Monday, February 27, 2012

That's Texas!

So, let’s get into Oscar red carpet fashion today. What did you like, what didn’t you like?

Pshaw! That’s not what we do here!

On to the blog!

Finally it’s spring! No, wait, it’s still winter…or is it? I don’t know. The flowers in my yard don’t know. The geckos under my porch light don’t know. The eight million pear trees in this neighborhood surely don’t know (allergy-sufferer here)!

At any rate, the 85 degrees that swept in on Thursday sent me to the nursery for sweet baby veggie plants. I was also jumpstarted to clean out the garden, pull some weeds and tackle the compost pile and see what rich, black gold was at the bottom.

The problem was that by the time I got around to the actual yard work part, it had turned into a 50 degree, blustery day.

That’s Texas.

I heard that 12 times yesterday-no lie:

“Well, you know that’s Texas!”

“Whew, this weather…that’s Texas!”

“80 degrees then 40 degrees? That’s Texas!”

And then about nine more times just like that.

Don’t get me wrong; I agree that Texas does have some crazy weather and unpredictable trends. Just read any gardening guide and our average last frost is March 1st to March 31st. That’s an average? 31 days? I just think it is the unpredictability that makes our weather predictable.

I know when I should set out tomatoes and peppers. After the last possible frost date, right? But if I wait that long, they won’t have fruit before it gets too hot for the plants to set blossoms. Because our weather is always nuts, I know I can set them in the garden too early and then hope, pray and watch the sky to make sure a later freeze doesn’t get them.

Baby 'maters and peppers
I decided to soldier forth and start the garden clean out despite the chill in the air. Fortified by French toast and blueberries from The Snooty Pig, I donned jeans and a flannel shirt and started tearing out weeds. I wanted the area to be a blank slate by the time the kids got home and were ready to help plant.

Something about a weather change makes not only the allergies go haywire and the knees ache, it makes the kids C-R-A-Z-Y! Apparently, it also makes them not want to work in the garden. So we released them into the wild. Okay, semi-supervised wild. 

The poor eldest is still hampered by the long-arm cast and I do not want dirt in that thing! The youngest managed to score a play date and who am I to stand in the way of her burgeoning social calendar? That left me the middle child who preferred to swing and watch to actually planting anything. Although, interestingly enough, she was fascinated by the new compost bin I made.

“Ooohhh, are those pallets? Are you making that for compost,” she asked.

I said yes.

“Are we going to make pallet gardens out of all of those?”

I said no.

We then got into a discussion about how the pallets for the compost bin had to be lightweight and not permanently attached so that we could turn the compost and get to it when it had matured.

“Oh, like how you had to take the old one apart to get the compost out?”


“So they can’t be pallet gardens?”



I had to dismantle the old wire-framed compost bin each time I turned the compost, losing the structure of the pile and causing a lot of hassle. I wound up removing the whole thing and starting from scratch in a new location, fashioning a compost bin from the aforementioned pallets.

The middle child (or second-born, however you choose to thing of her) also helped move weeds to the weed pile and bring tools and plants to the garden. We put in the rest of the onions, kale and lettuce, and build hay bins for the potatoes. The broccoli from winter is starting to peter out so we should have that space soon for some eggplants. Who’s excited?

Almost picked clean!
It did wind up warming up enough to get some good work done, and now the garden is primed for the season. We are waiting a few more days on those warmer-weather veggies. I’ll shoot for the early end of the "average".


Watch it Grow!

Ready to be cut up for planting!
*A note about the pallet garden: If you make one of these, you must water every morning or install a little soaker hose through the whole thing. We are discovering just how quickly the planting pockets dry out. That’s the occasional downside to experiments-they sometimes have occasional downsides!
Smile, it's lettuce!

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