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Love those Texas Gardens


lovebenton0
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I should perhaps clarify that by beer coolers I meant the styrofoam sort--don't go drilling holes in the beer/bait/ammo repository.  With all due respect conferred to Kevin Fowler, of course.

Oh yes, peppers.  what sort?

Love the beer cooler idea. :wub: Can't wait to try it.

Okra. We have grown the Clemson Spineless here, but decided to try the Louisiana Velvet variety two years ago, and I personally prefer them. Eight foot tall plants, and you can let them get a bit longer (they tend to long and thin) than the Clemson. I much prefer them for pickling and just as good for cooking. We like to spot them in as a later crop when some plants in the garden, such as the early tomatoes, or spring greens, are done for the season. Extreme heat resistant and very prolific; we pick some everyday.

Ah, peppers. . . I like to try something different every year, to add to my regulars: Jalapenos, Cayenne, Tabasco, and both hot and sweet bananas. The small hots, and the fire breathing habaneros and sweeter Anaheims do well around here. The Anaheims are fabulous roasted. I've put up enough habaneros to last for years :cool: and supply half of everyone I know. Not as fond of the larger bells, as not very successful in our garden, and I'm the only one that eats them at our house. I'm thinking of growing giant Thais again, they were so satisfying a couple years ago

Always looking for something new. Maybe poblanos?

Judith Love

North of the 30th parallel

One woman very courteously approached me in a grocery store, saying, "Excuse me, but I must ask why you've brought your dog into the store." I told her that Grace is a service dog.... "Excuse me, but you told me that your dog is allowed in the store because she's a service dog. Is she Army or Navy?" Terry Thistlewaite

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My mother had a Tabasco pepper in a huge pot for several years just because it was so pretty with the multicolored peppers on it. It was her year round Christmas tree. She would drag it in on the porch for the winter. She had this "pet" mocking bird that used to fly into the porch to steal peppers from it. They had a "relationship" and would talk to each other.

The only reason I ever grew jalapenos was so I could let them ripen to a bright red. You can rarely find them in the stores. They are so cheerful in salsas and such.

I always wanted to grow poblanos and try to baby them with drip irrigation and a lot of compost. I dream of growing them with nice thick walls.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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My mother had a Tabasco pepper in a huge pot for several years just because it was so pretty with the multicolored peppers on it. It was her year round Christmas tree. She would drag it in on the porch for the winter. She had this "pet" mocking bird that used to fly into the porch to steal peppers from it. They had a "relationship" and would talk to each other.

The only reason I ever grew jalapenos was so I could let them ripen to a bright red. You can rarely find them in the stores. They are so cheerful in salsas and such.

I always wanted to grow poblanos and try to baby them with drip irrigation and a lot of compost. I dream of growing them with nice thick walls.

Red jalapenos . . . mmmmm-hmmm. I make red jalapeno jelly (helly jelly :biggrin: ) out of mine every year. Really pretty in the golden salsas also.

My tabascos are around one of my crepe myrtles, and love it there. They were leafless, but still green up until a couple days ago, but we had a hard freeze, 21, last night, and tonight again, so I'm sure I'll have to start new plants again in the spring. I have a pulp pot going in 'frig and continue to age some as I bottle some for sauce. Getting hotter every season.

The Anaheims were very thick walled; I was pleased with them, but look forward to trying the poblanos, hoping for the same result.

Want to try some tomatillos this year. Anyone know a good source. Tips on helping them fruit?

Judith Love

North of the 30th parallel

One woman very courteously approached me in a grocery store, saying, "Excuse me, but I must ask why you've brought your dog into the store." I told her that Grace is a service dog.... "Excuse me, but you told me that your dog is allowed in the store because she's a service dog. Is she Army or Navy?" Terry Thistlewaite

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RE - the planting of tomatoes in those white styrofoam beer coolers.

I got that idea because the only space I have for my "garden" is on my condo deck. And I'd plant tomatoes in those black plastic pots, but every June, they'd just burn up.

A friend, who is a master gardener, told me that the problem is that tomatoes stop setting when their ROOTS get hot -- whatever it is -- 92 or something -- NOT when the ambient temperature gets hot. He said that in order to keep your tomatoes setting longer into the summer, water deeply and less often, in order to encourage deep roots, and mulch heavily. I said that my tomatoes aren't in the ground, and he said, well, he was sorry, but he didn't think there was much I could do.

