Archive for the ‘Garden’ Category

Bluebonnets

May 3, 2013

I’ve been feeling a little homesick lately but for the past couple of weeks I’ve had something very special living on my balcony to make this place feel more like home…we have bluebonnets!

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You have no idea how happy it makes me to look outside and see these beautiful blooms, I go out and sniff them almost every day :)

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Our lone surviving poppy finally has a couple of buds but no flowers yet, maybe within the next couple of weeks!

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Planter Box Update

April 14, 2013

The planter box that my dad and I made a few Thanksgivings ago moved with us to CA and this spring it is finally getting some use! At first I couldn’t decide what to plant in it (flowers, herbs, lettuces??) and during a bout of homesickness I decided that I wanted bluebonnets, Texas bluebonnets. The thought of going an entire spring without seeing or smelling a bluebonnet just made me want to cry. Unfortunately bluebonnets are not quick growers and I would have had to seed them back in the fall in order to see some spring flowers so my dad graciously dug up a few plants from their property and shipped them to me.

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We both had no idea how well they would ship much less take to new soil, new weather and a new state but we gave it a go. I transplanted the bluebonnets and a couple of red poppies into the planter containers and kept them inside for a couple of days because it was dropping down below freezing at night. But eventually they had to make their way outside and either live or die…and a few weeks later most of them were still alive! Once I spotted some new leaves growing I knew we were in the clear :)

Here’s how big they were towards the end of February, a few weeks after being transplanted. The poppies grew up pretty quickly but the bluebonnets took their time.

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And here they are now…

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The poppies are huge, bushy and quickly running out of room; I’ll have to re-pot them soon in order to keep them from suffocating each other. The bluebonnets have grown more slow and steady.

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I honestly thought I would see a poppy flower bud first but lo and behold the bluebonnets have beat them to it! Their timing is perfect too, we’re leaving tomorrow for a week long vacation to Mexico :( Luckily, this bloom below is the only one showing petals so hopefully they can hold off until we get back. I’m so happy that we’re going to have Texas bluebonnets in California!

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Summer Veggies

June 5, 2011

Thank you Sunfood Farm for this wonderful sample of your summer bounty…


I think I’ll make some fresh salsa and eggplant Parmesan today.

Patio Planter: Spring Update

April 10, 2011

Spring is here and the planter now has legs! After 3+ months of bending over to tend to and water our little plants we finally bought 4 cinder blocks to use as a stand. I was hoping to find some for free but the ones being given away on Craigslist were less than perfect, and at $1.59 a piece new from Home Depot, it was a no-brainer. I love how open the patio feels now; it felt quite cluttered before with the planter on the ground. Plus, now it can drain properly and the plants get a little more sun.

Yesterday, I also got around to putting a finish on the wood to seal it and protect it from the sun.

The finish that I used is called CWF-UV for exterior wood; my dad swears by the stuff and he’s been using it on all sorts of outdoor wood items since I can remember {porch railings, picnic table, chairs, tool handles, etc.}. It goes on kind of milky but dries clear and it doesn’t change the color of the wood much, it just gives it a nice golden sheen.

Here it is after; not a huge difference but the goal of this finish was protection, not beautification.

We’ve changed out plants once already thanks to a few days in a row back in January that were below freezing; now, two of the bins contain three lettuce plants each and the center bin holds a couple curled leaf parsley plants and two cilantro plants.

Last time I visited my parents in Rogers, I snagged a couple tomato plants from the greenhouse and we already have a few grape-sized little ones!

I thought this was neat…on this one flowering stem you can see all the different stages from flower to tomato.

All of the plants are really loving this warm, sunny weather {I am too!} and I can’t wait to add some summer time veggies to the planter once it gets too hot for the lettuces…I heart summer vegetables!

Sunfood Farm

June 29, 2010

In case you didn’t already know my dad loves to garden, so much in fact that he has slowly begun to share his produce with others. He started out by taking lettuce to local Dyer Dairy in Georgetown where they sold it along with their milk, cheeses, meats and other goods. Then a couple of weeks ago Scott & White hospital held their first farmer’s market as a part of their wellness program and my dad was invited.

In preparation for the event he asked my help with brainstorming a name and designing a logo for his growing farm. The name was inspired by some quotes from the Omnivore’s Dilemma; in the book, Pollan spends a week at the infamous Polyface Farm where he discovers that farming is {in the simplest of terms} harvesting the sun’s energy into a form that we can consume. Therefore sun energy + plants = sunfood.

The farmer’s market went really well…ours was by far the best looking table {I should have ironed the table cloth}. There were about 20 vendors total; a couple selling grass-fed beef and jerky, one selling eggs, a couple with dairy and cheeses, many selling various fruits and vegetables and one table with nothing but home-canned pickles.

