01/28/2024 TX home visit

I managed to get up early enough to see frost on a Texas Thistle!
All the little bluestem sparkled beautifully in the morning sun.
Even the horsemint frost hadn’t quite melted yet.

01/16/2024 sneaky

The plant window is backlit brightly. You can see houseplants fully visible on the top shelf and the shapes of decorations and pots on the second shelf. On the bottom cat level, Shackleton’s face is in profile as he faces east to the morning sun.
I think Shackleton thinks he is hidden as usual in the plant window. He seemed very surprised when I growled his name sternly as he tried to climb to the forbidden next shelf!! I left a thermometer in there and on the cold nights it was in the 40s F. I guess the sun is very tempting and the fleece blanket keeps the metal floor from being cold and wet as frost melts from the glass.

01/14/2024 not very efficient plant window

Single pane glass isn’t great in this extreme weather. Fortunately most of the plants are above the thin metal bottom. in past years this has damaged tomato seedlings when we did them in the window.
Frost is pretty though. Mom fixed the stained glass cardinal for me recently! Thanks Mom!

11/26/2023 experiment for new vegetable perennials

One plant protector clipped closed by a stainless steel clip. One open with all its cells filled with water. The plastic is a translucent pale aqua color.
After reading about “wall-o-waters” in a book about gardening in the Great Plains, we eventually noticed a similar product for sale in Ellison’s Feed & Seed called Season Starters and decided to give them a try. We got 3 in one pack for about $15. They’re like mini greenhouses using water for both insulation and stability in a series of cells. We clamped ours shut with the stainless steel clips we like for holding plastic on the hoops for the greens. We put them around some new plants we ordered from California (I’Itoi bunching onions, Florida Finley bunching onions, and society garlic which is not actually a garlic though in same family). They should be fine in our winter once they’re established, but they just arrived a week or two ago.

11/05/2023 late but clearing for garlic

A series of seven raised beds edged by corrugated stainless steel and connected by three beige plastic trellises. A pile of holly branches in front, and some beds still having tomato cages covered in frost killed cowpea vines. One bed has hoops and plastic over it.
I got probably a total of three beds cleared (two halves and two wholes) for putting our garlic back in. I also moved some yaupon branches into the city compost bins (saving some to try making tea). I put a lot of cowpea seeds behind the yaupon holly in hopes that they’ll take over there next year. The rest of vine waste I set over south of the fourth bed to try to smother the invasive sedges and bermudagrass that keeps creeping in since we haven’t put ground covers there yet. We haven’t got the garlic in yet. But closer. Next year not letting cowpeas bury the raised beds.

10/30/2023 last peppers

The last peppers of the season piled on the gray ceramic kitchen table. There are long curly skinny yellow corbaci, big red bell, green bells, and brown-purple bells, and two little triangular apple peppers.
Before the hard freeze I cut down all the pepper plants (plus a few stray and unfortunately sized okra) and put them in the garage. The next day when I had time, I sorted and weighed them. we got a good last bunch of all our pepper varieties for this year! Paula notes of the sweet peppers, the apple peppers were sweetest when both red and green. The California wonder bell and chocolate bell were both more bitter when young/green. The Chef likes the thin and easy to cut corbaci peppers.

10/29/2023 first freeze forecast tonight

Piles of vegetable greenery on a concrete front poor with a black double door in the background
So, in spite of rain all day and temperatures in the 30s F, I went out and cut all the plants. That’s the giant pile of cut basil on an overflowing Rubbermaid tub and assorted cut off pepper plants nearby. The rest of the day was getting basil leaves off the stems.
An inch thick basil stem cut off, with my hand nearby for scale.
The basil stems were so big I had to use the loppers to cut them at the base.
A blue-gray rubber made plastic tub almost full of bright green basil leaves
3608 grams of basil leaves. This is 7.95 pounds. Yes, we did tare the tub weight. Yes, it is a lot of basil. No, I don’t even know what’s going to happen.

03/22/2023 nighttime-only cat! babies!!! And dinner!

Briar helpfully alerted me to a potential friend carefully crossing the back fence today! What a magnificent neighbor.
Turns out a few peach flowers survived.
The ones with dropped petals are quite striking with pale tips over maroon backgrounds!
I believe this is the annual (?) Cardamine sp from nearby seeded into the prickly pear planter.
Abby has kindly identified this as a human-introduced species Armeria serpyllifolia, thyme-leaved sandwort. It isn’t from North American originally but doesn’t seem to dramatically disturb the landscape.
This one may be an introduced chickweed. But a fuzzy one, not Stellaria media.
More baby inland sea oat seedlings in a second pot!my
Multiple baby native Rosa sp from Fannin Co TX. Thanks Mom!
This seems big enough to be the persimmon I actually planted??
Seedlings in false gaura pot, but not sure they look right.
Oklahoma penstemon given to me by a kind fellow Norman citizen!
Maybe smartweed amongst the Chenopodium. We shall see.
A Datura maybe?? The label fell out of this pot. Anybody recognize this seed?
I am informed the mustard leaf garnish is from garden and that the soup contains poblanos from last year from the freezer.

03/19/2023 after hard overnight freeze of 20 F

Kieffer pear leaves look fine.
A lot (or all?) peach flowers look wilted. This is okay, because it is such a young tree I want it to concentrate on growing, not fruiting. it looks like the leaves are coming out okay without wilting.
The agastaches in backyard planter are fine. These just-transplanted ones are less fine, but something has been nibbling on them too (we’ll assume earwigs…). I think the front one made it but it’s hard to tell on the back one because it was mostly chewed up.