Monday, August 30, 2010

fall vegetable seedling progress

I'll admit it: these days and days of near-100 temperatures and no rain are getting to me. I'm getting a little tired of hand-watering the vegetable seedlings (all from Botanical Interests seeds) two or three times a day. But the quality of the light has changed, reminding me that Fall will actually arrive at some point, and that makes me happy.
green bean (bush) seedlings, "Contender" and "Royal Burgundy"
beet seedlings, "Early Wonder" and "Gourmet Blend"
broccoli, cauliflower, and green bean seedlings
tiny sungold tomatoes doing okay in a pot
The carrot and kale seedlings are still hanging on. I also planted potatoes last weekend. I'm trying to keep my basil going for at least two more weeks, then I'll harvest it and pull out those plants to make room for lettuce seeds. Now I just need to make myself get up extra early to weed and thin the seedlings!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

garden bloggers' bloom day

blackfoot daisies and silver ponyfoot
Last year at this time, we'd had 50-something days of triple-digit heat and exceptional drought. I'm thrilled that this summer we've only had a handful of triple-digit days, plus we got some decent rain. But let's face it, 101 is still miserable. See Carol's and other bloggers' blooms at May Dreams Gardens.

pink rain lilies (Zephyranthes 'Labuffarosea') from Annie in Austin
I like this white ruellia a little better than the purple varieties

rock rose (Pavonia laiopetala)
Also blooming today are Turk's cap, torenia, pentas, society garlic, gaura, leadwort plumbago, and purple ruellia.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

winter vegetables: experimenting by following the rules

carrot seedlings
I had planned to prune the summer tomatoes in hopes of a fall crop, but instead I decided to settle for my potted Sun Gold cherry tomatoes and blah Juliets and focus my energy on starting the cold-weather vegetable beds. 

Although it feels strange to me to sow winter seeds now in triple-digit heat--last year I didn't begin until mid September--I decided to throw caution to the wind and follow the Travis County Extension website's planting calendar this time. 

The past two weekends, husband Kurt and I have braved the heat to weed and compost three raised beds. Kurt did the heaviest lifting by turning and mixing the compost piles then working his brown gold into the dirt. I sowed kale (Red Winter) and carrot (Carnival Blend and Scarlet Nantes) seeds last Sunday. I've been watering them two or three times a day with the "mist" setting on the hose-end sprayer, and tiny seedlings appeared Friday. 

kale seedlings in the foreground, a blob of French sorrel from last winter, and carrot seedlings in the back
Yesterday I sowed broccoli (Waltham 29) and cauliflower (Chef's Choice Blend) seeds in one bed and green beans (Contender) in another. All the seeds are from Botanical Interests

huge oregano on the left, two hot banana peppers at front right, and ailing tomatoes at far right
Over the next three weekends, we'll replace the tomatoes with potatoes and beet seeds. In about a month, I plan to  harvest and freeze all the basil and use those beds to sow lettuce seeds. Must remember not to go as overboard with the lettuce as I did last year!

basil is still thriving