But suddenly I realized that those black plastic pots were just soaking up sunshine and cooking the roots. That's when I figured out I could buy some of those big white coolers, poke holes in the bottoms with a screwdriver, turn the lid upside down to make a drain saucer, and plant my tomatoes in those.

It absolutely worked like a charm. I had wonderful tomatoes for most of the summer.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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It is now official. Jaymes is a genius! :biggrin:

I found this source for tomatillos. This one had the most information. I have never ordered from this site but it sure seems to have good information.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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We moved to our new home froma n apartment this past summer and I am happy to report that I planted my first veggies about a week ago and they are already sprouting. I have Radiches, beets, carrots and sweet peas. I also have mint, rosemary and basil. I am planning on expanding my herb collection to have thyme and several others.

So far two fruit trees have taken up residence in the backyard. A Meyer Lemon one that is already blossoming, and a black turkish fig that is sprouting nicely but is probably a couple of years away from fruits.

For the summer 2 main items will take over the small garden: tomatoes and peppers.

Elie

Did you plant directly into your garden plot? How did your babies do through the hard frost that hit us two nights ago? Or are you out of the areas it affected?

We had to move a few plants outside to make way for people last weekend. :hmmm: The bay trees did fine out on the deck; fennel is feathery and full, about two foot tall now, a green wispy ball behind the shed; our crazy peach tree is still blooming right through the 21 degree night and starting to leaf again. I panicked last night and we brought the bays back in for awhile. Mr lovebenton had knee surgery today (not because he moved the bays :laugh: ) so it will be a few weeks before he can till the garden.

Anyone have some good tips for seed starters? The last couple of years mine seem to want to shoot up too fast and be leggy.

Judith Love

North of the 30th parallel

One woman very courteously approached me in a grocery store, saying, "Excuse me, but I must ask why you've brought your dog into the store." I told her that Grace is a service dog.... "Excuse me, but you told me that your dog is allowed in the store because she's a service dog. Is she Army or Navy?" Terry Thistlewaite

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It is now official. Jaymes is a genius! :biggrin:

I found this source for tomatillos. This one had the most information. I have never ordered from this site but it sure seems to have good information.

Thanks for the tomatillos link, fifi. Interesting site. Just two of us at the house now, so we do need three plants at least. :laugh:

I'm wondering if that root burn is what hits my thyme and tarragon every year? Be worth a cooler to find out.

Judith Love

North of the 30th parallel

One woman very courteously approached me in a grocery store, saying, "Excuse me, but I must ask why you've brought your dog into the store." I told her that Grace is a service dog.... "Excuse me, but you told me that your dog is allowed in the store because she's a service dog. Is she Army or Navy?" Terry Thistlewaite

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I don't have a problem with thyme - mine are in full sun - but tarragon doesn't fare well in the central Texas area - I just substitute Mexican Marigold Mint - the flavor is similar enough and the plant is gorgeous in the fall with the tiny gold flowers. Very hardy - my current one is about five years old at least - I just cut it back in February with the rest of the perennials.

Are you watering the thyme too much? As a mediterranean plant, it does well when treated xerically - loves rocky well-draining soil and doesn't like wet roots.

You might want to pick up a copy of Lucinda Hutson's Herb Gardening Cookbook - even the first edition is fine, and you can often find it at Half-Price books real cheap - great information about herbs that do well here in Central Texas and terrifc recipes - the basil torta and the tequila margarita cheeseball are to die for.

Edited by memesuze (log)
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I don't have a problem with thyme - mine are in full sun - but tarragon doesn't fare well in the central Texas area - I just substitute Mexican Marigold Mint - the flavor is similar enough and the plant is gorgeous in the fall with the tiny gold flowers. Very hardy - my current one is about five years old at least - I just cut it back in February with the rest of the perennials.

Are you watering the thyme too much? As a mediterranean plant, it does well when treated xerically - loves rocky well-draining soil and doesn't like wet roots.

