Tuesday, March 29, 2011

fancy tomato stakes

Husband Kurt decided to make our new tomato beds fancier by using some blackline (natural gas pipeline) as stakes. Originally, Kurt had used the blackline for curtain rods, but he replaced them with homemade copper pipe curtain rods:
So the sturdy blackline rejects were just hanging out in the mudroom. The beauty of them as tomato stakes is that you can screw on additional lengths to accommodate tomatoes that get really tall.

He also installed a drip system, which still needs a little bit of tweaking, and dug the holes for the black plastic nursery pots. I've never tried this buried-pot watering system before, but I read about it as a good root water system and thought I'd give it a shot. So far, so good.
I finally pulled out the bolted lettuces and replaced them with basils, peppers, and okra. My "Contender" bush beans seedlings are really taking off, too.
Far right are the bush bean seedlings; far left is red-veined sorrel, then red Rubin basil. Big stuff in the middle is French sorrel.
Fingers crossed we get some rain tonight.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

garden bloggers' bloom day

young Mexican Plum tree's first blooms
I missed the last two garden bloggers' bloom days because I had nothing blooming except some rosemary and petunias. Most of this month's blooms are new transplants I planted in the last two weeks. Check out others' blooms from all over the world at Carol's May Dreams Gardens .
I wish this cilantro would wait a little longer to bolt, but its flowers are pretty.
The Lolla Rossa lettuce is bolting, too.
Chinese Fringe Flower (Loropetalum)
Tiny grape hyacinths (muscari) finally bloomed.
blackfoot daisies and strawflower in the new vegetable beds
This one's new to me, Snow Rose (Serissa foetida). Its delicate blooms are  a bit bigger than my pinky fingernail.
I'm experimenting with this bougainvillea. If it doesn't work, I'll stick with blackfoot daisies again.
Also blooming now are rosemary, marigolds, pansies, and a gazania.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

new vegetable beds with (gasp) orange flowers

strawflower in the new vegetable beds
I'm known for my affinity for blue, purple, and white blooms to provide visual coolness during our hot, dry summers, but I'm now adding orange--hot Austin summer orange--flowers to the four new vegetable beds husband Kurt added to our side yard this weekend.

It's those darn marigolds' fault. They started it. I'm not sure if marigolds actually deter pests but they do seem to attract ladybugs, so I continue to plant them with my  spring/summer vegetables.
before: side yard with lots of bushy lantana
Kurt dug out all the lantana and added the first pile of compost and dirt
after: total area now covered with planting beds is about 12'x18'
I've planted Black Krim, Black Prince, Green Cherokee, Juliet, and Lemon Boy tomatoes; "Cleveland" culinary sage, mache, onion sets, and variegated lemon thyme in the new beds. And marigolds, orange strawflower, gazania, and blackfoot daisies.
These okra seedlings will go into the new beds, too.
Our two back yard vegetable beds need some weeding but still have some cool weather plants going strong:
Total area covered by each of these back yard beds is also about 12'x18'

I'll plant "Contender" bush beans back there this weekend. If my tiny tomato seedlings get big enough, they'll go back there, too. I have several pots of basil but am waiting to plant them until night temperatures are consistently above 50.

Kurt's got some plan in his head for building a frame for bird netting for the new beds. Since no vegetables have been planted there before, maybe it will take longer for the insects, diseases, and squirrels to find them. Yeah, right.