.org/plantsale.html

Happy Gardening from Sandra.

New Seed Planting – February 15th

I am a bit behind in my blog posts, but I hope to catch up today. Last weekend was a productive gardening time for me. I planted various seeds at my parent’s place where my husband and I use one of four planting plots along with two raised gardens we have at our home. I planted kohl rabi, spinach, garden peas and brocoli seeds. I will keep these plants at my parent’s place until it is time to transplant them into the planting plot, which will be their last home. My husband planted some seeded potatoes.

Also, over the long weekend for me at least, I planted various seeds that will be transplanted into both my large and small raised garden(s). I planted romaine lettuce, spinach, collard, marigolds (to help combat against some garden insects), and arugula (this is my first time).

Here is a picture of the seed packets I planted:

New Seed Planting_2-15-10

New Seed Planting_2-15-10

 

Here is a picture of the new seed home until transplanting time:

New Seed Home_2-15-10

New Seed Home_2-15-10

I used some recycled yogurt cups, wooden popsicle sticks (from my parents) and my version of Mel’s soil mix (i.e., peat moss, compost and vermucilite) to plant the seeds. I will keep the blog posted on their progress.

Also, I planted six square foot garden plots worth of both yellow and purple onion(s). I will continue to stagger my onion planting, so that I can hopefully have onions well into the fall.

Here is a picture I have posted before of the onions I planted last weekend.

Onion Planting

Onion Planting

Happy Gardening from Sandra.

Safe and at home

Today, you may have heard what had happened in Austin, Texas. There was a plane crash that hit a building which injured some people, but the scene could have been much worse. I want to communicate to family, friends and my blog followers that my family and I are safe. Looking forward to a weekend of gardening.

Happy Gardening from Sandra.

Yeah, its raining again in Austin…

I am still so tinkled pink that it is raining in Austin. However, I have to admit I was wishing for some wintery weather so I can stay home from work.

I am happy to see our lake levels are arising and the rain is great for my recent onion sets I planted last weekend. I plan to plant more items this weekend.

Happy Gardening from Sandra.

Today, a great day to garden…

I was a busy bee in my garden today. I planted some seedlings (i.e., various tomato,  pepper, eggplant seeds and scallion onions seeds) and red and yellow onion sets. Finally, I planted a grape plant.

I wanted to try various tomato and pepper plants for the first time to see which type of plants do well and those that I would enjoy planting again. I think the best way to carry out this task was to try different plants as some may do well due to weather, space place and many other determinants. 

For tomato seeds, I planted two types of Roma tomatoes, juliet hybrid (i.e., cherry tomato) and an Early Girl Hybrid tomato seed. I decided to plant two types of Roma tomatoes to see which variety will do best and decide which type I may want to plant year over year. This is my first time planting these varieties, any suggestions?

New Tomato Seedling

New Tomato Seedling

For pepper seeds, I planted red/green bell pepper (i.e., California Wonder), Serrano jalapeño pepper and poblano pepper. I wanted to try different varieties, so that I can make various items that call for these different pepper varieties. I am looking forward to trying the bell peppers on the grill; trying the Serrano jalapeño peppers in chicken tortilla soup or salsa; and, poblano pepper for making Chile renellos. I will keep the blog posted on their progress. This is my first time planting these varieties, any suggestions?

New Pepper Seedlings

New Pepper Seedlings

I planted scallion onions for the second time. I planted the bunching white onions. I did not  have much luck when I planted them in the summer of 2009. I hope I have better luck this time. Any ideas and/or feedback you can give for a successful harvest of scallion onions?

Onion Planting

Onion Planting

For onion sets, I planted both a yellow and red onion set(s) (i.e., sets I bought from Lowes) today in my large raised garden that has been plant free for almost two months. I plan to plant both the yellow and red onions sets every two weeks or so until the end of March. I want to make sure I have continuous harvest from late summer into the fall. If you have planted these varieties before, let me know what your experience has been?

Onion Planting_II

Onion Planting_II

I decided to try my hand at planting eggplant for the first time from seeds. There is plenty of literature that recommend planting eggplant from transplants as a preferred way. However, I have a great time watching seeds grow that I would like to give the eggplant seeds a try and see what happens. I planted Black Beauty eggplant.