You might want to pick up a copy of Lucinda Hutson's Herb Gardening Cookbook - even the first edition is fine, and you can often find it at Half-Price books real cheap - great information about herbs that do well here in Central Texas and terrifc recipes - the basil torta and the tequila margarita cheeseball are to die for.

Yum, the basil torta sounds good already. :biggrin: And I have multi varieties of basil by the bagful every year. Oregano, too. And the oregano usually likes the same treatment as the thyme, but the thyme looks beautiful and grows, like a weed, in the spring then when the summer hits it browns out. My rosemarys, as I've said, are hugely satisfying. Maybe I should try the thyme out there with them. Or just stick it in one of the rock walls. :cool:

And the MX marigold mint is a good idea; haven't tried that yet. If it reacts the same as the marigolds I have here, it should do well anywhere.

Anyone growing horseradishes? I've never tried, and I love it.

Judith Love

North of the 30th parallel

One woman very courteously approached me in a grocery store, saying, "Excuse me, but I must ask why you've brought your dog into the store." I told her that Grace is a service dog.... "Excuse me, but you told me that your dog is allowed in the store because she's a service dog. Is she Army or Navy?" Terry Thistlewaite

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I have to jump in here, I'm psyched, wildflowers and bulbs beginning to bloom outside, seeds started inside:

I'm going to try Cherokee Purple, Stupice, Tangerine, Anna Russian, Old Virginia and Box Car Willie tomatoes. All new varieties for me this go round. Although if I find an Arkansas Traveller at Buchanan's again, I'll plant it - the one tomato that made me weak in the knees last summer. Yum, yum, but only got a couple off the plant the whole summer.

Also a few varieties of sweet peppers. I have a little more space that hasn't been mentally staked out for anything, for impulse gardening.

Last year was my first at a new house and I did not pick a good spot for the veggie patch. This year I have a better spot and will try raised beds in the square foot-ish fashion.

I love the tip about Mexican Mint Marigold!! That definitely makes it into the herb garden this year.

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I'm in So California, started a thread there after seeing this one and it died.

I just started some Kellogg's Breakfast, Marianne's Peace, Sungold, Matina (those failed for some reason), and Brandywine. I only have space for about 6 plants, so I have to be picky. Last year Sungold was the only decent tomato I had. I might also try Eva Purple Ball this year and that Aunt Ruby's German Green or Evergreen. Decisions decisions.

The rats got all the tomatoes in our coop garden last year, so I'm staking everything this year. They couldn't reach the staked tomatoes.

I'm really excited about melons and squash this year. Growing Zephyr (Johnny's), Costata Romanesco, Rond de Nice (our favorite), and 8 ball. Also, looking forward to seeing some Petit Gris de Rennes ripen as well as a Blacktail Mountain watermelon. I'll be saving seed, so if you're interested, I hope to have some come harvest time.

As usual I'll be growing tons of basil. But not yet. Too early for us here.

I love cold Dinty Moore beef stew. It is like dog food! And I am like a dog.

--NeroW

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I'm in So California, started a thread there after seeing this one and it died.

Don't give up on it too soon. The long running one, in General Food Topics I think, sinks to the bottom then pops up again. It has been doing that for a very long time.

Besides, I think it would be fun to bop over to the other forum and see what folks are growing.

How many kinds of basil do you grow?

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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If someone from California can join - I can too :smile: . I'm in north Florida - right near the I-10 corridor. Zone 8A. Same growing problems as a lot of Texas.

I don't grow too too much in the way of veggies (too many bugs in the summer). But I do like to grow some spring mix. Will be planting seeds in a couple of weeks. I like Martha Stewart's mesclun mix from KMart. It will only last a few months before the heat gets to it - but it's fun while it lasts. I am also trying some peas this year. Will be planting them this week. Maybe I'll wind up with something before it gets too hot for peas.

I do grow herbs and lots of butterfly type plants. But - apart fom the stuff that's perennial and in the ground already - it's too early (we usually plant annuals here around the first or second week of March).

By the way - we haven't had really cold weather this winter yet. No hard freezes. Looked yesterday - and my milkweed is loaded with monarch caterpillars. Robyn

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How many kinds of basil do you grow?

