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Love those Texas Gardens


lovebenton0
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Is this spring?  :hmmm:  Are you digging into your lush earth right now? Planting little vulnerable seeds?  :blink:

Or are you holding off for that sneaky late freeze?  :unsure:

My peas have been in the ground for about 30 days. It is 80 and they are suffering a bit. By the way - I haven't seen any flowers yet. What are peas supposed to do? When do I get to see peas?

Planted my mesclun today. It will be good to eat in about 30 days or so. End of season for lettuce here is maybe mid-May or so - depending on the weather.

More tender things like basil will go into the ground in about 3-4 weeks.

I've heard great things about Texas wildflowers. Is it the season yet?

It's camellia/azalea/oriental magnolia season here now. Nice blooms this year. The winter was unusual. We didn't get any terrible freezes - but it was uniformly cool for a long time. So we didn't get one flower here - one flower there - they're all opening up now. Robyn

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After passing a certification test, I treated myself to a SunCherry Extra Sweet cherry tomato plant and put it in my garden along with a big stake and lots of compost.

2 days later, leaves are all stripped.  Damn rodents! AAAGGGHH!  Grrr!

luckily, I have 7 more tomato plants.  This time I'm going to cover them with a tent of row cover.

I have dreams of cherry tomatoes in every color. Red, orange, white, black cherries.  My dream is starting to piss me off.

Nothing touches the turnips though.  I have 2 heirloom varieties growing: Golden Ball and White Egg.  Not one leaf has been nibbled, while whole tracts of beets, carrots and lettuce were mobbed before I had the sense to swath everything row cover.

I also have some squash started in the garden which is also doing well under row cover. Starting cukes and some melons now.

Watch out for those cherry tomatoes. I planted them one year. Had dozens. Kept watching and watching - and I ate the first one that got ripe. Delicious. By the next day - the birds had discovered them. They pecked a hole in every single one (guess they didn't like tomatoes - but they had to taste all of them to make sure). Robyn

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I'm seriously thinking of using organza bags to protect my big tomatoes. Also, I bought a lot of row cover to basically swath all my cherry tomato plants.

Yeah, I could just buy a pint of tomatoes at the store, but this is so much more fun somehow. :wink:

I'm growing some white cherry tomatoes (snow something) and I will get to eat some if it kills me (whereupon someone will pop cherry tomato in my slack, cold mouth).

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

--NeroW

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Oh my. Organza bags are soooo Martha. Excellent idea. I am not a tomato eater, but where are you guys finding all of these odd colored cherry tomatoes? I want to pass all of that on to my sister.

As we have had some fine warm days, I am really getting the itch. I suppose I am doomed to participate vicariously. Or at least I can start laying out the gardens for the house.

As spring approaches, we should keep our eyes out for garden tours. I went on one last spring up around Chappel Hill and Brenham that was a lot of fun. I saw some of the most amazing kale. I will try to dig up some information on that and post it here. I got a lot of good ideas for garden design. I got some ideas for what to do with the old swimming pool on the bayside property that has been filled in. The coping is still visible and I have decided that that should be the boundary of my herb garden. It will be interesting and preserve a bit of history of the property. I want to make paths in between beds (it was a big freeform pool). Any suggestions for the path material? Crushed granite?

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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Fifi, are you thinking of Peckerwood Gardens, near Hempstead? It's a private garden that is a "world-renowned repository of rare and endangered plnats, many of them from the Sierra Madre region of Mexico." It has open days from 1-5 pm on the weekends of 20-21 March, 3-4 April, 17-18 April and then some in May and June. I've not been but I've heard raves. Peckerwood Gardens

Crushed granite seems to be the choice here in Austin - I just haven't called for a truckload yet. So my paths are a mix of mulch and stepping stones and dirt and weeds, with no edging - perhaps this year will be the year I remedy that.

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Ah... Peckerwood Gardens may be it. I will have to ask my sister about that. They are not normally open to the public but have open times to some gardening organozation tour. Sorry that my memory is so faulty. But I do think that you have hit it. If you have a chance to tour there, it is worth the trip.

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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Oh my. Organza bags are soooo Martha. Excellent idea. I am not a tomato eater, but where are you guys finding all of these odd colored cherry tomatoes? I want to pass all of that on to my sister.

