Thursday, June 27, 2013

Composted Cotton Burrs - RESULTS

Its been less than a month since I applied composted cotton burrs to my tomatoes on the recommendation of a gardening friend and it works!

I've never purchased this type of compost before, but the results are impressive. I was hoping that my tomatoes would double in size by July. They did more than that, they tripled in size.

May 20th 2013 - Standing next to my raised bed the tomatoes reached my knees.

Somewhere in between - Mid Thigh

Somewhere in between - Still growing

June 20th 2013 - The tallest variety now reaches my eyes. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

First Tomatoes

I enjoyed my first tomato of the season last Thursday! Finally, a tomato in the summer - this is a garden first for me!!!

A friend of mine had text me a picture of her first tomato on Tuesday, it looked like a pineapple I had shared with her earlier this spring. Due to the lack of time I've had to spend in the garden, I didn't realize that I had my first tomato just waiting for me.

What makes it even more special is that I grew this variety from seed and it beat the early girl variety that I purchased when I thought I might have missed my window. There is plenty more growing and I expect a big harvest over the next couple of weeks.

How are your tomatoes growing? I want to hear from you - what has worked in your garden....what hasn't ?

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Harvest and Seasons

I'm transitioning into a new season of my life and I'm excited about change. In fact, it feels like the last nine months have been nothing but change. Good Change.
But, its important to change well. What I mean is, I believe when your stepping into something new its wise to make sure your not leaving a mess behind you. So for the past two months I've endeavored to do just that, change well.
I've focused on raising up new leaders to replace me in a variety of areas and while I've enjoyed it and discovered a new found passion for mentoring...I haven't been able to spend much time in the garden.
My blog probably doesn't reflect that though. I tend to take a bazillion pictures during the time I do have and schedule posts in advance to make sure I have something to look back on come winter. God has been faithful during this time, with steady rain every week to make up for my lack of watering. He is good!
As a result, I discovered that I have quite a bean harvest, even after feeding the local bunny population. More on that in a future post. Tonight I harvested a variety of beans, a patty pan squash, my first roma tomato and a yellow crookneck squash.

 There is nothing quite like coming home to a surprise harvest.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

So Texas

I managed to catch this picture of a long horn that hangs out a couple of streets back behind my house. This is a normal sight on my drive in to the office each day. Very Texan!

What is this?

In the past few days I've noticed that my some of my Sunflowers are withering from the top down. Also, there are these little red guys (below) that appear to having amazing eye sight and are all over my sunflowers. I'm not sure what they are yet.

Does anyone have any suggestions of what this might be?

Saturday, June 15, 2013

My New Favorite Beverage

I recently discovered Pellegrino.  Mixed with R.W Knudsen Just Cranberry Juice (or any juice really, this one just has very low sugar) you have a nice fruity/bubbly beverage to cool off with this summer.  

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Elusive Squash Bug

I'm not complaining, seriously.

I am just shocked that I haven't experienced the Squash Bug this year. I used the term elusive above because Squash Bugs have been anything but in past years. They fly in to town around the last week of May or first week of June and redefine the term pest until you've maimed all of your Zucchini, Squash and Pumpkin leaves.

That is just how it happens, at least the last two years in a row.

This year I was ready. I've watched my Squash and Pumpkins like a hawk. I took the picture above last week when I spotted what I thought was a squash bug at work one evening. The shape is right, but the coloring is little on the pale side. I thought I noticed a squash bug just the other week in my garden. He managed to get away, but left no eggs behind and I've seen nothing since. Perhaps the cooler weather this spring pushed backed their timing or maybe they forgot where I've live :)
Has anyone else in the North Texas area seen Squash Bugs yet?

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Summer has arrived

We are still a little less then two weeks out from the official 1st day of Summer, but it looks like we will feel like summer this week with temps in the 90s. Its been a really nice spring this year, with plenty of rain and the temps have stayed in the 80s with a nice breeze. A Gardeners Dream. I almost don't want it to change.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

A week of new meals

This past week I challenged myself to try several new meals, a couple of which included the grill. As someone who has pretty much feared our gas grill, this was a bold move. It turns out the grill is pretty great and super easy to use. I have no idea why it frightened me before.

Most of the meals ideas came from Pinterest with the exception of the Pizza which came from a Food Network Magazine. The only items I grew was the Basil and Chives, which I attempted to incorporate in every meal possible. They both smell and taste amazing right now. The rest was store bought, but I look forward to a month or so when the garden is in full swing and I have some beans and tomatoes too.

Grilled Pizza with fresh garden basil and chives.
On the side I grilled Balsamic Honey Peaches for desert.
Grilled Flat Iron Steak, sliced on a bed of greens and rosemary roasted cherry tomatoes.

Bacon Barley Risotto with fresh basil from the garden.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Squash Vine Borer

I mentioned last weekend that I had spotted my first Squash Vine Borer around my Squash, but I didn't mention that I managed to get a picture of her. I also got a shot of her eggs on my LemonBalm which sits right underneath my squash. I hand picked the eggs and I'm planning to spray Neem Oil over them to keep them off.



Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Eco Yard

I was driving down near West 7th last week and came across this Eco Yard. I wish I had gotten out of my car and taken better photos, but I was in a hurry. Their entire front yard is a garden with a variety of beautiful blooms. Just lovely.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Weather holding

The weather seems to be holding in the 80's this coming week with a slight bump into the 90s on Wednesday. I'm not complaining!

First Zucchini

My husband harvested our first Zucchini yesterday - June 1st. He had it diced up and in mixed in to a stir fry before I got the chance to weigh or take a picture. But, it was good!

Last year I harvested my first Zucchini on May 17th, so I'm about two weeks behind this year. It seems my squash haven't been pollinating very well this season. I haven't seen many pollinators around the squash and the female flowers kept shriveling up as they didn't set. Finally, last weekend I started hand pollinating and I now have two yellow squash and a patty pan growing in addition to last night's Zucchini.

Saturday, June 1, 2013


This year I've really got into learning about bugs in my garden and how they interact with each other. Gross right?

Take for example the aphid infestation I noticed about two weeks ago. I found them on my Borage, which I grew for the I ignored it. Sure enough this past weekend the aphids were gone and this these little guys were everywhere.

                                            (Aphids)                                      (Larvae)

I wrongly assumed that he was a bad bug and began wondering what I could do to get rid of him. I went straight to my Good Bug Bad Bug book and began to research. What I found surprised me though. He wasn't a Bad Bug, he was a Good Bug!

What I discovered is that I had an abundance of Lady Bug Larva which feed on aphids - Problem Solved. I was impressed that over the next few days, these little alligator looking guys turned into full grown lady bugs protecting my nearby tomatoes. Isn't it neat how God has designed this cycle?

                                                               (Lady Bug)
In other bug related news, I spotted this Tomato Hornworm over the weekend in addition to an adult Squash Vine Borer and I'm pretty sure I spotted a Squash Bug yesterday. The Squash Vine Borer laid plenty of eggs, but I believe I managed to get them all off and away from my squash.

                                                            (Tomato Hornworm)

What bugs are you spotting this year?