Tuesday, September 22, 2009

rain gauge and window screens finally get a workout

A month ago, I really didn't imagine we'd ever see a day like today until maybe November. But I was SO wrong: it's 65 degrees (F) right now and has rained 3 inches in central Austin in the past 15 hours! We finally had custom wood window screens constructed and installed a month ago but haven't had a chance to air out the house and enjoy them until today. The talented John Hindman of Red River Restorations made them out of cypress and aluminum and did a great job!

note half-open window!

screen detail from inside

Sunday, September 20, 2009

seeds are sown!

red sails leaf lettuce seedlings

Because our raised veggie beds aren't boxed, they don't always translate well in photographs, appearing to be shallow blobs. SWEET husband Kurt spent last Sunday adding tons of our homemade compost to the beds, mixing and turning them, then fluffing them up into respectable looking raised veggie beds. What was I doing last Sunday afternoon while he toiled? Watching the Cowboy game. I did feel guilty enough to chop onions and garlic for dinner while I was watching. Ahem.

you can sort of see the height/depth better here, less blobby

beets, carrots, chard, kale, broccoli, and cauliflower in these four rows

I further redeemed myself on Wednesday, when I sowed the veggie seeds in all the revived beds. I water all of them twice a day with the hose sprayer set on the mist or shower setting. Today I fed everybody a little John's Recipe organic fertilizer. So far, so good. Little seedlings are emerging almost everywhere.

all lettuces and herbs in these beds, which are raised but still appear a bit blobby here

I got a little carried away with trying some new-to-me varieties because the Botanical Interests seed packet covers are so great. I sowed the following organic seeds.

leaf lettuces: Red Sails, Tango, Oak Leaf Blend
romaine lettuces: Parris Island Cos, Freckles
butterhead lettuces: Speckles, Marvel of Four Seasons

kale: Italian Lacinato Nero Toscana
swiss chard: Five Color Silverbeet, Bright Lights
beets: Early Wonder, Gourmet Blend, Detroit Dark Red
cauliflower: Chef's Choice Blend
broccoli: Di Cicco
carrots: Scarlet Nantes, Purple Haze, Carnival Blend

sorrel: Common
cilantro: Slow Bolting
dill: Bouquet

Monday, September 14, 2009

cooler, less parched garden bloggers' bloom day

first time my Society Garlic has been presentable since March

Hooray! Austin finally got some measurable rain last weekend and cooler temperatures. I know it will get back up into the mid-high nineties later this week with no rain, but I'm still blissing out on today's cloudy, upper-seventies, driving with the sunroof open and the windows down weather! Thanks again to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting this bloom day. Go to her blog to see LOTS of other great blooms today from around the country and the world.

oxblood lilies should be in full bloom later today

victoria salvia I never thought would have made it through the summer

can you believe how absolutely LUSH this trailing lantana and indigo spires scenario looks? A little rain can go a long way!

freaky, lovely golden shrimp plant

purple skullcap crawls back from coma because of rain

shamrock oxalis has some scorched edges but still entrances

leadwort plumbago muddled through

indigo spires now seem grateful I gave them a serious mid-summer pruning

blackfoot daisy coming back to life with silver ponyfoot

Also blooming now are plumbago, turk's cap, purple and white ruellia, prairie verbena, rosemary, mexican bush sage, and provence lavender.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

rain clouds and rain lilies

Today's the first gray, drizzly day we've had in a long time. Welcome negative ions! This chorus of rain lilies appeared Saturday and continues to sing today. Hallelujah.

Monday, September 7, 2009

I don't think these guys should be showcased on future garden tours

At the moment, restrictions on use of the Trinity Aquifer are not mandated by the Texas Legislature as they are for the Edwards Aquifer. So, during this greater Austin area's second year of exceptional drought, it appears that Rollingwood residents James David and Gary Peese are taking full and for now, legal, advantage of that lack of restrictions by applying to the Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District for the right to suck a MILLION gallons a year from the Trinity Aquifer to water their two-acre estate.

Read the whole story here. And more info here.

(Hat tip to tweet by MSS Zanthan Gardens.)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

colorful annuals in the veggie garden

bluebell (Eustoma russellianum)

Most of my veggie seedlings are beginning to emerge, so I'll transplant them to their real raised-bed homes later this week. Meanwhile, I bought a few annuals (and put them in pots) to add some color to the veggie garden. We got almost two inches of rain Friday evening, the most we've had since early June, so everything is looking more peppy for now!

yellow shrimp plant (Pachystachys lutea)

ornamental pepper (Capsicum annuum 'Black Pearl')

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

preparing fall veggie garden

The triple-digit heat took a break and also brought us some clouds and breezes this weekend, so I finally got myself out back to weed and prep the overgrown raised beds. I worked in our homemade compost into the existing soil with my hands (and have the roughed-up skin to prove it) and re-set the drip lines. I also let some of the horseherb stay because it seems to serve as soil-cooling "mulch". I also left, for now, the stressed, but generally okay pepper plants, basil, oregano, sage, and thyme.

I sowed the following seeds to transplant as soon as they're ready: romaine, butterchrunch, and mesclun mix lettuce; swiss chard, kale, beets, carrots, dill, cilantro, broccoli, sorrrel, and spinach. I still want to add some fall annual flowers into the mix, too!

I think I've discovered what's preventing this mexican feathergrass from thriving.