Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Over Achiever

I happened to catch this scene with my blackberry while driving home one day in 2010. It was Spring and just beautiful. I call it Over Achiever because of that one sprinkler that has been ran over far too many times. It shoots higher than the others, straight for the sky.

How often do you feel "Ran Over" and bounce back by aiming higher than before?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Weather Update


I am THRILLED by this forecast - look at all the rain we will get!!! Yes, 20% chance of rain is a BIG deal for North Texas, especially since a normal day is 0%.

I just finished setting up my new Jump Start grow light system that I got for Christmas - an awesome gift from my sister, Thank You Heather!!!

You can get yours here

Do you use a grow light or natural light for your seedlings?

Gardening Methods

* I was not paid for or asked to review the following Gardening Methods. This post was written to share my experiences.

Today I want to share with you two gardening methods that I am currently using, the Lasagna Garden method and the GROW BIOINTENSIVE method.

When I started my first Backyard Garden in 2010, I quickly realized that I had NO CLUE what I was doing and I eventually gave up on it for the year. The ironic part was that AFTER I gave up, the cucumbers grew. We found 3 large cukes buried beneath the weeds.

Lasagna Garden

In the Fall of 2010, I decided to invest the time I would of have spent gardening learning about gardening. After a thorough Google Search, I learned there was a no dig, no till method called the Lasagna Garden. It sounded pretty easy, so I ordered the book and read it in a matter of days. It was so exciting!

The premise is that you layer sheets of compost on the ground without any digging or tilling. Once you have piled 24 inches worth of sheet compost, you cover the garden with black plastic and let it "cook" all winter long. When spring rolls around you will have rich, loomy garden soil that the earth worms have spent the winter working on for you. In addition, the ground beneath the Lasagna Garden will be loosened from all that earth worm activity and will allow plenty of space for plant roots to grow.

If your new to Gardening or not looking to invest a lot of time in the Garden, I highly recommend this method. It takes about 20 to 30 minutes to set up a 35 square foot Lasagna Garden and takes very little gardening knowledge to create and maintain. To get started, order the book here

I had a lot of success with the Lasagna Garden and ended up creating four 35 sq ft garden beds in 2011. We grew Tomatoes, Peppers, Potatoes, Basil, Summer Squash and Watermelon successfully in the Lasagna Garden.

Although, I noticed that our plants did not get very large and the fruit was rather small. I believe our hard clay soil was to blame and despite all of the earth worm activity, the roots could not get down as far as they needed to to grow to their full potential. I still highly recommend this method and was impressed with the results, unfortunately I have rock hard soil - seriously, I broke a shovel last year while digging.


(Ecology Action)

By middle of last summer I realized I had to do something about my soil. I happened to be interviewing a Gardener for an opening and she kept mentioning the GROW BIOINTENSIVE method. I immediately went to Google and checked it out. I came across a YouTube Video that mentioned the GROW BIOINTENSIVE method and how it has been used in 3rd world counties to grow food in drought conditions. Interesting.

Considering us North Texans were experiencing our own drought last year and some of the photos on the GROW BIOINTENSIVE website reflected poor soil before setting up the garden, I decided to order the book, How To Grow More Vegetables - By John Jeavons.

I have to admit, The Broccoli Test sold me on this - The one on the right was grown using GROW BIOINTENSIVE methods.

(Ecology Action)

How to Grow More Vegetables was PACKED with plenty of research and information gathered over the last 40 years in Ecology Action's research gardens. I studied it for months and slowly began to learn the principles of this method.

Double-Dug, Raised Beds
Intensive Planting
Companion Planting
Carbon Farming
Calorie Farming
The Use of Open-Pollinated Seeds
A Whole-System Farming Method

I would not call this method easy by any means. Its a whole system method and it is important to use all of the principles of this method in order to be successful. After adding more sheet compost layers to my four Lasagna Beds, I began to map out two new 35 sq ft beds for the 2012 season. I plan to use the GROW BIOINTENSIVE method for the new beds and compare the two at the end of 2012. So far, I have completed the double dig portion of new bed #1. Actually, new bed #1 should actually be called a Single Dug bed since my clay soil made it VERY difficult to dig. I spent the majority of the time removing small boulders from my bed and finally reached the point where I decided that 12 inches beneath the soil plus an additional 24 inches of raised bed equaled a nice start for 2012. Don't let this deter you, unless you happen live in an area with HEAVY clay soil. I am determined to use this method and report back on the results later in the year.

What Gardening methods do you use?