Eggplant Seedling

Eggplant Seedling

Finally, I planted a Thompson seedless white grape plant today. I purchased the plant at Lowes as I was unsure how it will do and I did not want to pay a lot for a plant I have no earlier experience planting and harvesting. I will keep the blog posted on my progress. If you have planted this variety before, let me know what your experience has been?

New Grape Plant

New Grape Plant

Finally, here are some pictures of where some of the seedlings will call home until planted into either the small or large raised garden. Pictures also include where some of the yellow and red onion sets have been planted.

Starter Home for Pepper & Tomato & Eggplant Seedlings

Starter Home for Pepper & Tomato & Eggplant Seedlings

Purple Onion Home

Purple Onion Home

 
Yellow Onion Home

Yellow Onion Home

I keep the blog posted on my progress with the seedlings, onion sets, bunching onions, and grape plant I planted today.

In the meantime, here is a picture of some onions I planted mid Fall, it is my hope that the plants will be able to harvest around spring to early summer.

1st Onion Planting

1st Onion Planting

I hope your gardening today was as productive as mine. I wanted to take advantage of the great weather in Austin.

Happy Gardening from Sandra…

Request for Information – Ginger Root?

I would like to throw a question out to the gardening community. Does anyone know the best way to plant and harvest ginger root? I would like to have some in my garden. All ideas welcomed.  Thank you in advance for your reply.

Happy Gardening from Sandra.

Yeah, it’s raining…

I know there are many people in Austin who are not happy to see the continuous rain coming down. However, I have to say personally for myself, I’m tinkled pink as Austin needs the rain to fill our lakes. Also, the rain is the best to get a garden kick started back to life. I just wish I knew we were getting all of this rain as I would have started to put seeds into the ground. However, I have several seeds growing in small containers. This weekend between rain spells I plan to put some seeds into my large garden and begin planting my onion sets. I hope to have some pictures soon on the progress of my garden.

I hope you are enjoying the rain too.

Happy Gardening from Sandra.

Explosive seedling growth

Over the month of January, I have planted various seeds to get a jump on my spring garden. I have some seeds that I planted on the first of January that have not sprouted yet and others each week there after.

The first day of January, I planted cowpea, two variety of bush beans and two pea varieties. The cowpea , sugar snap peas and bush bean varieties have not even poked through the soil yet. I am wondering if I may have planted them to early. However, one of my garden peas has shot up like a rocket. See the picture(s) below….

January 1st - Seedlings

January 1st - Seedlings

 

Then on January 8th and January 18th, I planted more seedlings, which included romaine lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, beets and etc… Here is how they are looking today…

January 8th - Seedlings

January 8th - Seedlings

 

January 18th - Seedling

January 18th - Seedling

 

Happy Gardening from Sandra

KLBJ Weekend Gardening Shows

On the weekends, I often like to listen to KLBJ 590 AM weekend gardening shows with Tom Spencer and John Dromgole from 9:00a.m. to 11:00a.m. I listen for gardening ideas and gardening advice, which has helped me become a better novice gardener. Presently, KLBJ is not podcasting the weekend gardening shows on their website that  listened to later when time is more readily available and/or if someone happens to be out of town and misses the shows. If you enjoy listening to the weekend gardening shows on KLBJ and/or had not heard the shows before. I encourage you to post a comment to ask  the weekend gardening shows to be can be podcast  for your and other people’s listening pleasure. If you are interested in posting a comment to KLBJ, you can do so at this link:

http://www.590klbj.com/podcast/index.aspx

Hopefully, with enough encouragement, KLBJ will podcast the weekend gardening shows, so that they will be accessible to everyone at anytime of the day. Please feel free to send this post on to others who may have an interest in having the weekend gardening shows podcast on KLBJ.

Happy Gardening from Sandra

Bundling up the garden against the cold

Colder weather has descended upon Austin recently and I have done my best to keep my plants protected. My husband and I moved the citrus plants back into the garage for safe keeping. In addition, I have placed coverings over my smaller raised garden which is now filled with onions, beets, carrots, radishes and has various plant around the garden to make it easier to keep all plants protected. 

Here is a picture of the small raised garden with a protective covering:

Small Garden Protection

Small Garden Protection

I am also growing strawberries in four containers to set up my own mobile strawberry patch. I am protecting my strawberry plants with a protective covering just to make sure my strawberries make it through the cold patches Austin is experiencing.

