Garden

#GardenWithJulia 2018 – May 6 Update

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2018 Intro – Here I Come! | