Thursday, May 30, 2013

English Tea Rose

We've had a lot of rain lately, several inches just last week. As a result, I got my first English Tea Rose this past weekend. This is the perfect time of year!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wild Flowers

This is one of the most beautiful times of the year in North Texas. Wildflowers are in bloom throughout the state and I've noticed that even the county land maintenance staff seems reluctant to mow them down.


Monday, May 27, 2013

Weekend Harvest

I recently got to bust out my new scale, a Christmas gift from my mother in law - Love Her!
Just in time for my first real harvest; Lemon Balm, Fingerling Potatoes and Chives.

My potatoes didn't really produce much. I sowed several bags of potatoes last fall and got maybe 10% of what I sowed in harvest. I think my first accidental potato harvest from 2011 gave me the impression I knew what I was doing....I don't think I do. Oh well, off to research how to properly grow potatoes.

The Lemon Balm has produced very well this year, now to just get it to register on the scale.
Chives are doing well too. This is my first cutting, but with all the rain I should have more in another week or so.

Saturday, May 25, 2013


Caught this little guy in my garden. Thankfully he wasn't eating anything...that I know of.


Composted Cotton Burrs


A friend of mine recently recommended Composted Cotton Burrs for my tomatoes. She is a gardener for a local couple, but also has her own personal garden at home. She added the Composted Cotton Burrs to her employer's garden during planting which was at the same time she planted tomatoes in her garden without Cotton Burrs. The Results? Her employer's tomatoes are twice the size of hers. Composted Cotton Burrs works! So, of course I ran out and got a couple of bags from McDonnell Feed in Keller, TX. Two bags were enough to cover my Tomatoe Beds and a little extra for my pumpkins.


I do have one warning about this product. It is the only bagged compost I have ever had a skin reaction to. I noticed an immediatly that the skin that came in contact with the bags, broke out in hives. By late afternoon, my arms were back to normal though and there was no trace of the reaction. Praise the Lord!


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


I've never really been a Beet person. I haven't purchased them in the grocery store and have only used them once in preparing a meal, simply because I grew one. However, the more I study organic gardening the more I excited I've become about Beets.

According to me 2013 Bountiful Gardens catalog "A real self-sufficiency crop, beets provide baby greens for salad mix, mature leaves for cooking, and sweet roots for cooking, canning, and winter storage."

The are entirely edible, the leaves to the root. I didn't know this when I grew them last fall, so I only used the root. They are especially tasty diced, mixed with other root crops like carrots and potatoes, drizzled with olive oil, lightly salted and baked. Yum.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Friday, May 17, 2013

Random Acts of Corn

I was cleaning out my seed box about a month ago and found Silver Queen corn seed that I had purchased on a whim in 2011 but never planted. In my effort to use what I have I decided to add them to my Birthday Bed in random fashion and see what happens. The first round of seeds planted didn't take and I believe it was still too chilly for them. The 2nd round sprouted though and we're off with corn growing! From what I understand they are heat lovers, so I can't wait to see what they look like in July and August.

You can see the corn growing in the bottom right hand side of the bed next to the Sunflowers. They are little now, but I know they will catch up with the Mammoth Sunflowers soon.

Have you tried growing corn before? 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Year of The Bean.

"And for gardeners, beans are practically magical." - Lynne Rossetto Kasper
Beans are considered heavy givers, meaning they give back to your soil instead of depleting it during the growing season. They give back nitrogen, a key soil ingredient when growing Tomatoes, Squash, Pumpkins, Peppers, Eggplant - some of the most popular garden veggies. So key, that fertilizers list it as the first nutrient percentage on the front of their labels, NPK followed by Phosphorous, and Potash.
The last three years I've grown some heavy feeders and decided this year to focus on replenishing my soil. Plus I really enjoy green bean casserole.
I selected a variety of beans at the beginning of the year including this beauty, Sunset Runner which I picked simply because I liked the soft peach colored flowers. It has taken off, growing so fast that it is now double the size of my other beans. This winner will definitely be a repeat next year. 
I've labeled 2013 as The Year of The Bean because in my effort to replenish the soil, I've planted three garden beds with Beans and have completely used up my green bean seed stash. This should pay dividends for the 2014 garden.
Here's to The Year of The Bean!

(Birthday Bed - 2012 Tomatoes)

(Bed #1 - 2012 Tomatoes/2011 Potatoes)

(Bed #3 - 2012 Yellow NutSedge Weeds, 2011 Tomatoes)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Zuchinis are right on time!

My squash plants are doing really well in this cool, but sunny 75-85 degree weather we've had in North Texas lately. I haven't turned my A/C on yet, which is a really good sign as normally it comes on in late April.
Not all of the plants in this picture are Zuchini, some are Vegetable Spaghetti Squash (far left) and Patty Pan (far right) with Zuchini in the center and and Yellow Squash center back.

It was May when I was able to harvest my 1st Zuchini last year. Sure enough, I checked last Friday and I have miniature girl flowers growing! It should be another week of so and the race to stay on top of the harvesting will be on! Actually, its more like a long marathon as I found out last year that Zuchini sets, grows and matures fruit in 2 to 3 days! Yeah.

How are your Squash growing? Has the weather helped at all?

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Harvesting Lemon Balm

I was on Pinterest recently and came across a pin about growing and harvest herbs. Since I have a plethora of Lemon Balm growing under my squash that I have no idea what to do with, I quickly scrolled to that section.

It turns out that there is quite a bit that can be done with lemon balm -

(From Natural News)
Lemon balm is highly valued because of its many applications as a natural treatment for a variety of health issues. The benefits of bee balm include:

* Soothing effects on the nervous system
* Treatment of insomnia, tension, and stress
* Relaxation in a lemon balm bath
* Soothing effects when consumed in tincture or juice
* Heightened longevity
* Enhanced mood of homes and offices when used in potpourri and other decorations
* Calming of stomach issues and digestive disorders, including nausea, vomiting, poor appetite, colic, dysentery, and colitis
* Enhanced liver and gallbladder function
* Quieted anxiety and depression
* Relaxed menstrual cramps and irritability related to PMS
* Treatment for headaches, migraines, vertigo, ringing in the ears, and blood pressure (when combined with linden flowers)
* Reduced fever and treatment of infections and coughs, as well as bronchitis, when used in a hot infusion
* Treatment of cold sores and overactive thyroids
* Cleansing of skin when added to natural cosmetics

Interesting. I especially like the idea of using it in a relaxing bath and treating headaches. I also learned that the best time to harvest lemon balm is in May or June right before the flowers appear. Apparently, that is when the oil production in the leaves is at its highest. The scent is an amazing Lemon Mint smell.

I cut three stems this morning, rinsed and dried to see how well they kept. This is my first time attempting to harvest and dry herbs so I don't want to risk the whole plant before I'm comfortable with the process.

What herbs are you growing this spring?

Learn more:

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Carrot Thinning

Thinned my carrots this evening and now I have some sweet baby carrots to toss into my Quesadillas tonight.

And yes I'm counting this as my first harvest for 2013!

Administrative Assistant Day Flowers

I put together a beautiful flower bouquet for my assistant back on April 24th. She blessed me with a few for my kitchen and they are still kicking. I believe these are Fuji Mums. So pretty. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Time Lapse Tomato

I found this video on YouTube that shows the growth of three tomato seedlings over the span of 20 days. Notice on the bottom right hand side that the gardener has noted each watering and the dramatic effects on the seedlings at a result.

The first time I watched it I assumed that the gardener was providing only 12-14 hours of light. Instead, they were providing 24 hours of light which would explains why they are growing so fast. I wonder what the long term effects are of that and how they handle transplanting. Regardless, its an interesting video.

Sunday, May 5, 2013