Friday, October 1, 2010

Umm...well...this is awkward

I don't know what makes them do that, but this isn't the first. It seems to be the red okra that gets deformed more so than the others.

We finally gathered enough for a meal and I baked them with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper.

Some of them were great, others were God-awful. Trying-to-chew-a-rubber-tire awful. My friend Erika says it's because we let them get too big. Why is this so hard, er, difficult? Oh well, we're learning for next season.

In other gardening news, the passion vine is trying to take over the house. I have no objections to that, it hides the siding.

And thanks to all the recent rain the rest of the garden doesn't look crispy like it did last year!

Salvias rule.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

This vegetable bed thing is harder than it looks

With flowers you just water/fertilize and they either look pretty or they don't. With vegetables there's all this timing involved - if you pick them too soon they're tough, pick them too late they're slimy.

I've made some major mistakes with my first vegetable bed:
  1. I planted WAYYYY too much in one bed. At some point all my vining plants (cantalope, zucchini, squash) got tangled up, so I pulled some out to give them more breathing room. I have no idea what's still there, so I guess that will be a surprise.
  2. I didn't anticipate how high the okra would grow; I planted the spinach behind them and the eggplant to the right of them. The okra block the sun for both angles, so those 2 plants aren't exactly thriving.
This was the bed a few weeks ago. It looks a little more haggard now since the summer heat really kicked in, but still not horrible.

It would help if I watered every day without fail, and probably help more if I sprayed seaweed every once in a while.

But here's the cool part:

That's right, you're looking at red okra! The only problem is that I've got 4 of them. Not exactly enough for a side dish. Another unanticipated challenge of growing veggies: quantity. I have some more okra buds (I don't know what you call them!) and I hear tell they grow fast, so hopefully I'll be able to pull off 4 or 5 more in the next few days. I have no idea how long these will keep on my shelf.

Well, there's always Spring!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

I am a master gardener extraordinaire!

I went in the backyard yesterday and some of the dirt in my veggie bed was mounded up. I thought maybe a cat had used it as a litter box but when I went over to smooth it out I found that 2 of my okra varieties are sending up shoots!! But that's not all: one of my basil variety is sending up shoots too!! I RULE!!

Today they looked even better, and everything has sent up shoots now!

I thought for sure some wouldn't come up but now my problem might be too many shoots? I have no idea how to space these things, I don't know what they look like as they get bigger.

The leaves on the left are cantaloupe, the ones at the bottom are the little zucchini, and the ones at the top are okra. So exciting!! A few other fun gardening developments:

Jason's pineapple lily earns its name

One of the bananas has 2 new shoots

Monday, June 7, 2010

If everyone else jumped off a bridge...

apparently I would too. I caved this weekend and built a raised bed for growing vegetables.

I didn't mean to! I went to the Natural Gardener with a girlfriend who had been planning to do it for a while, and I just got swept up in the excitement.

I planted 5 different kinds of Basil, 3 different kinds of Okra, 4 Malabar Spinach plants (2 green, 2 red), cantaloupe, little round zucchini, Black Beauty eggplant, and squash.

The staff at Natural Gardener were SUPER helpful, showed us the recommended planting/growing schedule for Austin and made suggestions for seed varieties. They made it seem pretty easy, so let's hope things work out and we're eating some great stuff in a few months!

My own personal crop circles

After last week's hard rain these weird white spongy things popped up in random spots of the front lawn. I assume it's a fungus-y type thing? Why can't I just have normal mushrooms like everyone else? They're big, too: anywhere from 4-8" long and wide.

I kicked one and it was firm and moist and fragments of it went everywhere. Ew. If I didn't know better I'd think someone put that foaming caulk on my lawn.

See them all?!? What does it mean?

The best laid plans

At the end of last season I think I wrote that I was going to try for a more consistent color scheme, and had pulled up some red daylilies that were interfering with my plan.

Yeah, that worked out.

Future gardeners: before you go buy a bunch of plants, decide on a color scheme! Otherwise you'll buy pretty plants that clash when next to other pretty plants, and then it's not so pretty.

I'm not saying the red isn't working, but I don't have much choice now so I'd better learn to work the red!

And who is this??
That is neither Barbara Mitchell nor Jolyene Nichole. Don't get me wrong, it's beautiful, I just don't know what it's called. Maybe I sleep-shopped at Oakes Daylilies and then sleep-planted my new one? Hmmm.

Peelings...nothing more than peelings

My Crape Myrtles are peeling. You can see strips of bark hanging from the branches, and it's all over the ground below too. That means they're growing AND they'll bloom soon!

That one branch looks like it has mange or something. (Look at my Canna Wyoming in the background!)

They didn't get any powdery mildew at all this year thanks to that stuff the Natural Gardener sold me to spray on them. Amazing!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

And in other gardening news

Decided there was a height gap in the back bed and it needed something weeping in shape. I was lucky to find a Chaparral Weeping Mulberry at a local nursery:

The Salvia Guaranitica 'Black and Blue' are looking good, and slowly taking over the bed by the shed:

And things in the new bed look happy, especially the Purple Prince Pennisetum grass and the elephant ears. Compare to April when everything was tiny!
This is an elephant ear I transplanted from the back bed - look at all the little shoots!
The bananas and cannas are also getting bigger:

And last but not least, my little sunset strip.
The Red Yucca has only sent up one stalk this year, which is unusual. The Honeysuckle seems to be taking hold on the trellis, and the Lafter roses have survived the transplant.

Daylilies Gone Wild!

The Daylilies have started blooming! In just a few days it went from this modest show:

To this:
These are Barbara Mitchell or Jolyene Nichole (I can't tell them apart):
The reddish are called Salieri, the darker pink ones are Emperor's Dragon.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Jungle cat!

Homage to the Star of the Republic rose

It went crazy with blooms this year!

'The Fairy' rose is trying to keep up.

Spring garden pictures

I haven't posted any pictures of the rest of the garden this Spring because my camera takes such disappointing pictures. (It has to be the camera, right?) Nevertheless I need to chronicle the growth, if only so I can look back fondly after Summer decimates everything beautiful and green.

The center bed (which is now really the left front bed??) as seen from underneath the Crape Myrtles. Canna Pretoria are coming up slowly but surely. (Note the ferocious jungle cat.)

Closeup of the center (left) bed.

The Lafter rose gets its act together.

Louisiana Iris 'Joie de Vivre'. It isn't as colorful as I'd hoped from the picture on PDN, but still pretty.

Lafter rose against Artemesia. Pretty contrast!

Madame Berkeley rose. 4-6 feet indeed. Look how tiny they started off!

Veilchenblau - it looks like the pictures and seems happy where we planted it.

Back bed view from the patio.

Close-up of Knockout Rose, Salvia May Night, and a Salvia Leucantha (Mexican Bush Sage).

Aloe Striata in bloom with California Poppy.