Sunday, January 29, 2012


My husband made Blueberry Muffins from scratch this morning, with fresh blueberries. I am BLESSED to be married to a man that can bake.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Winter is the New Spring

I've mentioned in previous posts about our crazy weather. In fact, the saying around these parts is "If you don't like the weather, give it a moment...it will change". So it comes as no surprise that last week we rocked sunny highs in the 70s and lows in the 50s. IN JANUARY. This week is slightly colder, but with the rain predicted for this week I can't help but hear "April Showers Bring May Flowers" over and over again in my head. :|

Do I dare set my seedlings out early? NO WAY! Last year we had SINGLE degree temps, SINGLE as our high for the day in mid February. I think if we make it to the end of February and still holding on to mild temps we can call Winter a wash.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Rocking the 80s

I was recently going back through some pictures from 2009 and discovered a picture of this Ace look I wore to an 80s party.

Good Times!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Eggshell Seedlings

While reading the January issue of Hobby Farm Home, I came across an article by Sherri Gragg on waiting for spring. I was inspired by the descriptive images of using eggshells as containers to start seeds in.

A couple of weeks later I jumped the gun on seed tests and the results were a success! All six seeds sprouted little baby tomatoes.

It is still a couple of weeks early to start seed. However, I didn't want to see these little warriors go to waste and having started my own eggshell collection I decided to give it a shot. It's supposed to be a mild winter right?

To prepare my own seed starting mix I used earthworm castings, soil from my garden and coffee grounds. I filled each eggshell with the castings first, then the soil and finally the coffee grounds on top. I lightly moistened the mixture and tucked each seedling into its own shell.

I'm curious to see how these tomatoes turn out, especially since I am attempting to grow the majority of plants from seed this year. Although, I'm sure I will not be able to resist a few veggie plants from Lowes this spring. Its hard to walk by without purchasing a few.

Have you started your seeds yet?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Another Beautiful Day

I believe we skipped winter and headed straight into spring. It was a another beautiful day in North Texas. Sixty two degrees, white fluffy clouds and plenty of sunshine. I had planned to stop by the office and organize drawers, but I could not resist a drive with my camera this afternoon. So I put the the hard top down and hit the road instead!

I pointed my car to the old Possum Lodge, a place that I've intended to take photos of for awhile. It has a Texas color scheme on the side of the building and since it was abandoned it has developed a worn look to it. Below is an image I captured of it with a mild auto fix and rounded edges. Beneath it is side view of the front and the side yard both with a 1960s filter. I really enjoy using the 1960s filter.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


I've been using Picnik for the past two years for photo editing and its great! For someone (me) who is not well versed in Photoshop, Picnik really helps. Here is a before and after of one of my pictures. I think I might frame it and call it Texas art.



Have you tried Picnik before?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

If there is a box open

Menya is in it!
She is ready to ship!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

2011 Garden Review

2011 started off with a snowy and icy winter. Out of nowhere we had a week of non-stop below freezing temps and a thick sheet of ice everywhere. Snow is a rare treat in Fort Worth, and a week of it is just bizarre!

Although not long after Ice Week things began to look up and grow warmer. The Lasagna Garden I had created last fall was ready to be planted.

I planted my usual favorites: Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Bell Peppers, Yellow Squash and Watermelon. I also tried Eggplant and Okra this year for the first time.

We had a successful year...in comparison to the 2010 season when nothing grew.

Close to memorial day we had tomatoes growing, peppers coming in and the okra plant appeared to be growing without producing any okra. Then the 100+ temps hit North Texas and things changed quickly!

The tomatoes that were on the vine ripened, but stop producing more fruit. The peppers appeared stunted as well, however the Okra really began to take off in the new heat.

Then there was the accidental Potato Harvest....

Apparently using thinly diced potato scraps in your compost can create a potato harvest the following year !?! I do need to mention that my husband did warn me of this, but I insisted that was not possible (He was right).

There was also the watermelon I had given up on. Early in the spring I attempted to grow watermelon from seed. After about ten peat pods refused to produce watermelon plants I through them out into a unused garden bed. I ended up purchasing a watermelon plant that did not produce fruit, but sure enough one of the seeds I gave up on grew a large watermelon.

The tomatoes barely survived the summer and drought, barely. I kept them watered and covered to protect them from the melting sun.

I had read about other gardeners pruning and fertilizer their tomatoes late in the season to produce a fall harvest. I waited until the temps dropped down to 95 degrees consistently (mid September) and began applying a mixture of Johns Recipe and Liquid Seaweed. It took several applications and another month before I began to see results. By Thanksgiving day I had 35 tomatoes growing, a nice late season harvest.

I learned a lot this year and look forward to applying this new found knowledge to 2012's Garden. I'm already planning!

What are you planning for your 2012 Garden?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

What about 2012?

Listen to Kenneth Copeland's message here!