This year? I have seed for, but not space for:

Basils:

Genovese (my all time fave)

Spicy Globe (never tried before)

Dwarf Lemon (was nice lemony scent but couldn't find use for it)

Mrs. Burns Lemon (got in trade last year, haven't used yet)

Red Rubin (lovely color, IMHO not as good tasting as Genovese)

Cinnamon (very cinnamony, but couldn't find a use for it)

Sweet (bought this on a whim last year)

I know I have one or two other varieties, but they escape my memory at the moment. I'll probably end up growing them all and trying to squeeze them in somewhere because I just love smelling the leaves while I'm in the garden. I wish I cooked more.

I ran out of my Siam Queen Basil last year and forget to save seeds. Oh well. That's a damn good basil IMHO.

I have extra seeds of pretty much all of the varieties if anyone is interested. Actually, I used to do a lot of seed trading on gardenweb.com but I'm pretty much tired of that now.

I kind of envy you Texas gardeners, because you can easily have tomatoes by April or May. At least I've seen pics of such. I'll be waiting until June at least. Maybe it's my poor gardening skills though.

Edited by jschyun (log)

I love cold Dinty Moore beef stew. It is like dog food! And I am like a dog.

--NeroW

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How many kinds of basil do you grow?

This year? I have seed for, but not space for:

Basils:

Genovese (my all time fave)

Spicy Globe (never tried before)

Dwarf Lemon (was nice lemony scent but couldn't find use for it)

Mrs. Burns Lemon (got in trade last year, haven't used yet)

Red Rubin (lovely color, IMHO not as good tasting as Genovese)

Cinnamon (very cinnamony, but couldn't find a use for it)

Sweet (bought this on a whim last year)

I know I have one or two other varieties, but they escape my memory at the moment. I'll probably end up growing them all and trying to squeeze them in somewhere because I just love smelling the leaves while I'm in the garden. I wish I cooked more.

Welcome to our little garden spot in TX, jschyun and robyn. :biggrin: From coast to coast to coast, join us any time.

In my own experience. . .

Love that Genovese, too; even does well potted in partial sun. My first one was great potted on my back deck with only morning sun. It was so pretty I thought I'd try it back there just so I could enjoy watching it grow.

The spicy globe is lovely, little balls of tight growth fragrance. Leaves are small, blooms all over, very tasty with heavier dishes, beef and lamb, and lovely with eggplant also. Not quite as warming as the cinnamon, but I enjoy it. Same suggestions for the cinnamon basil, it is my preference to use with roasted lamb. I lay the leaves all over the top of the leg of lamb, stick some in all the pockets, with garlic cloves. Good for other heavy meat dishes also. It doesn't really taste or flume like cinnamon, but gives a warm satisfying flavor to your dishes that fills the house, and your mouth. Not overwhelming, it pulls the flavors together well in a dish.

I use all of them when fresh, and dry the excess, a little all summer as I pick. Easy to air dry and keep well in sealed zip plastic bags for use all winter; that goes for most basils. The spicy globe has such little leaves you have to watch it closer when air drying, as with thyme and oregano, so it doesn't lose aroma. I'm a basil addict, so grow enough every year to use fresh, share some with friends, and dry for the winter. :blush:

The lemon basil is so fragrant and tasty with chicken and fish, and a wonderful addition fresh to toss in veggie stir frys right before you serve. I put up some sweet banana peppers this summer, sweet pickled with lemon basil sprigs. That was a great success.

I haven't found a basil I can't use with tomatoes, which variety depends on your taste and the other ingredients.

In general I find that the basils just love to grow almost anywhere you stick them. :biggrin: I stick them all over. They are too pretty to have to stay only in the garden, and I like most of my herbs closer to me. Some spots better than others, of course. But, they'll let you know.

I kind of envy you Texas gardeners, because you can easily have tomatoes by April or May.  At least I've seen pics of such.  I'll be waiting until June at least.  Maybe it's my poor gardening skills though.

But you do get them. :biggrin: And plenty of us wait until June for a real tomato crop. Those late freezes we get, 8 out of 10 years here in Central TX, on the last of March, can wreak havoc with our early planting schemes. We are west of Austin, toward our hill country and the temps get lower here by about 5 degrees in the winter (and that much higher in the summer). My veggie garden plot, about 15x25, is too big for me to cover when the cold hits. Some years start earlier than others for tomatoes.

