Monday, September 27, 2010

Wells Branch Gardening group has its first meeting at WBCL

We met Saturday and brainstormed on the kinds of things we'd like to discuss or find out and times to meet in the future. We settled on the 1st Saturday of the month at noon at the Wells Branch Community Library. We are working with Natosha Gibbs to be a regularly sponsored group. Our next meeting is November 6th and we decided to have someone in to talk about soil sampling and have a plant and seed exchange. We are hoping Shelley today from Central Texas Native will be able to do this as she is a resident.  My friend Liz, who is a master gardener in Williamson county directed me to the agriLife Extension for information about sampling. I found the form for urban soil and downloaded it from this link. It appears that the Travis county office suffered considerable rain damage and is not currently open.

As a group we really wanted to focus on more organic gardening and water conservation. Tara pointed out that residents were eligible for the rebate on water barrels with a receipt. Austin's program includes all areas that are served by them like our MUD. More information on this is at AustinWater page with tons of information on water conservation and the rain barrels, including ones purchased on craigslist. She also recommended for tracking your plantings and more. The link is on the left.

We also discussed the location of local Farmer's Markets in Austin and the surrounding areas. If anyone knows of locations and times, it would be helpful. I added Johnson's link to the list at left and it last a resouses tab that lists several. George Holcombe pointed out that the Eastside Cafe has its own garden and irrigation system. It might be worth a field trip to see the gardens there.  George is using a well laid out drip irrigation in his garden.He is just off the trail and the garden is well worth a look.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Transplanting and planting time in September

The cool weather has me reinvigorated! I have been transplanting my lettuce from the picnic table (we may actually be able to use it this fall) into the garden mixed with a new multi-colored chard. The chard does not seem as ruffle leafed but it is pretty with red and yellow stems. I may even put some in my shade garden out front. I added a few spinach transplants to the far end and my seed some directly at the other end. Last winter that made them official bug food though so maybe more flats and transplants.

I transplanted the broccoli this morning and will pick up BT at Lowe's today. Using the companion planting theme (if it works) I seeded beets between them. The New Zealand spinach is loving the recent rains and the cooler nights and growing like crazy (lower left) I am getting a cup or so a day from this little patch.

The new cherry tomatoes are thriving in their pots so maybe we'll get some tomatoes this fall and winter after all. The purple basil is going crazy as well and needs to be harvested again. For a plant that is hard to start it sure gets going well.

I expanded the shade garden in the front yard another 5 feet and need to mulch it. Our plan is to bring it all the way out to the junction of the front sidewalk and driveway. 

I have some house plants in there that will have to come inside this winter if it freezes and lirope and a number of perenials which I hope to add to this fall. The Laura Bush petunias are finally doing well and blooming. The plumeria has held on and the new ruelia is taking hold. 
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Friday, September 3, 2010

Revising the beds in September

This week George came into the house and looked so sad. The spider-mites have attacked all the marigolds in the front garden and even with spray, we are not winning. The tree is giving this garden too much shade so it needed a makeover badly but its been too hot and dry to attempt it before. 

Today it rained about 1/4" so I pulled out the sick marigolds and began to move plants around. We have lots of liriope along the walkway and in the back garden and it is blooming with pretty little white and purple spikes. I put some bunches here and there then pulled out some of the Aspidistra plants I had on the front porch with their pretty white blooms and added them. Lastly a few more blue salvia and a couple of the Laura Bush petunias and the bed does not look half bad. I guess I should have taken a "before" but it was way too sad!
The area down the side of the garage with the new walk way does look beautiful. I moved a few of the Red tropical sage from the front walk where they are dwarfing the blue salvia to along the garage wall behind the liriope. The marigolds over here are still holding on. Of course the crepe myrtles are thriving and dropping seeds everywhere. Turns out to be good mulch under the plants.