Wednesday, June 29, 2011

All by myself...

Last week while pulling the unfathomable amount of weeds from my garden, I spotted my first tomato! There is was, just dangling gently from its mothering limb, clinging to life with all its might! Beautiful and green and about the size of a golf ball.  I have since taken extra care, making sure my garden gets enough water to bring my little bundle to full term.  It is now about the size of a tangerine and still the lone ranger of the tomato world.  The other tomato plants are still flowering and growing so I am keeping my fingers crossed for a few more very soon.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

From the pot to the garden

About a month ago or so I transplanted my "teenage" tomato plants into the garden.  They were crowding the pot but still not too large.  A few of them had grown together and refused to separate so they have remained in the pot on the porch.  The other six, however, made it to their designated tomato cages and even though they looked a little sad and wilted at first, they have now grown strong and tall and have recently started flowering! The weather lately has finally been cooperating as well.  We have had several days of rain the past week or two which has given my garden a little boost. And unfortunately the weeds got a boost too!
young tomato plants before transplant

Monday, May 2, 2011

Unexpected beauty

This spring my husband and I have been hard at work on our front lawn. We have taken on the endless, time-consuming, and expensive task of landscaping. Although our progress has been great we still have a lot of work ahead of us.  We have selected many indigenous plants to help conserve water, while embracing the natural beauty of the southwest.  This time of year even some of the strangest looking cactus bloom with amazing, colorful flowers.  This unsuspecting lady was here when we moved in, and certainly surprised us the next spring with her hot pink blossoms that open up every afternoon and close up again at night.  So while my husband loves the rustic, masculine, look of desert plants, it seems they all have a vibrant, flashy, even feminine side waiting to come out once each year.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Finally....Fresh Herbs!

from left: rosemary, basil, mint

Half of my herbs have really come to life! They are mature and strong enough now to use for cooking, without fear of them dying easily.  Yesterday I made a refreshing pitcher of iced tea with lemon, honey, and of course, mint from my herb garden.  It was the perfect drink to sip while sitting outside enjoying the beautiful day with friends.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Let's eat!

Only a few of my spinach plants made it through the chilly winter months, and even the light snow.  But the ones that remain are growing strong with deep green leaves (supposedly rich in vitamin C). I'm surprised at their progress despite the every increasing temperatures. However, I have been watering them every other day and weeding around them once a week.  I also plan on spraying them with a mild insecticidal soap to keep the bugs away until they reach their peak. Soon these healthy, leafy greens will go from garden to table.  I can't wait too long though, it's heating up around here!
To find out about the health benefits of spinach visit

Monday, April 4, 2011

To the rescue!

Last Spring my brother-in-law and I were doing yard work and discovered a clump of mysterious bulbs in the back corner of our yard.  Not knowing what they were or why they were in such a strange place, we eventually decided to dig them up and transplant them to a little flower bed along the back side of our house.  Over the past year I have watered and watched them, waiting patiently to see what would emerge from the bulbs.  I wasn't sure anything would ever become of them, especially after finding out from my mother, "you don't separate bulbs in the spring!" Well even after another one of my gardening mishaps, everything turned out okay.  The flowers, which turned out to be a red-violet colored iris,  have been blooming non-stop in the past few weeks adding some much needed color and life to our back yard.  It was a long wait, but definitely worth it!

for more info on iris growing visit

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tomato babies!

A few weeks ago I planted the remainder of my tomato seeds that were leftover from last spring.  I found a large pot in our shed and filled it with seed starting/potting soil.  I watered it thoroughly and left it out on our patio table since the weather has been sunny and mild.  My tomato babies popped up in no time and now are well on their way to being ready to plant in the garden!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

calling in reinforcements!

