Wednesday, October 20, 2010


After preparing the soil and such for my winter garden I went to purchase some seeds. Little did I know that seeds are very hard to find this time of year. Despite the fact that many vegetables grow well in cold soil and need to be planted in the fall, only a few packets left over from spring were still looming around the stores. So I turned to a different source, the internet of course. I did have to pay a little extra for shipping, so I filled my virtual cart to the top to avoid this problem in the future. My winter garden will soon be complete! Thank you!

Monday, October 4, 2010

hello, goodbye

As the summer temperatures continued to rise my garden began to dry up more and more each day, despite my watering efforts. I did end up with several small pumpkins and watermelons, but the vines shriveled up so they did not make it to maturity.
freshly tilled garden
Yesterday I began the journey of preparing my winter garden. After I pulled out all of the dried up plant matter I re-tilled the garden soil. Then I mixed in some organic gardening soil and tilled it again, so that my seeds will have plenty of nourishment.
As I was pulling the plants out of the existing garden I noticed something that looked like the top of a carrot. I dug it up and indeed it was a carrot! Actually two of them! I hadn't been tending to them since they were not warm weather vegetables. Now I hope I can grow a nice bunch along with several other things in my new winter garden.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

there may be hope after all...

baby watermelon
Even after my gorgeous sunflowers sizzled in the summer sun, I have found new life emerging in my garden. Several pumpkins are growing and one is even starting to turn its signature orange color. Some various sized baby watermelons are taking shape as well. Some as small as a golf ball and the largest one is slightly bigger than a grapefruit! Now, hopefully the bugs and birds will stay away!

Even my tomato plants are taking a turn for the better. They have several flowers on them and seem to be full of life. One actually has gotten so large that it fell over! I had to get a bigger cage to support it. Maybe there is one giant tomato waiting to appear!

Monday, July 12, 2010

the heat is on!

So it's super hot in Texas now despite the recent rain. Some of my sunflowers couldn't take the heat and shriveled up! My husband and I just got back into town after being gone for over a week. The garden definitely needed some tending to when we returned. While my pumpkin vines and flowers have taken over a large portion of the garden, they have yet to produce any fruit. It looks to be the same with the tomato plants which have gotten quite tomatoes! The watermelons which have a mind of their own as well have several tiny watermelon fruits dangling from their crawling vines. The cilantro has finished producing and has gone back to seed. I pulled the seeds off and will dry them and save them for planting next spring. The green beans are still producing and we have gotten to eat many of them! Well I guess I will be getting my wild jungle of a garden back under control asap!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

you've been picked!

here are the pictures of the green beans I picked tonight as well as a bunch of cilantro!

the first harvest

The weather has been so great for gardening this summer. Lots of sun, nice and hot, and a good amount of rain. It feels muggy outside to me but to my plants its like a greenhouse. So, needless to say, they just keep getting bigger and bigger. A week or so ago I actually spotted the first edible things coming to life in my garden. Baby green beans! Today about a handful of them were large enough to pick and eat! Also, some of my sunflowers actually survived the transplant. They have grown to about 4 feet tall so far and two of them have opened up! Not only exciting but pretty! The tomato plants have gotten quite large and are just starting to flower. Hopefully soon some tomatoes will start to grow. And of course the pumpkin and watermelon plants are still going crazy. You really do need tons of space when you grow these. The vines are so long and grow every which way. Some of mine are crawling up and over the garden fence. I have definitely had to do a little trimming.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

ready for your close up?

here are some close up pictures of everything!

green beans






more tomatoes


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

pumpkins, and melons, and vines, oh my!