My dad enjoys experimenting with different varieties of vegetables in order to discover new, tastier produce that is best suited to grow in the hot, central Texas climate. This definitely proved to be advantageous for our table because we had things that nobody else had! Most of the other produce tables had red potatoes, yellow squash, cucumbers, watermelon, tomatoes, etc. while our table consisted of two varieties of garlic, sweet Texas onions, fingerling potatoes, Swiss chard, rosemary and sage.

My dad also came up with this great idea of selling pre-made baskets of mixed vegetables along with a recipe for making a simple soup. Each “Sunfood Soup in a Sack” contained one pepper, some potatoes, an onion, a tomato, a couple cloves of garlic and a bunch of Swiss chard. All you need to add is your choice of a piece of meat!

We both had a fun time and it was definitely a great first farmer’s market experience. I can’t wait for the next one!

Our Wedding: Sunflowers

October 6, 2009

The sunflowers for our wedding turned out a million times more beautiful than I ever thought possible. We were constantly worried about if the flowers were going to get enough rain {or too much}, if the timing of the planting was right or if the bugs would get to them…but thank God everything came together perfectly.

flowers

On the Tuesday before our wedding my mom and I picked flowers for about 2 hours, filling the back of the mule. Then we took them directly to our florist who, despite her already packed schedule, was able to fit us in. Thank you so much Debbie, you did such a wonderful job!

mule

The table arrangements and bouquets were a lovely mixture of varying shades of sunflowers with sprigs of wheat, broomcorn, rosemary and hypericum berries, they were absolutely perfect.

arrangement

The Last Planting

August 11, 2009

This past weekend we planted our last batch of sunflower seedlings, there are three batches total spaced 10 days apart; so hopefully we’ll get the timing right with at least one planting and the flowers will be blooming beautifully for the wedding. Mark was here with us this weekend so he got to help out too {lucky guy}.

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You can see the previously planted rows of sunflowers behind Mark, they are doing so well! It’s really neat to see them all facing the setting sun every evening…sunflowers are pretty amazing.

Latest Garden Projects

August 6, 2009

The garden has changed quite a bit in the past few weeks. We’ve gone through our harvest season, picking all of the pumpkins and cutting the broomcorn. Now we’re moving on to planting over 500 baby sunflower plants and clearing out all the overgrown pumpkin vines to make room for winter vegetables.

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The broomcorn that we planted to use as decoration for the wedding turned out more beautiful than I ever could have imagined. The colors are so rich, ranging from golden yellow to a black purple color with every shade of red in between.

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I’m not going to show my latest attempts at using the broomcorn as a centerpiece {I don’t want everyone to know what the decor will look like at the wedding until they get there} but let me just say that simple can be so beautiful.

Our latest project was building a water fountain out of old terra cotta pots. My dad had read that a good way to help keep the insect population down in your garden is to attract birds to the area. We already have a few feeders but we needed a source of water for them too. Not wanting to have to deal with the typical, stagnant water bath that you continuously have to scrub out and refill, we decided to go with a fountain that keeps the water moving constantly.

pots before

We gathered 5 pots {graduated in size}, some broken pieces of brick to help space the pots apart, and a little water pump that my dad bought for less than $10. The pump was placed in the bottom of the largest pot and the tube through which water is pumped was fed up through the holes in the bottom of each pot.

pots after

And voila! A beautiful, trickling water feature that I hope the birds will love!

Ode to the Cheese

June 29, 2009

We harvested our first pumpkins yesterday! I had read that if the rind is too hard for you to pierce it with your fingernail, the pumpkin is ready to be picked and stored…so I walked around the garden, poking pumpkins with my fingernail, and cutting off the ones that passed the test. We ended up with eight Long Island Cheese and one Musque de Provence.

Here are a few of the Cheeses, we’ll keep them stored in a cool place until the wedding {they should turn a little darker in storage}.

long island cheese

Garden Update

June 18, 2009

The garden has been doing great despite the all-inevitable upper 90’s heat wave that has swept over most of Texas recently. I just realized that I hadn’t posted any new pictures since things had just started growing.

This adorable Chiremen pumpkin has been turning a darker shade of green every day it seems.

chiremen

Before we know it we’re going to be up to our ears in corn {pardon the pun}

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Our first sunflowers are blooming! This variety is called Velvet Queen and since it is an heirloom variety {not a hybrid} every single flower is different. Their colors range from a deep maroon to yellow with orange tips.

velvet queen

This round of sunflowers is just a test run…we’ll plant the flowers that will be used for the wedding in a few weeks!