Somehow or another my garden fencing has started to come down. It could be from the vicious tornadoes that torture us here in Austin (kidding!), but I would have to bet it has more to do with a certain doggie duo, to remain unnamed of course. My husband and I adopted a new pet friend a couple months ago, and while he has been a joy to have in our lives, my garden has paid a price for his presence. All hope is not lost though. On one of our many and frequent trips to the home improvement store I picked up a few supplies to rebuild my garden walls and regain its defenses against the dogs.  My list included: a spool of medium sized bailing wire, four additional garden stakes, and a refill for my staple gun.  After adding the support of the new stakes and securing the chicken wire with staples and bailing wire the garden is in much better shape. But, we will see how long it lasts, since the dogs love getting in there and sniffing around....or just to take a nap!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Beautiful Basil

My pot of basil is not only a beauty, it is quite fragrant as well.  It has been so nice to have some company in my lonely little window. Now it is filled with bright green herbs that smell as wonderful as they taste! On that note I am waiting until my herbs get a little large to start plucking their perfect little leaves and using them in my favorite dishes.  I went ahead and replanted the parsley and cilantro to see if it will sprout after a second try. But for now the basil is definitely winning the achievement award!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Saving Seed

dried cilantro seeds and stems

Last year I planted Cilantro in my summer garden. Then this year when I planted it inside as a part of my herb garden I didn't need to buy more seeds at the store for it because I was already prepared.  When my bush of cilantro stopped growing last season it "turned to seed" as it is called.  That's when it stops producing edible leaves and makes small little balls on its stems for reproduction of the plant.  When it did this I gathered all of the stems and seeds and dried them and saved them for the next use.  You can do this with many plants and vegetables from you garden so you have the seeds on hand next time you plant. For more information on seed saving visit

Monday, February 28, 2011

Four out of six ain't bad!

from left: rosemary, basil, and mint
After a few weeks you can really see the progress being made by my tiny green herbs! Out of the six I planted four have started to sprout and are even almost recognizable. I haven't seen any action from the cilantro or the parsley so I made need to replant them.




I am making sure they get plenty of sunlight and enough water, but not too much.  It is also best to water in the morning so that the soil can dry out during the day and then mold won't develop in the soil.

Monday, February 14, 2011

herb garden update

It looks like my herb garden is off to a good start. I can already see a few tiny green sprouts coming up from the soil in the pot where the basil is planted as well as the rosemary. Another week and there will hopefully be a little more to look at.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

herbal oasis

Over the past year I have started to really enjoy cooking and have certainly buffed up on my cooking skills. In my spare time I indulge in several cooking shows and even a few blogs. Some of my favorites are French Food at Home with Laura Calder which you can find at and my sister's blog of course, Through all of my new cooking experiments I have learned that one of the smallest things that has the greatest effect on the flavors of any recipe, new or old, is fresh herbs. They are so much better than the dried ones that you shake out of a plastic bottle, but they are so pricey at the grocery store. My new project is an herb garden. I have thought about trying it out several times before, but this time I'm doing it.

filling up my pots

seed packets

Last week I made a trip to my local home improvement store and selected a set of small pots that would look superb in my kitchen window. I also picked up some potting soil and a few seed packets of my favorite herbs, parsley, rosemary, basil, cilantro, chives, and mint. Just a little bit of water everyday and plenty of sun and I will have a beautiful and useful herb garden in no time!

one set of pots resting in the window

winter garden

Well, my seeds finally arrived and I finished planting my winter garden a few months ago. This time I sectioned off my garden into a grid-like pattern, so each vegetable would have a 3x3 plot to grow in. Inside of each 3x3 square I made long, skinny rows or mounds to plant my seeds in. All together I planted one plot of carrots, one of onions, one of broccoli, one of peas, and two of spinach.

pea plants
As usual in Texas we have had a variety of weather this winter. Freezing cold days, even one with a little snow, and beautiful sunny ones too. Not very much rain however. I was starting to doubt that anything was going to sprout from my garden, after several months of staring at the earth, then I finally started to see some growth around the new year. Not a lot of action, but the peas and spinach seem to be on their it looks like I have some weeding to do!

spinach plant