Here is a picture of my protected mobile strawberry patch:

Strawberry Mobile Container Patch

Strawberry Mobile Container Patch

My berry plants are hanging in through the cold weather. However, I have some concerns that my blackberry plants are loosing some leaves. I am hoping this may be part of the ebb and flow of its growth.

Here is the current state of my berry plants:

Berry Plants on 1-30-10

Berry Plants on 1-30-10

Happy Gardening from Sandra

Another nice day in Austin, Texas

My plants are loving the weather we are having. I still have the citrus trees in the garage in the event the weather turns colder. However, my husband is wanting them to be placed back outside so that they can get some free “cedar pollen” fresh air…Not sure how I feel about this…

My seedlings are still buried, but I am making a point to water them regularly and they have up to 5 hours or more a day of sunlight. So, hopefully they will be sprouting soon…Cross your fingers…

My plan this weekend is to add some compost and other organic matter to the larger garden to prep it for spring planting. Also, I will need to check on the compost pile to see how it is doing. I will keep the blog posted on its progress.

Here is a picture below of the compost bin my husband built for me…

Double Sided Composter

Double Sided Composter

Inside the composter.

Inside the composter.

Happy Gardening from Sandra.

Current state of the gardens since wintery weather came to Austin

There is good news and bad news…

The bad news is that my sweet potato plants did not make it through the cold weather. However, they are known to be warm weather plants, but a novice gardener like me did not know that until later into my gardening experience and I had already planted some old sweet potato cuttings for kicks… There were only three plants, so it was not such a big loss…Nonetheless, going forward…I am going to plant potatoes at my parent’s place where they have four large planting plots compared to my two raised garden beds.

The other bad news is that my radishes that I planted over a month and half ago seem to be going no where… 😦 The seed packet advises the radishes should be ready in less than a month, but my radishes have yet to form 😦  However, I kept them in the ground as I do not need the space at this time….

The good news… the garden peas, leek (yet still very small), carrots (1 so far), strawberries, herbs (i.e. mint and oregano) and the yellow & red onions are still alive and hanging in there…

Current state of the small raised garden.

Current state of the small raised garden.

I also have other plants such as old pepper plants (which actually produced peppers this year), wine grape (i.e., Merlot), ornamental grasses, laurel mountain plant, and a hydrangea plant. I keep these plants around the garden for when I cover the garden when it turns cold.

My spinach, broccoli and onion plants are alive but droopy…Any thoughts to help bring them back to life?

Current state of small raised garden. Part I

Current state of small raised garden. Part I

Current state of small raised garden. Part II

Current state of small raised garden. Part II

Current state of small raised garden. Part III

Current state of small raised garden. Part III

 

Happy gardening from Sandra.

Current State of the Garden

Here is the current state of my small raised garden, before the protective covering place on it before the wintery weather came in this weekend. Currently, I have peas, leek, broccoli, spinach, carrots, radishes, sweet potatoes and yellow & red onions growing. -OR at least I like to think they are growing. I have placed other plants around the garden to make it easy to place the protective coverings on and off the small raised garden. I purchased the protective coverings at Lowes and they have come in quite handy this winter season. I have started all of my plants from seeds and transplanted the plants into the ground when I thought they were ready. While the plants were growing, I kept them in hanging baskets to help decrease insect infestation. However, I have not been so diligent keeping the insects away during the winter which is why I suspect the plants have not performed at their optimum. I started seeds at the end of August and early September  and I transplanted most of the plants in November 2009.

What I have done to take care of the plants is to top dress the plants with compost, feed them with Maxicrop diluted Seaweed liquid now and then, and I always use rainwater to water the plants. I try to water the plants when the rain water is luke warm.

Here is a run down of the vegetables and where they came from:

Broccoli – Burpee- Goliath

Spinach – Burpee- Long Standing Bloomsdale

Leek – Burpee – Dawn Giant

Yellow Onion Sets – Wal-Mart

Purple Onion Sets- Wal-Mart

Sweet Potato – From sprouted potato

Current state of my small raised garden.

Current state of my small raised garden.

Current state of my small raised garden. Part II.

Current state of my small raised garden. Part II.

Happy Gardening from Sandra