Yes, it is sad but true. Over the weekend I had to part with several of my watermelon and pumpkin plants. I had no idea they would all sprout or that they got so large. I have downsized to about six of each, and I may still have to find homes for a few more. I didn't just toss the others aside in the trash, I posted an ad on and sent them all to new homes. Now the garden is flourishing with life and not being completely taken over with vines and leaves.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

making progress

Well, my little garden is actually coming along quite well, as far as I can tell that is. Most of the tomato plants survived being separated and are getting a lot bigger. The pumpkins, watermelons, and green beans have all sprouted quite quickly and are looking good. I will definitely have to part with a few of the watermelon and pumpkin plants since they are growing like weeds and are going to take up more space than I anticipated. oops! I made a small discovery the other day, though. I was worried about the incident with my dog getting into the garden. I thought maybe she spread around some of the seeds, and possibly everything was growing everywhere. It turns out everything is in place, all of the vegetables are much easier to identify at this point. The leaves of the cilantro just formed and are very recognizable. Whew! For a while there I couldn't tell what were weeds and what wasn't.
Speaking of weeds, I have been weeding the garden about once a week and turning up the soil around the plants with my hand rake. I have also been watering every evening and occasionally in the morning if time permits before I leave for work. It's so nice to see all of the plants growing more each day, and to think that just a few weeks ago they were nothing but seeds!

pictured from top to bottom: watermelon, beans, pumpkins, sunflowers

Saturday, April 24, 2010

at last!

The garden is 100% complete! Today I planted the last item, a row of beans. Then I weeded around the existing seedlings, and watered it all. The first batch of seeds that I planted a little earlier are all starting to come up! Onions, carrots, sunflowers, tomatoes, and cilantro, everything except the basil so far, oh and the garlic...I can't really tell if its doing much of anything at this point. The other day I finished spreading out and blending the organic gardening soil, then I planted the rest of the watermelon and pumpkin seeds. I'm not sure if I left quite enough room, since I just read that their vines grow up to 10 feet and take up a good amount of space! I also dug up my tomato plants and gently separated the roots, then re-planted them in smaller groups. I will need some poles for the beans and also some cages for the tomatoes when they both get a little bigger. Until next time.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

a little help from a book

Today I picked up a gardening book while I was out. I figured I would check on the things I've done so far and help myself out for the future.

Mistakes made so far:

1. the garden top soil could have been tilled in with the regular soil to make the texture more fine and smooth
2. carrots and garlic are cool crops that grow better in the winter and fall (so I may not see anything from them)
3. I may have planted a little too deep. (Its only recommended to plant 1 inch or less below the surface but I put my seeds down a little deeper just in case...oops!)

I probably should have picked up a book earlier or checked out more tips online, but I didn't so I will have to work with what I have at this point. I plan on getting a couple more bags of soil to spread over the rest of the garden, and raking it to mix it in with the native soil. Then finish planting the rest of the watermelon and pumpkin seeds, and also separating and spreading out the tomato plants and anything else that starts growing in bunches. I'm also going to pick up some liquid plant food to spray on them and help them out.

puppy power!

After I secured the garden with the chicken wire barrier it was time to plant! I poured a giant bag of gardening soil on the first third of the garden. I didn't have enough soil or seeds to fill up the entire plot. I mixed the native soil with the bagged variety (1 part to 1 part) and smoothed it out again. I decided to place the tomatoes along the back side of the garden edge. This way they will get plenty of sun in the afternoon and won't block the others from the sunlight. The tomatoes were still going strong so I transplanted the seedlings from the paper cups into the garden soil. The rest I started again as seeds, following the directions on the seed packets. I labeled each row with a plastic marker and left a small row of empty space as a walkway. I closed up the gate and gave my thirsty little plants a big gulp of water from the hose and called it a day.

Approximately five minutes later, after I had put away my gardening tools and washed my hands I saw it. My fear had come true. My dog had found a way in to the garden and was trampling over everything! I immediately panicked and screamed! All of my hard work gone down the drain! My dog looked at me and realized she was trapped. She had snooped around and discovered a way in but had not thought about how she would get out. I ran over to the garden and let her out, and knew that I had to make some adjustments if my garden was going to remain a dog free zone.

