February 18th, 2011 by Brianna
We have seeeeds sprouting! Dinosaur kale, rhubarb chard, and detroit dark red beets.
The spearmint and the rosemary are growing new leaves.
Are my potted aloes dying? The leaves are looking awfully brown and floppy. I don’t understand; I brought them in for the freeze. I did repot them, and move them to sunnier locations. I hope they’ll recover.
The pup has dug sizable holes in a previously undug bed: annoying.
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February 7th, 2011 by Brianna
By now, many of the plants described in the last post are dead. They all fell to dog maulings. *sigh* Ah well. Puppies will be puppies, I suppose, and I couldn’t be relied on to sprinkle cayenne around everything once a week.
The one thing that survived the pup last fall, other than things I protected in pots, was the Pink Turk’s Cap. But we’ll see how it weathered the freeze last week, Austin’s coldest in something like 20 years.
All of our gardening efforts since the holidays have been focused on building a fenced potager (kitchen garden) in the backyard. Nathan combined a chain link gate, some T-bar poles, and some simple steel fencing to create a dog barrier, and we picked up three 4×4 sq ft gardening kits from Natural Gardener. The result is fun and encouraging. Photos soon.
Over the weekend we planted dinosaur kale, carrot, detroit dark red beet, rhubarb chard, spinach and nasturtium seeds in the raised beds. We’re growing turnip greens and spearmint in containers. Radish, lemon mint, watermelon, and okra seeds are on the way from Seed Savers Exchange.
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October 26th, 2010 by Brianna
Ben, Maddie and I spent the entire morning in the garden today. The weather was blissfully sunny and cool, with a light breeze. I pulled up a few Cedar Elm and Hackberry seedlings, scooped dog poop, and watered potted plants. I planted a Spineless Prickly Pear Cactus and moved a couple of Coral Nymph Salvia plants nearby.
The spineless prickly pear was Ben’s choice at our now-nearest garden store, Red Barn Garden Center. Truthfully, I’m not crazy about the place; it doesn’t compare to Barton Springs Nursery or Natural Gardener in terms of native plant selection. But Red Barn occupies space that used to be a miniature golf course, it’s big and open, with long, wide pathways, and it’s a great place for toddlers to run off energy. I’ve been wanting a spineless prickly pear for years; this is my first time to grow one. I was pretty pleased last week when I told Ben that he could choose a plant from Red Barn to add to our garden, and he chose this one.
My favorite plant in the garden right now is our Pink Turk’s Cap:
It hasn’t stopped blooming since I planted it last month.
Meanwhile our puppy Ash has been -erm- rearranging many of our other plantings.
I’m hoping that our Red Turk’s Cap and Chile Pequin survive their most recent dog maulings. In case not, I harvested and planted a few seeds from the Chile Pequin this morning.
Most exciting this month has been watching our potted Roma Tomato plant flower and fruit:
Strangely, this is the closest I’ve ever come to actually eating tomatoes off of one of my plants, despite the fact that our new backyard is moderately shaded. I guess the instability of the whole container/cage set-up deters squirrels? The container is plastic, and not particularly heavy, so the whole thing tips fairly easily. Or maybe hand-carting it around to the sunniest spots of the yard has actually helped? Yes, I’ve been doing that when I think to.
Remind me to tell you the story of the 4 cubic yards of shredded cedar mulch that Nathan shoveled into our backyard a couple of weeks ago.
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September 23rd, 2010 by Brianna
The kids and I tinkered around in the front yard this morning, and in the hardwood mulch in our front bed, we found a forest of thin-stemmed mushrooms, already drying out at 11:30a:
Leaf litter from our cedar elms lies on top of the mulch. We’ve had so much rain lately, and this spot is so shady, that the mulch is staying very moist.
To give some perspective, the mushrooms are in a bed that is mostly an uninspired mass planting of liriope created by the PO:
Ben and I watched a dragonfly perch on the liriope leaves, as it hunted the mosquitoes that so love the wet, shady mulch. They were out in full force this morning. Must get deet-free mosquito spray.
Ben and Maddie toddled around with their watering cans a bit after looking at the mushrooms, then we came inside for a pb & j lunch.
