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Crimson Sweet Watermelon

28 Aug

Today is Sunday August 28, 2011, and it’s oppressively hot here.

The DFW area has had 62 days of temperatures over 100 degrees and todays high is forecasted to reach 107, oh joy.  Along with the crazy hot heat we have had very little to no rain. Its’ going to take a hurricane to knock the high pressure front  loose from its iron clad grip it has on Texas. Too bad hurricane Irene choose to hit the Eastern Seaboard and not the Gulf Coast 😦

Never the less I enjoy playing in my gardens and they still nature my soul. So today I got up early to water them and in the process I found myself squishing the mud between my toes, among other more typical gardening activities. Well to be honest I get up early every day, so today was no different. As I was giving them their morning water I noticed that the watermelon plant had two REALLY big melons. They looked ripe so I picked one to check before I picked the other melon since this is the first time I have grown watermelons and I am really not sure how to tell if they are ripe.

I also decided to shoot a video of the crazy watermelon patch that somehow did not get the memo that it’s too hot and dry to be such a strong vibrant plant.

Enjoy

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First Fall Veggies Planted…Praying for Rain

1 Aug

Well today is August 1st which is traditionally when you start planting your fall vegetable garden in North Texas. But with the extreme heat that we’re having (highs predicted this week to be 108) and no relief in sight, I was not sure if I should “plant” or “not plant”.

After much thought and deliberation, I decided to go for it. It might be a mistake but what the heck there only seeds that did not cost much any way. In fact some of the seeds I harvested from last years crops and I can’t save them past one year anyway.

This year when I planed my fall vegetable garden I took the seed packs that I wanted to plant and marked the date they needed to be in the ground, breaking them into 3 groupings (8-1; 8-15, and 9-1). So today I got up bright and early, grabbed the seeds with the Aug 1st date on them and went to work. Lucky for me my beds are not hard which made hoeing and planting a snap.

What did I plant today you asks?

August 1st veggies planted

I planted two rows of: carrots, swiss chard, bush green beans and cilantro. I also supplemented the spring cucumbers (that are still alive) with a few cucumber seeds. I am still on the quest for 1 gal tomatoes, and if don’t find any this week I’ll have to give it up since it will be too late to plant them – wish me luck.

Now all that is needed is to water them daily and make sure a hard crust does not form on the rows, preventing the seeds from breaking through. Well that and to start praying for rain and a break to this excessive heat were having this summer.

North Texas Fall Vegetable Gardening

26 Jul

Its time to begin preparing and planting your fall garden for a bountiful autumn harvest

With just a little attention and effort you may be surprised to find that growing fall vegetables in the backyard garden is even more enjoyable than planting a vegetable garden during the spring and summer seasons. Fall vegetables don’t require any special care, with our favorable autumn growing conditions the plants will grow rapidly at first and gradually slow as the days become shorter and colder.

You’ll be happy to discover that destructive insects won’t be as numerous, nor create as much of a problem as they can during the summer. You will struggle less with weed control because the weeds will germinate less frequently and grow slower than they do during the summer seasons. Compared to the hot and dry summers, fall usually brings an increase in the amount of precipitation, eliminating another time-consuming garden chore of irrigating the garden.

As you get ready for fall remember that every time you prepare the soil to plant a new crop, always mix in as much compost as you can get your hands on. Add well-decomposed animal manure, fertilizer and lime if needed.

Also seeded vegetables can be tricky to get up in the Texas heat. Soil often forms a crust on the surface after tillage and watering. This “crust” can hinder tender seedlings from breaking through. To combat this problem before sowing, take your garden hose and thoroughly soak the bottom of the seed furrow with water. Next sow the seed. The seed should stay moist enough until germination. I have read about people placing a board or wet burlap over the seed row to provide constant dampness to encourage germination and emergence, remove the covering when you see the first seedlings breaking through….that seems a little extreme for me.

Following is a list cold hardy crops that are ideal to plant in your North Texas fall vegetable garden.

North Texas Fall Planting Dates

8/1 – 9/1 8/15 – 9/15 9/1 – 10/15 9/15 – 10/15
Beans Cabbage Beets Lettuce
Broccoli Carrots Garlic Mustard
Brussels sprouts Cauliflower Spinach Radish
Card, Swiss Collard/Kale Turnips
Corn Parsley
Cucumbers Peas
Tomatoes * Potatoes

* Buying a plant that is in a half-gallon or gallon container and is more mature, allows you to cheat and plant it later than in July. Smaller sizes of tomatoes should be planted 7/1 – 7-15.

What vegetables are on the yes list for Kay’s  fall vegetable garden ?