The next day I hammered the stakes into the ground deeper, so that the chicken wire was flush with the ground and no longer resting on the top of the railroad ties. Then I got a heavy duty stapler and stapled the chicken wire to the wood so there were no gaps large enough for anything to slip under. So far so good. Catastrophe averted!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

the real deal

I finally got a chance to work on my real garden, you know, the regular sized one in my back yard. My sweet husband tilled up all of the soil for me, then I pulled up the remaining grass and weeds and raked it out nice and smooth, well kinda smooth. It is surrounded by four giant rail road ties that were already in our yard when we moved in. The previous owner apparently had a beautiful garden, as I was told by our neighbor earlier this year when our yard was looking more like a jungle and less like a residential back yard. I already knew about this dream garden. Sadly, my husband and I pulled up most of the remaining veggies that were hanging around and downsized the garden to a more manageable size when we first moved in last May, about 1/4 what it was prior. No one had lived in the house for several months so much of the yard and garden was taken over by weeds or just dying from the heat.
After it was tilled and raked I left it alone for a week or so until I had time to finish and plant. At this point some of my little seedlings weren't looking so good. In fact a few that were going strong had shriveled up like the wicked witch of the west! Did I water them too much? Not enough? I personally blame it on the sun, which hadn't shown it's shining face in days. And everyone knows that plants need the sun to survive.
To protect my garden from intruders, aka my dog the feral cats in the neighborhood, I dug tall stakes into the ground in each corner. Lucky for me the stakes were already behind the shed at our house, along with several tomato cages. Then I bought a roll of chicken wire and wrapped it around the edge and tied it with zip ties to the metal garden stakes. The chicken wire is about three feet high and very flimsy. I ran string through the top row of holes on the long sides of the garden to give it extra support and stability. I would have done it on all sides but I ran out of string. I also left the top corner of the end of the chicken wire open so I could go in and out of the garden more easily. I tied the bottom of the wire to the metal stake but left the top open and tied it with a twist tie for easy access.
And then I was good to go ahead and start planting....or so I thought.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

sprouts! glorious sprouts!

here are the pictures of my beautiful baby sprouts. the tomatoes, one of the carrots, and one of the sunflowers have really taken off so far (pictured). some of the others are still not breaking through the soil, however the onions have just started to sprout but it was too small for the photo.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

the first sign of life

yesterday, as i went to water my precious cups full of earth and seeds, i noticed the tiniest little green thing barely making its way out of the soil in one of the cups labeled "P" for peppers. it was a sprout!!! my first sprout! this means its actually working and the cups lined up on my window ledge are not just full of dirt and secretly mocking me that it will never work. it did! well at least it is starting too. and even better there was a second sprout this morning emerging from one of the carrot containers. the sprouts are too tiny for pictures at this point, but after they get a little bigger i will post some.

Friday, March 26, 2010

pulling weeds

the other day my husband asked me to help him with some yard work. i agreed to dig up all of the weeds that have taken over what used to be our front yard while he mowed the back. i went to our shed and pulled out the necessary tools, a shovel, some gloves, and a giant lawn bag from the hardware store. as i walked to the front of our house i realized that i haven't done yard work of any sort since i lived at home with my parents. what was i getting myself into? after a few minutes it all came back to me. just like the saying about riding a bike. i felt great. i was out in the sunshine working up a sweat, and making my lawn less of an eye sore to the neighbors. i finished half or more of my duty and started feeling serious overwhelmed. our yard really was taken over by giant killer weeds and little baby weeds, there was no sign of living grass except for a tiny patch here or there. after a short pep talk with myself i carried on and filled the lawn bag to the brim. mission accomplished! however, the next day it took me a while to figure out why my entire body was so sore.....onto the garden!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

day one

i have gotten the itch to start a garden. it is an itch that has gotten stronger with the coming of spring and return of the glorious sun in the austin sky. last night i purchased some seeds and some starter planting cups and smiled with satisfaction. this evening after dinner i planted my carrot, onion, pepper, tomato and sunflower seeds, watered them and placed them on the window ledge in my kitchen to grow. hopefully. after the seeds start to sprout i will transplant them to the outdoor garden in my backyard, that still needs to be tilled and have a fence put around it so my pup won't dig it up. wish me luck!