We didn’t plant as much last weekend as we did the weekend before. We had a kids’ swimming party to go to and some cooking obligations, too. But I did manage to get a beautyberry plant in the ground, a red Turk’s cap, and three lyre leaf sage plants in the ground.
I’m itching for more limestone from Austin Memorial Park Cemetery to finish borders around new beds in the backyard. Won’t scratch that itch today, since it’s so wet still and AMP will be a mud pit. Maybe this weekend.
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September 19th, 2010 by Brianna
In our rock garden this morning
A Gulf Coast Toad (Bufo valliceps) hopped among the limestone rocks. I disturbed him while I was transplanting a couple of plants out of that bed, and I was lucky enough to snap a few photos before he took cover under a new rock.
Here he is again from the other side.
That’s Inland sea oats out of focus in the foreground.
The internet tells me that Gulf Coast Toads are common in Austin yards, but it’s still a delight to see one in ours. Frogs and toads are such good bio-indicators for health of the land that it feels like a pat on the back.
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September 13th, 2010 by Brianna
- Tropical Sage (Scarlet Sage and Coral Nymph)
- Pink Turk’s Cap
- Inland Sea Oats
- Mystic Spires Salvia
- Gulf Coast Penstemon
- Holly Fern
Still in their nursery pots are Beautyberry and Red Turk’s Cap. They’re sitting in the shade, and I watered them this morning.
Over the weekend Nathan hauled in two loads of limestone from the cemetery on Hancock Drive, too, to make borders for new beds.
All of my wishing for Fall hasn’t quite made it so. Temps were still well into the 90s over the weekend, and I (literally) dripped sweat as I dug and mulched and placed limestone borders.
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September 10th, 2010 by Brianna
We are now gardening in dry shade, with kids (ages 3 and almost 2) and a dog. I want to grow food, and I want to provide food and habitat for urban wildlife, too.
I picked up these plants at Barton Springs Nursery, and hope to get them in the ground (somewhere) this weekend:
Inland Sea Oats
Gulf Coast Penstemon (Will this one make it in low light? Dunno. I’ll let you know how it goes.)
I’d like to add yellow columbine and Turk’s Cap soon, too.
We plan to build raised veggie boxes this weekend.
Babies are awake from nap now. That’s all.
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September 8th, 2010 by Brianna
According to our closest Weather Underground station, we’ve received around 7 in of rain so far from Tropical Storm Hermine. Estimates in the Statesman for this area are higher, at closer to a foot of rain yesterday (Tuesday) alone. While our turf grass in the front is very, very happy, our dry creek bed and bare soil in the back are less so. The creek overflowed onto the back patio last night, and water flowed fast down across the slope of our yard. Today you can clearly see the path the water took in some spots, as well as small piles of debris left behind by the rushing water, sure signs of erosion:
At the top of this weekend’s list are creek clean-up and planting or mulching bare soil patches.
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September 5th, 2010 by Brianna
Green June Beetles (Cotinis nitida) have been whizzing over the open spot in our backyard in large numbers this weekend.
Nathan took this excellent photo.
We IDed the beetle on BugGuide.Net.
The beetles came out around 1 pm this afternoon and yesterday afternoon and have stayed out for the warmest part of the day. A few amorous couples are finding cozy spots to share in the leaf litter in our yard.
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September 4th, 2010 by Brianna
This morning it was cooler outside than in, and the whole Seeds family spent the morning in the backyard. This will be our first full Fall in this space. It was about this time last year when I first fell in love with our shady yard’s cedar elms and live oaks.
We spent most of our time this morning cleaning up after our 6-month old puppy, Ash, who decided to mulch the dry creek bed that BioGardener just designed and installed for us (before and after photos to come).
We shoveled all the mulched rocks out, we’re cleaning them, then replacing them in the dry creek. Quite a pain. And something tells me this won’t be the last time.
We found all sorts of cool stuff to explore in the backyard this morning. The new rocks in the creek bed are an endless source of interest for B and M. We also found the first falling cedar elm leaves, snail shells, a cricket, and a possum (?) jaw bone buried in the soil.
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