Hands down fall is my favorite time of the year. I love the cool, crisp mornings and the sparkling azure sky. It is also the time of year that we finally get relief from the long, hot, dry summer and can actually begin to grow things again. Suffice it to say that I am eagerly [...]
Both the calendar and thermometer agree, it is officially summer here in Central Texas.
Our weather has now moderated just enough to get our fall gardens planted. Our daily highs are now in the mid-90s and our lows are often in the 50s and 60s. This is perfect for tomatoes, peppers and the warm weather crops, but it is still a bit hot for cool weather plants like pac choi, collards and broccoli. Nonetheless, I planted both cool weather and warm weather transplants in the market garden last week. I also direct seeded some green beans, cucumbers and summer squash in this garden area all of which have sprouted and are growing well.
It is really tricky getting cool weather fall crops started when the weather is 100+ every day, but the window of opportunity for the fall growing season is fleeting and many crops must be set out in the August/Sept timeframe in order to have time to produce. Heck, it is still so hot that the tomatoes and peppers that I planted in early July are barely producing blooms much less fruit at this point even though they are under shade structures.
Even the most established and experienced market and CSA farmers in the Austin and Central Texas areas are saying that this spring-summer season in our area has been the hardest that they have EVER seen.
Another sure sign of spring is the annual Austin Funky Chicken Coop Tour, which is coming up on April 23, 2011. Ron went on the tour last year so we could get ideas for our first chicken coop and to collect information from local experts about what types of chickens do well here. Now, less than a year later, we have our first coop and a nice little family of chickens, two hens and one rooster.
I have been occupying myself with caring for the transplants in the greenhouse and propagating more warm weather vegetables and herbs. I have also started putting some of the chard, broccoli, and cauliflower transplants out into the gardens, but had a bit of a setback last night due to the temperature dipping down to 26.
The transplants in the greenhouse are thriving for the most part, although it has been a bit of a challenge keeping the greenhouse cool enough for the broccoli, chard and lettuce during the unusual warm period we have been experiencing for the past couple of weeks. The temp rose to 84 F outside yesterday, which [...]
The gardens are alive with butterflies, bees, birds, and caterpillars. Yellow and white skippers are abundant, and swallowtails, monarchs, painted ladies, and fritillaries are frequent visitors as well. The front courtyard, which is visible from most rooms in the house, provides a picture window view to all of the activity.
I chose the seed varieties below for the late winter garden. I love the new Seeds of Change seed packaging. It is much easier to use, waterproof, re-sealable, and environmentally friendly. The descriptions below were copied from the Seeds of Change web site (with a few comments added by me), and links are provided to [...]
I think that fall is the best season for vegetable gardening here in Central Texas. Perhaps it is because I really like greens and cole crops, but I usually get pretty good production from warm weather crops in the fall as well. Even though it doesn’t feel a whole lot like fall here yet, I [...]
We have almost sold out of our early spring vegetable plants and annual flowers, and what we aren’t selling I can’t resist planting in any nook or cranny I can find. We tried a couple of new varieties of violas this year that I was particularly pleased with; the Viola Bilbo Baggins (pictured first), and [...]
Here are some of the photos that I took this morning to journal how things are looking at the beginning of spring this year. I selected my favorites from a set of 38 photos. Click here if you want to view the whole set as a slideshow. I love the look of these lavender colored [...]
The seeds have been germinating for less than two weeks, and many of them are already well along. I keep planting a flat every day or so, so the production should continue throughout the growing season. I am pleased with production so far, especially considering that my old seedstarting mats aren’t working and I am [...]
Well, it may be 100 degrees outside, but it is a cool 80 degrees in our greenhouse at the north end near the evaporative cool wall. All of my transplants are doing very well, and should be ready to put in the ground in early September. Take a look at some of the plants we [...]