Category Archives: gardening

Gardening Adventures and Successes, Here’s to 2018!

This year I managed to have the time to start getting the garden ready for planting and then plant in March!  I have aimed at that time for years and finally was able to do this.  I started with getting rid of the dirt that I had purchased and put into the 5′ x 20′ garden box in 2017.  Beware when ordering dirt that you know exactly and have proof of what you are ordering is the same as what you get.

Also, be careful not to accept a company based upon the name!  I have seen these kinds of things over and over in business where people that are trying to sell their products by claiming they have a special trustworthiness like “Christian lawn services” or such like.  Absolutely its nice to know if your business relation has a reputation for doing the right thing and not cheating you, but going by their name is not the way you know that.  Like I said, I have seen this through business over the years in many facets of the business I am in.  Was blind sided this time because not only were they calling the company “Integrity” but they were in my own neighborhood and stated on flyers they were military.  Double whammy on the representations and of course I bought into it.  Softy for military.

So, I had asked for the same kind of dirt I had in the box (there was 1/3 left in the box) and to be sure to purchase from a certain landscape company that has this organic mulched composted soil.  It was literally 10 minutes from the house, but I do not have the where-with-all to get this type of job done and must hire someone.

Low and behold, I saw the trailer when it was sitting out front as I returned from work and saw a huge clod of clay on it.  Looked at the dirt in the backyard in the box and could not really tell but seemed lighter to me.  I had paid them.  Need I say more.

So, not knowing for sure it was bad soil, I planted and watered.  My garden barely did anything.  It had a sandy appearance on top.  It seemed as if it was clay and sand and perhaps some other darker soil, but it was not the composition I needed.

I had the same GOOD soil for 10 years and had worked and shaken the plants until the dirt was down about 8 inches.  So, I needed more dirt or the thin layer left would start to turn into grass and weeds!

This year I had a new landscape company that made no representations at all, I just saw them working in the neighborhood and liked their work.  After using them for about a year I could see how trustworthy they were.  They actually told me to go out to the organic landscape site and pick out exactly what I wanted so there would be no doubt.  I did that and went ahead and paid for it while I was there at contractor rates (which were great!).  So, I paid a pretty penny for getting this done again, but it was right this time.  Lesson learned!

Now, I have a beautiful box of organic soil with just the right mixture, light and full of compost and mulch, some sand, some lava sand, but not enough to weigh down the garden and make it hard to work.  It was almost like potting soil.  Back in business!

Then we had a very cold Spring!  So I had planted with warmth in mind and a lot of my “warm” season plants turned white on the leaves.  These were cucumbers.

I planted two types:  pickling and smooth.  Also, planted leeks, carrots, beets, radishes, salad greens and pepper plants.  I learned that you need to start Bell Peppers inside before transplanting them in the box when weather is truly warm.  Done.  I also learned that its best for us hobby gardeners to plant onions inside until more mature and then transplant.  I am using moss containers that will disappear when planted into the garden after this window seat period of seedlings.

Also, I was delighted to find some vines called “Morning Glory” that are very pretty and hearty to plant inside and in no time those came up and are now climbing up to the blinds!  They are very cute!  I will be transplanting them soon to take up some open spots along the fence and provide beauty and more privacy at the same time.  It will also draw more butterflies and bees!  The colors are violet, blue and pink mixed with some white.

End of summer of 2017 I planted 6 new bushes in the back.  They started out just about a foot high.  Now the roses are about 3 1/2′ high bordering the back of the house in 3 colors.  So majestic looking!  Also added 2 desert bushes called “Sage” that have the most eye popping horizon colored flowers late in the summer.  Need almost no water.  Last but not least, one more tree which will be a deep purple colored Crape Murtle.  All but one of these were purchased at Walmart at end of season.  Great value! (I know, that’s what they say on all their private label goods, but its TRUE).

Back to my current gardening.  The last new plants I will attempt to grow are watermelon, cantelope and lemons!

All in all this has been an interesting and challenging new Spring season!  Glad to get things back in order.  I will report next time of the growth and production and show a few photos.  Happy gardening folks!  Its that time of year again!

