Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Oh Punxsutawney Phil, You Prankster!

Not only have I been sewing this week, but I have been sowing as well. I actually believed the Groundhog, and his associates-the actual meteorologists- when they said it was Spring. It is April 10th, after all. So I put in my worm-weather garden. Ha!

After struggling to find a place for all the brand new, old favorite and different varieties of veggies I wanted to put in this year, I decided that a 10’x14' space would no longer cut it. I had already busted out of the garden and built the garden beds out of the drawers and doors, but now it was time to beg additional space from the rest of the family.

I had my arguments ready, my reasons why an expanded garden made sense.

I approached the hubby with my plan casually.

"I would like to make the garden bigger," I mentioned, as he pulled lawn weeds.

"Okay, how much bigger?"

"About double."


I went on.

"It would take in that whole area there, but the fig trees are already in that section so it's not really useable play space."


"So you're okay with it?"


Whew-tough negotiating on both sides!

So, I fenced in the new section and got ready to expand. I pulled weeds, grass and dug holes. I dumped compost and soil and organic humus and edged beds
with reclaimed logs. I planted sweet potato slips (more on those later), peanuts, and green beans and moved the potatoes-in-coffee-sacks project from the upper garden to the lower one.

The hubby helped me move the composter to the new fenced area. I planted sunflowers along the perimeter of the fence to add to the fence height, bring bees, look awesome and be living trellises for vining peas and beans. Later in the year we will have free birdseed as well. So giving, those flowers.

I had to leave plenty of room for the fig trees to do their giant summer expansion thing. So pretty. I plan to move some shade-loving plants under them at some point.

A few weeks back I was fortunate enough to acquire some old, worn-out bike tires. I zip-tied them into a tent shape over the green beans. They should provide some protection (I can drape row cover cloth or plastic if it gets too cold like today when it is raining with a high of 47 and a wind chill of 35 in April!) or to protect if hail threatens. I can also reconfigure the wheels into a tall trellis wall down the road. Recycled and versatile! Perfect.

I found a couple of wire gates at the large home improvement store and put those in at either garden entrance. Easy-peasy, lemon squeezy!

And tonight it all has to be covered. Sweet potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants. None of them like the low temps. The tiny new sunflower and okra seedlings, the potato sprouts. All will die in the cold. Even if it doesn't freeze, I like to give them a little buffer, but we do have a freeze warning so it is much more critical. I use hay to mulch most of my plants. I used to buy it at the wonderful, and now closed, Lewisville Feed Mill. Sniff, sniff. Now I buy hay at the Argyle Feed Store at 407 and 377.

I like to bank a good pile of hay around the guys that hate the cold and it seems to work well. Then after the cold I just spread the hay out and have instant mulch! I was bemoaning that I had to cover all this stuff, breaking out extra towels, sheets, fabric, etc., and the oldest child, horrified, asked, "Are you going to go put those sheets in our front yard?"

"As a matter of fact, I am," I said. 

If you have or know any sixth-grade kids, please drive them by my house tonight and point out the super-embarrassing bedding in the bushes. It would make my week!  

I’m a bit torn because the cold weather is a good thing for the broccoli, chard, collards, peas, lettuce and cilantro I'm still trying to keep growing. This is great because the kids have been eating all that stuff like crazy-especially the middle child who has started a love affair with Swiss chard.  However, the rest of the plants are just struggling to get started. Buck up, little campers, the blistering temps of June are right around the corner!

So back to sweet potatoes...they are a whipping! I started them ages ago inside the house on the kitchen counter. I cut a sweet potato in half, did the toothpicks in the side trick like everyone has done to an avocado pit.

After leafy shoots grew out the top about six or so inches, I broke them off at the potato and put the ends of the shoots in a shallow bowl of water. After a few weeks, roots of over an inch had grown off of them.

When it had been warm for about a week (trickery) I planted them in really loose good soil, with plenty of room to vine and spread out.

Gotta run. I have to go cover everything up. Love this Texas weather! And for a fun side-read, check out this dude's lawsuit against Punxsutawney Phil. Wow.

Calm Before the Freeze


Rachelle said...

We had some crazy weather here in OK as well! My tulips and all my flowers had just started to bloom and they all froze in the ice storm we had. :( Oh well- always next year right?

Amy Parsons said...

You're so creative! Although every finger I have is green, I love living vicariously through YOUR gardening excitement! - Amy

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