What's the earliest you all feel comfortable planting in the garden? Or your planting schedule? :laugh:

Judith Love

North of the 30th parallel

One woman very courteously approached me in a grocery store, saying, "Excuse me, but I must ask why you've brought your dog into the store." I told her that Grace is a service dog.... "Excuse me, but you told me that your dog is allowed in the store because she's a service dog. Is she Army or Navy?" Terry Thistlewaite

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Start seeds six weeks before the last frost, which in Austin is about the 3rd or 4th week in March. If you're in Houston, I'd start some seeds tomorrow. I planted my best seedling crop two years ago in Lockhart (same zone as Austin) on the Ides of March, then had to scramble to get some row cover one night of a late frost just before Easter. You can keep milk jugs filled with water on the north side of your tender shoots on such nights, and it will keep them warm.

By tender shoots, I should perhaps clarify that I'm still talking about plants; the dear spouse reading over my shoulder has a filthy mind...

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What's the earliest you all feel comfortable planting in the garden? Or your planting schedule? :laugh:

Our official "all clear" date is about March 15. So I don't put in summer annuals and herbs like basil until then. I cheat and plant lettuce seeds earlier because the growing season for lettuce is so short.

By the way - one great way to use up all that extra basil is to make pesto. Easy to make - and easy to cook with. Robyn

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Last year on the general gardening thread, someone was covered up with basil and couldn't possibly make another year's supply of pesto. I suggested buying a lamb and feeding the little sucker up on the basil. Should be pretty tasty. :laugh:

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Most of the plants that make our cuisine unique are readily available at Fiesta or Asian Markets. And that's too bad, because the extra trouble can be a lot of fun. Check out the well-hung papaya trees behind the brick wall at Dunlavy and Fairview :raz: hubbahubba! :raz:

I just got a'hold of two olive saplings, and they are game if not enthusiastic for this climate. Previous attempts at growing capers have failed miserably in this humidity, but I still hold out hope for their success at the ancestral home in Bastrop County.

Anyone who has succeeded in coaxing a Durian or Tamarind seed into healthy adolescence, please let me know!

Nam Pla moogle; Please no MacDougall! Always with the frugal...

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My dad actually got some papayas to produce one year. Some seeds voluntarily sprouted from the compost pile. He moved the little plants and had a mild winter. I think he only had to cover them once. We had the most interesting compost pile. My mother and dad were adventurous cooks and gardeners, always "bit" on anything unusual that showed up in markets, and everthing went into the compost pile. One year a mystery squash vine showed up. Mom let it go on to produce and no one remembered seeing a squash like that so we figured it was some sort of natural hybrid. We dubbed it the "mystery squash" and had fun figuring out what to do with it.

For all of you tomato fans, our own rancho_gordo put a link to his site in the Dried Beans thread. Neat site, and he has some descriptions of interesting tomatoes. He doesn't sell seed but you might find the descriptions and history of some of these interesting.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Permission to participate? Former Texas gardener here; current California gardener. Conditions are similar enough to pretend that they're the same. (Though I have fewer bugs and have never seen a spider mite here! :raz: )

Anyone ever tried pea shoots? I got some seeds this year from the Kitazawa folks. First time out. Still too wet to plant them right now, but soon....

amanda

Googlista

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Permission to participate? Former Texas gardener here; current California gardener. Conditions are similar enough to pretend that they're the same. (Though I have fewer bugs and have never seen a spider mite here!  :raz: )

:laugh::laugh::laugh: We're friendly. Love all you foreigners here, Mudpuppie. :wink:

No spider mites? No wonder people move to So Cal.

Judith Love

North of the 30th parallel

One woman very courteously approached me in a grocery store, saying, "Excuse me, but I must ask why you've brought your dog into the store." I told her that Grace is a service dog.... "Excuse me, but you told me that your dog is allowed in the store because she's a service dog. Is she Army or Navy?" Terry Thistlewaite

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Hey, not a foreigner, just an ex-pat! Big difference. My native Texan credentials stand!

Though the spider mite shortage is definitely a plus, I must bemoan the okra shortage.

(I'm in the NoCal Central Valley, by the way. I have no idea why people move to SoCal. :blink: )

amanda

Googlista

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