Good luck with your landscape help!

Gardening and Tails of Cotton

Spring and Summer of 2013.   Got an early start on planting the Spring garden for cool weather plants and a slow start on the summer portion of the garden for warm weather plants.   I had planted a variety of lettuces and carrots February 2.  A few weeks later we were enjoying  dark green  kale plants growing about 2 feet tall, Romaine Lettuce, Red Lettuce, Carrots, Spearmint.  As the temps began to warm up it was time to pull up the lettuces a little at a time and begin planting cucumbers, tomatoes and okra.  But, along about the beginning of May, I discovered a cotton tail rabbit with pretty penciled eyes and small sharp ears, a delicate small body and a fluffy white cotton ball tail that loved my dense forest of carrot greens standing tall and making a cool but tasty place to live and move about while she was a rabbit in waiting!

Mrs. bunny, as I called her, dug a 4-5 inch nest at the end of the carrot garden and when I was tending to the garden and got a little too close she shot up like a rocket and across the yard in one leap!  One day I noticed that she stayed in the garden and just backed up and looked at me.  That was strange.  I kept on with my business, watering and picking my way through looking at the plants.  Then I saw a couple of very small baby bunnies that could barely hop, only an inch at a time.  They hid themselves well for such young ones.  Later I would see the rare appearance of a large male rabbit, standing watch over these little ones outside the above-the-ground garden.

I was careful with my watering but I would see them running across for cover from time to time.  I thought this very small mother rabbit was too petite to have more than the two babies I had seen, but much to our surprise one day we lifted up a large Kale leaf and there were huddled five little ones laying close together and sleeping snug like little puppies.   Well, now this delayed my plans a bit and I endured a lot of rabbit life for the next 4 to 5 weeks until all of them were weaned and left the nesting grounds.  Now and then one baby might wander back to the garden and hide beneath the cucumber vines as the season got hotter.

One day we caught one of the little ones.  It was so cute when we raised up the vines there it was crouching down as if to hide with eyes squinted and very still.  We just followed it to the fence line and picked it up.  We enjoyed petting it but we let it go back into our garden to wait for its mother again.

Didn’t see that one any more.  We have enjoyed the mom coming and going even until now.  I continued to pull fresh carrots for her and layed them out under the rose bush (a very thick and cool place for her to stay).  The next day you could see where she had  whittled away on the carrots.

The garden surprised me planting the cucumbers so late in June they began coming up in July.  We thought that the cukes would be toast in the Texas heat.  The bees were late showing up also.  I sent up a few prayers for my garden and asked for the bees and for help.  I should not have been surprised, but I was.  July and August were some of the wettest and coolest months we have had this summer and in years.  There were an abundance of bees every day pollinating and buzzing harmlessly.  There was life in that garden and fantastic crop of cukes!  We could not keep the okra because the little rabbits loved them so much they never got a foothold!  They also loved the young tender Kale plants.  They stayed away from the cukes pretty much.  No evidence of eating them at all.

I finally figured out why my tomatoes don’t grow in this garden each year.  It is not lack of calcium.  It’s not lack of fertilizer.  It’s not too hot.  It’s not too cool.  It’s not the rain, heat or drought.  Its  not bugs or worms.  It’s the thickness of the soil.

I learned that Cukes like loose airy soil and tomatoes like thick dense clay type soil.  Next year I will plant a separate garden for tomatoes along the fence on the ground.  My above the ground garden?  it will still be the home of Mrs. Bunny but I may put some screening around my Okra plants.  I missed our okra this year!

Mrs. Bunny is still out there, enjoying the cool grass and peace every afternoon and sometimes I see her out there at night, just resting and enjoying the moonlight.  It was a good season all in all.  Made a few friends, ate well and plan on doing the same next year.  I thank God for the bees, the unseasonably cool months, the rain and our cotton tailed bunnies.

God Bless all my readers!  may you have a wonderful fall and winter.  Be thinking about a winter garden.  I am.  You can enjoy the dainties of earth harvested with your own hands until next Spring and change it once again.

Natures Sunshine Herbs