Actually, I'm also growing out a cherry tomato called "Black Cherry". You can get green cherry tomatoes too. The heirloom craze has left us with all manner of weird looking tomatoes.

There's even a red and yellow striped one called "Roman Candle" if I remember correctly.

I basically grow for quick tomato sauces, eat out of hand, and such. I know the organza bag thing is over the top, but last year, out of 14 plants I got nothing. Zilch. Nada. Rats took it all.

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

--NeroW

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There's also the Garden Conservancy's Open Days - I'm not sure if it's on the same day nationwide, but I've seen some gorgeous places. The Peckerwood is separate from the Garden Conservancy's gig, tho.

AhHa! That is what it was... The Garden Conservancy's open day tour. Thank you for filling in my blanks. So do you know what days are for this year?

jschyun... So where are you getting those seeds or plants? I am actually thinking of a variation on the organza bags. You could sew up some bags in tulle with lace and ruffles. Wouldn't THAT be cool?

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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fifi, that does sound really cool. :biggrin: However, I have spent way too much time babying those damn seedlings, and I saw papermart's site and said "Hallelujah!" They're only 50 cents a bag! And I need a lot.

I got the black cherry tom seeds in trade, but you can get black cherry from some reputable mail order sites. All the good stuff is mail order, except maybe those ReneesGarden seeds. I like those.

Black tomatoes

I'm looking forward to my favorite, SunGold tomatoes. These are orange cherry tomatoes that are the sweetest ever. They're pretty commonplace to find as plants in the bigger stores now. This year, I'm growing some interesting varieties and saving seed, so perhaps I'll be sharing some on egullet come fall, if there's interest. I usually share them on the gardening forums.

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

--NeroW

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WOW! What a cool site. Many thanks for that. The peppers and eggplants are blowing me away.

I am doing a happy dance while dreaming of my next year's garden.

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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so far in Texas only Dallas and Houston are listed: open days

I've been tempted by the info on the pepper thread to order some chilhuacle negros, even tho I've given up vegetable gardening, so I can have some for my mole negro and not have to pay $20 a pound, if they are even available. I've only found them locally once - at Central Market, about a year-and-a-half ago, and I threw a pound in my freezer. All gone now, after two batches of negro....

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so far in Texas only Dallas and Houston are listed:  open days

I've been tempted by the info on the pepper thread to order some chilhuacle negros, even tho I've given up vegetable gardening, so I can have some for my mole negro and not have to pay $20 a pound, if they are even available. I've only found them locally once - at Central Market, about a year-and-a-half ago, and I threw a pound in my freezer. All gone now, after two batches of negro....

And pepper plants are so pretty anyway, and do well stuck around and among your ornamentals. :cool: I plant mine all over; I have very integrated yard and garden areas. :biggrin:

The onions are coming up in bunches, three or four spots now, around irises and roses; the garlic is looking good, all growing around the irises nestled in amongst the rock wall. The glads are getting tall already, and I'm just hoping the peach will decide to bloom again, since it bloomed twice in the "dead" of winter. :blink: I would have have a bushel of peaches from her if the snow hadn't killed them. :shock:

Getting ready to throw new dirt on the veggie garden plot and till through again. I want to make a trip out to Marbridge; we buy a good amount of our plants from them every year. Find things out there that I can't find just anywhere; an adventure :biggrin: for me these days without being able to drive.

I want some of those organza bags! :cool:

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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Getting ready to throw new dirt on the veggie garden plot and till through again.

One year, I threw about an inch or so of "mushroom compost" on my gardens and things went nuts. This was available from one of my local soil/compost suppliers. I take it that this was the leftover compost that the mushrooms were grown on at the big mushroom farms in Madisonville or somewhere. Anyway, it was like a shot of growth hormone in the garden. Has anyone else done this?

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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Attention Texas Tomato Fans

Check out this Press Release from A&M

March 9, 2004

TOMATO 444 NAMED LATEST TEXAS SUPERSTAR

Writer: Jennifer Paul, (972) 952-9232, j-paul@tamu.edu

Contact: Dr. Jerry Parsons, (210) 467-6578, jerryparsons@tamu.edu

SAN ANTONIO - In springtime vegetable gardeners start dreaming about

tomatoes. And this year Texas tomato gardeners might want to consider

Tomato 444. It's the latest plant to be designated as a Texas Superstar.

