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Monday, April 29, 2013

483 Days till Harvest

You read that right! 483 days till harvest. I started the artichoke January 2012 and I harvested my first artichoke yesterday. I planted Imperial Star; which is supposedly an annual. I followed all the directions and exposed it to cold temps last February/March. But the Spring of 2012 was fairly warm and short-lived. In 2012, this was all I got.

April 2012 (shows only one of the three planted)
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October 2012 (shows all  three)
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Then, this winter, I figured I had lost them for good after a few freezes left them looking …. well, dead. Didn’t take a picture of them because I thought that was all she wrote; given this variety is to be grown as annuals.

Well, this spring, I noticed that they had perked back up and even started to grow. Good thing I didn’t pull them up. In March, they looked like this. You can tell that they are smaller than they were in October, but they are clearly alive and well.
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Then just a month later, in April 2013:
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And today, I pulled these two beauties that had started to open up (that is a quart sized jar to give you an idea of their size).
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These are just the beginning. I hadn’t gotten a picture yet, but there are ….maybe….. five more coming into size. I just hope they beat the Texas heat. I believe that if I cut them back just as the eat sets in, I can get another harvest in fall…..we’ll see.
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This week also brought some collards, turnips, and I am beginning to unpeel my luffa’s (grown last season).
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Check out more early season harvests (or late season harvest depending on which side of the equator you are on) over at Daphne’s Dandelions Harvest Monday.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Herb Garden Blooms

Who says the herb garden is full of only green plants of different textures?

Take a look at a few – blooming - plants in my herb garden.

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The bees are loving it! I enjoyed a great harvest before the bloom. After the bloom, I will trim them back and start the grow-harvest-grow-bloom-cutback process all over again.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Let’s Get Things Moving


This weekend I went for it! It’s April and my garden is not planted yet. Why? Because Mother Nature has decided to play peek-a-boo with Spring. Spring peaks out at us and then goes back into hiding for a day or two.


Spring peaked out this past weekend and I took advantage. I planted the basil seedlings.

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Tomato and pepper seedlings.

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I also direct seeded beans and peas.


It was also a great chance to check in on some of my other plantings.


The artichoke looks great. I planted these last year and this is my first artichoke. Almost one-year to the date of my transplanting them outdoors. I thought they were dead this winter, but they have come back with vengeance. Now, I need to figure out when to harvest them.

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The garlic looks great! I need to fertilize, but I think they are on track for a May/June harvest.

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Some of my potatoes were harmed by one of the many late frosts, but most are doing just fine.

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These turnip tops didn’t last long. As I was snapping this picture, I thought about a bowl of greens and promptly put the camera down and cut all these turnips down to their roots. Maybe I’ll get another flush of leaves before they all bolt. One of the positives of our slow-coming spring.

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The onions are also doing well. They look even better than last year.

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My first promising attempt at leeks. Looking good so far. Pay no attention to that cabbage in the corner. There is no chance it will form a head before bolting; even with this spring. It is a left over from the fall garden; I harvested a head this winter and hoped to get another one this spring. I doubt it will make it in time.

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The broccoli is done and I have pulled most of them. The broccoli was good and bad this year. The good is that I harvested the most ever. All the plants yielded a nice sized head. The bad was the lack of side shoots. Last year I had one broccoli plant to yield a head followed by bowls of side shoots. This year I had about 5-7 broccoli plants yield a head and not even a bowl of side shoots. Next year, I am shooting for 7-9 broccoli plants with bowls and bowls of side shoots.

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This weekend, we hope to get the coop finished and get some supports in the beds. I like to get those in early so that I don’t disturb the plants after they have gotten larger. Plus, this is a good time because the garden doesn’t require a lot of time right now…..only task now is to water.


I’m pretty excited that I’ve finally gotten things moving. We’ve had frosts the last two nights and I’ve had to run out and cover the seedlings. I had to get them planted though; otherwise, they have no chance of yielding a harvest before our summer heat brings them to a screeching halt. No tomatoes or peppers in July and August due to the heat. Now, if only Mother Nature will allow spring to stick around for awhile….things will really start moving!

Cover the Tomatoes!


I finally get my tomatoes and peppers planted this ‘spring’; only to turn on the evening news and hear a freeze warning. You’ve got to be kidding me! We are nearly a month passed our average last freeze date! I guess it’s average for a reason. Maybe the summer will be milder with fewer bugs……one can only hope.


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Monday, April 8, 2013

Cleaning up the Garden Harvest

I was out planting the spring garden today and had no plans on harvesting anything. However, I noticed that some of my turnip plants had started to bolt. So I decided to go ahead and harvest the rest of the turnip greens before I lost them as well. I grow turnips for the tops; not the bulbs.

I ended up with a pot full of turnip greens; which is about $5 worth. Not bad; but I definitely need to figure out how to grow more.
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I then went over to the herb garden and noticed that several things could use a good haircut. The rosemary and sage could use a nice trimming.
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I trimmed the rosemary, but left the sage alone because ….
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…. its about to bloom! I can’t wait to see it.

The cilantro was in bad need of a haircut. It is in full flower, so I need to figure out if its any good after it has flowered. I gave it a good trimming anyway. Here it is before the trimming:
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The chives and thyme aren’t too out of control; but I decided to trim them also.

Here’s what I ended up with:

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thyme; lemon thyme; chives
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and the flowering cilantro.
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I measure my herbs after they have been dried; which is occurring as I type this. I did leave some of the flowering cilantro in the herb garden to reseed itself and for coriander seed.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Remember our Chicks?

Remember these cutie pies
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Fast forward several weeks and we now have
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As my son says, ’Look mom! We have Hens.’ And we do…..almost.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Mystery Solved

Throughout the winter, I’ve had this huge plant growing in one of my beds. I thought it was broccoli, but it never formed a head.
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I figured I had some contaminated seed. Instead of pulling it, I continued to let it grow. The bed is 4’ across and you can see that this one plant is covering about half of its width.

Then about two weeks ago, I came out and saw this
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YAY! It’s a romanesco broccoli (or cauliflower).
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I pulled it a few days later at about 2 lbs.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t look like a keeper. The plant grew too large, it took entirely too long to head, and it doesn’t look like it produces side shoots. Actually, I think that this cool, slow spring is the only reason I even got a head before it bolted. A normal spring and it probably would have never formed a head.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

What is Normal?


Normally, I would have been posting a few times a week.

But this last month has been a whirlwind. I won’t bore you with the details, so here is the short version: getting ready for family vacation, family vacation, recovering from family vacation, kid with a broken leg.


Normally, I would have planted my tomatoes, beans, and other summer crop by now.

But Spring has been very stubborn this year. Last year, gardeners were discussing how spring had come so early. This year, Spring has been playing Hide and Seek with us all. Today’s high was 49.


These days,  I don’t know what normal is anymore.