After giving it much thought and consideration here is what I have decided to plant. Interesting to note, I have never planted a fall vegetable garden before, so this will be a first for me. I will let you know if I enjoy it as much as I enjoy my summer gardens.

  • Tomatoes – top on my list are tomatoes, but that has turned out to be a little bit more challenging than normal this year. It seems the fall tomato plants were delivered to the nursery while I was on vacation and their all gone 😦 my last hope is to head down to the Dallas Farmers Market and see if any of the vendors have gallon size tomatoes for sale, cross your fingers.
  • Mustard Greens – Tim and I really enjoy greens so I will be planting more Mustard Greens. My summer greens were plentiful and tasted great.
  • Carrots – since my soil is soft and not hard I will be planting carrots. I have discovered over the years don’t even waste your time planing root crops if your soil is on the hard side.
  • Sugar Peas – I’ve tried growing Sugar Peas in my spring/summer garden and it’s just too hot, so I am hoping that they will like our Texas fall temperatures better.
  • Bush String Beans – this is also one of my favorite vegetables, it just seems to go well with just about any dish.
  • Swish Chard – while Tim and I were in Hawaii this summer I noticed that they grew a lot Swiss Chard, so in honor of our Hawaii vacation I am going to planting some.
  • Radishes – Not everyone likes radishes, but we do. Plus radishes are the EASIEST veggie there is to grow, which makes them idea for a child’s first veggie garden experience.

Dallas Arboretum frog - I wish his was mine

  • Cosmo’s – don’t do well in our summer heat and since my gardens tend to be none traditional in their layout and design – I require them to be pretty. I accomplish this by also planting flowers and herbs along side of all the veggies. In addition I add garden art, such as ornate trellis’, an iron cross, and fun frogs, (I have loved frogs since I was a kid).

Well there you have it – lets hope that the 100-degree temperatures break soon and God sends North Texas some much need rain, which will way to jump-start all of our fall vegetable gardens.

Happy Planting

How is your garden doing with all of this crazy heat and no rain?

25 Jul

Another day, another 100-degree reading: DFW now at 24th consecutive day and counting OUCH!

Forecasters say this years string of 100-degree days in North Texas is heading to be one of the worst summers EVER. In fact except for 1980 when we had 42 consecutive 100-degree days, looks like this year will come in second.
And to make matters worse Texas A&M  reported:
JUNE
  • The months-long Texas drought is sapping the record books bone dry and is racking up dire statistics that have never been reached since reliable record-keeping was started 116 years ago, according to figures from Texas A&M University researchers.
  • 2011 marked the hottest June ever in Texas with an average of 85.2 degrees, breaking the previous mark of 84.9 set in 1953.
  • June was not only the warmest June in Texas history, it comes in as the fourth warmest month ever, which usually goes to a July or August time period

JULY

  • July 2011 is on track for the second hottest July in the record books
  • North Texas tied the all-time record for highest minimum temperature yesterday (7-25-11), with the low for the day was 85 degrees, tying the all-time record set on Sept. 1, 1939.

“How is your garden doing with all of this crazy heat and no rain?

Mine is not doing so good, it just could not take the 100-degree days and the nights not cooling down, the plants had not time to rest and recover, so today I cleaned out the dead or dying plants.  Now I am looking forward to planting my fall vegetables (my next blog will be on planting your fall vegetable garden).

Check out my before photos and after video.

Tomatoes

Here are some tips to how you can help your garden this summer? 

  • Water 2 times a day
  • Add 3 to 5 inches of mulch, raised beds are particularly vulnerable to drying out in our Texas summer weather.
  • put shade cloth over the more tender plants

4th of July Festive Veggie

4 Jul

I seem to like to shoot gardening videos on holidays and this 4th of July is no different. So welcome to my backyard on this blistery hot July day. Be sure to watch the slide show after you view the video.

I hope each of you have a wonderful 4th of July filed with friends, Bar-B-Que and Fireworks.

Video shot on Sunday July 3, 2011

Slideshow shot on Sunday July 3, 2011

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Gardening update

13 Jun

June 12, 2011 the veggies are doing great. Except for the dreaded squash bore and some little varmet keeps nibbling my tomatoes before they are completely ripe.

BUT I’ll fix um watch and see.

Garden Montage

28 May

These video’s were taken almost 1 month ago on Mothers Day May 8, 2011. I had trouble getting them to download to my blog and that is why you are just now seeing them. As you can guess all of these gardens have grown quite a lot since I shot these videos. I will try to be more timely with future video post.

Introduction

I don’t know how I got upside down?

Comfort Garden


Bedroom Garden

Veggie Garden