Monday, February 28, 2011

Looking forward to information on pest control

The garden guild meeting this month is going to address something we all battle with--how to share the garden with the pests but get the upper hand. Some of the pests turn into friends as they grow up and some do not. Organic gardening makes a commitment to not use heavy chemical pesticides  but instead use a variety of means to promote a healthy environment while having plants that flourish. 

The speaker this week, Richard Fadal of TexasScapes has long used less traditional methods on the green spaces in Wells Branch to keep our parks green and our water supply uncontaminated. It will be interesting to learn ways that each household can use to make their yards beautiful by treating the pests. The meeting is at 7pm on March 3rd at the library. 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

February freeze brings changes in the garden

The freeze was long and very hard on my garden.  We just do not get this kind of weather in central Texas! Some things made it and some did not. It gave lots of time for contemplation as it was too cold to do anything else. I finally purchased a small tiller from Amazon to expand the beds in the front yard and to mix the compost in the two staging areas in the back around the patio. I have been adding finished compost to the mix from our local MUD too. I also found Organic garden soil at Big Lots. It is not potting soil but has chicken manure in it which is just what our last expert was recommending for our gardens. I side dressed the lettuce and chard a bit with it and they are IN LOVE!

The two mini-greenhouses I also purchased at Big Lots were a savior during the cold. Lots of tomatoes are up and into individual pots to grow to transplant size. Used a combination of a small oil filled heater and red Christmas lights to keep the temperature reasonable. The frames kept the heat in and the moisture up. Plants are thriving and were not set back as much as I can tell. I am also using a heat mat to germinate the peppers this year. They  want 80 degrees to sprout and they are getting it. Moving them to the little greenhouses when they are up. I am trying to log things carefully in the folia and love using it.

So what made it? some of the lettuce made it with covers all the way through. Red leaf did not. Bibb did best. Several types were inside and are supplying us well. Broccoli and cauliflower were totally destroyed except 2 that had a gallon jug of water against the stem. Good idea??? NZ spinach made it the first few days then the cold was just too much. Gave me time to pick a lot and use it up. Most of the chard made it as did most of the beets. The carrots in bins got harvested the 2nd week. Most of the potatoes in the bin seem to have made it. The ones in the ground are good to go.  The peas and carrots I seeded before the freeze are all thriving now. 

Now to the new garden but that is for another day. First tilling today eliminated 1/2 of the grass in the front yard.