"Tomato 444 is one of the few hybrid tomato varieties which has natural

plant resistant to tomato spotted wilt virus and the problems it causes,"

said Dr. Jerry Parsons, horticulture specialist with Texas Cooperative

Extension in San Antonio. "The fruit is large and the quality is

excellent. To many people, Tomato 444 tastes better than the ever-popular

Celebrity tomato. Tomato 444 definitely produces more fruit than

Celebrity."

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Welcome to our little old garden area here, Robb. :biggrin:

Thanks for the tomato tip. Now I know just what to look for when cruising for the new variety for our garden this year. :cool: My mouth, she is drooling, er watering already.

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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WOW! What a cool site. Many thanks for that. The peppers and eggplants are blowing me away.

I am doing a happy dance while dreaming of my next year's garden.

Hopefully, you will not become as obsessed as me. I still do the happy dance, but it's much slower, due to aching joints, hehe. :laugh:

Actually, I'll have some seed of all sorts of varieties this year, bagged and fermented to prevent disease. I'll let you guys know late this year what I have and give em out. I'm curious to see how they do in Texas!

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

--NeroW

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Actually, I'll have some seed of all sorts of varieties this year, bagged and fermented to prevent disease. I'll let you guys know late this year what I have and give em out. I'm curious to see how they do in Texas!

I'll sign up to help with that experiment. :laugh: We can probably get a good cross test around the state going here. :cool:

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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There is a thread going on kale that Richard started. I saw some of these kale plants on the garden tour last year. They are absolutely spectacular plants. Have any of you grown any of these? The redbor was particularly striking. I can see it as a feature plant in a conspicuous place in the garden.

Shouldn't we plant kale as a cool season plant down here?

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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I've grown the red winterbor variety that was so easy to grow it was ridiculous. My dad had bought the packet and it sat in my little seed bag for a year or two until I decided to throw the seeds on the ground to get rid of them. I never watered at all, or maybe on accident, and soon there were very nice kale plants! Green with red veins on that variety, not so curly leaved. I mostly ate them steamed because I never expected to have a crop and had no idea what to do with them. Now, I know better. :biggrin:

Last year I bought some of the lacinato kale seeds, but forgot to sow them. Maybe this year I'll try them. This is the big black "dinosaur" kale this is all the rage now. Sounds like they'll be good in a gratin.

---yes kale is a cool season green. In fact, the taste is supposed to get better with a light frost.

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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bought artichokes, potatoes and spinach, and plenty of heirloom tomato seeds.  Ok, and like a madwoman, I had to get a six-pack of celebrity toms that will doubtless suffer an early death, but I had to do it.  It's a sickness with me and tomato plants.  Anyone have suggestions as to how to raise a healthy 'choke in these parts?

How are your artichokes doing? :huh: I have been wanting to start some, and really would like to know what you are doing with yours. Soil mix, sun? Position in your garden? How many 'chokes have you put in? And where are you located in the state? :biggrin:

Anyone else growing artichokes, too?

Edited by lovebenton0 (log)

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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Hope you don't mind me posting in the Texas forum (I know it's a whole nother country :wink: ).

I got my garden planted out yesterday. Creole Tomatoes, Big Boys, Hawaiians (they do really well in humid, hot S. Louisiana), and a couple of plants each of about 5 varieties of heirlooms (mostly for looks, I like all those weird purple ones and funky shaped red ones), and I potted some cherry and grape tomatoes (which are cool because they will make all summer if I keep them out of the heat).

Butter Beans, cow peas, lady peas, zipper cream peas, various bell peppers, cucumbers, eggplant, japanese eggplant, more garlic, elephant garlic, giant assortment of herbs, carrots, blue potatoes (which do horribly in damp riversand, but I get a few and I like the way they look) and finally Okra , lots and lots of okra (it goes with the tomatoes and the basil perfectly and will make all summer if you keep it picked). Usually okra is the first and the last thing to make in deep south Gardens.

I also potted a whole bunch of varieties of hot peppers. Most of the seeds were in unmarked bags saved from good ones I got last year. I started them last month in the house and I have no clue what I am growing, except that they were saved because they were either really prolific last summer or because they were really hot. Peppers, much like the okra, will continue to make all summer if watered and picked frequently.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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and I potted some cherry and grape tomatoes (which are cool because they will make all summer if I keep them out of the heat).

This may have been mentioned up-thread or maybe on another thread but I think it bears bringing up again. I am referring to Jaymes' absolute stroke of genius. She was raising tomatoes on her balconey and they would always quit setting fruit when it got hot. It seems that the roots were getting hot and that was the problem. "Ah Ha!" says Jaymes. "Just plant the suckers in styrofoam coolers!" And it worked. Like I said, sheer genius.

Then it occurs to me that if you are inclined to want a container that is a bit more decorative, there are a lot of pots available that look a lot like clay but are actually made of light weight urethane foam. They wouldn't be quite as good an insulator as the styrofoam cooler but would probably do a pretty good job of keeping down the heat on the roots.

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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Brooks... What is your source for lady peas and cream peas? Also, it has been damn difficult to find a pea that we used to grow when I was a kid called a cream crowders.

Also... The "saved seed" peppers could get interesting, especially if you were growing a lot of varieties and they may have cross pollinated. We will be expecting pictures.

What about mirlitons? My sister has some in a bowl on the bar in her kitchen that have sprouted and are attacking a rack where she hangs stuff. We had been wondering how to get them started early in the season (like how do you get mirlitons before mirlitons make mirlitons :wacko: ) but it looks like these held over just fine.

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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First the merliton question:

Merlitons are not planted at my house. THey just happen! :wink: I planted a couple of vines (when, in retrospect, one would have been plenty :shock: ) when we first moved into this old barn of a house. Every year we eat, freeze, pickle, give away, etc. a ton of them but inevitably a number of them end up on the ground. Every spring they just come up and start up the fence. I have taken to planting these cool swan neck gourds right in the middle of the merlitons and they don't seem to mind each other and it makes a great cover for an otherwise unremarkable section of picket fence in a far corner of my yard (yard is about an acre and a half). I love those gourds. Picking day for them is usually like a treasure hunt, as the vines are so leafy you really don't know where they will be and they make a ton.

As far as seeds go I still am able to get everything locally (although that is changing as the Northshore of Lake Ponchatrain has become suburbia to a large degree (at least Mandeville, Slidell and Covington) ) at a couple of really old (over 100 years) family owned feed and seeds. My favorite is Marsolan's in Covington. They sell seeds by the pound and you weigh them your self on a scale that was new during the first FDR Administration. The floors are 2X12 heart pine and the building is framed in cypress. Bay doors on both sides that are always open and they sell biddies, pea fowl, shoats, racing pigeon supplies, stuff for cockfighters (which is legal here, don't any of you animal rights people sed me anote, I don't have anything to do with it) odd feeds of all sorts (many of our new "gentleman farmers" (think the same people who buy "Ranchettes" in Blanco :wink::laugh: ) like to raise exotic stuff and Marsolan's has neatly moved into this niche market. I think that all of those varieties of weird looking chickens are fun and am glad that people like to do it. It makes them feel like real rural folk and they make nice, live yard art. They sell actual farm supplies (tanks, gates, cattle gaps, vet stuff, allkinds of agricultural implements and poison. They also will sell virtually any kind of home canned item anybody brings in and wants to put on the shelf-jelly, preserves, pickles of all sorts, etc. It's a great place and I hope they an make it through the invasion of the big box retailers (we recently got a Lowes to add to the Home Depot, Wal Mart Traffic jam in Mandeville).

The zipper cream seeds come from my mom. She orders them from some guy in Georgia. I will get his name as he is a pretty good resource (he is also on line, but I can't figure out which pea guy he is from google)

We have always saved seeds. Peppers, watermelons, gourds, yellow squash, and poppies all seem to do pretty well year after year. Poppies in particular are something that I have had really good luck with from seeds. A couple of years ago someone gave me a double pink variety (yes, the same ones used in opium production) and they are not only gorgeous, but great bloomers. I have managed to start them from seeds for three or four years running. It is very satisfying and the economic thrill is pretty extreme as well. Plants just cost too damn much and I like starting from seeds anyway, as it gives you the opportunity to pick out the really healthy starts and bag the rest without feeling cheated.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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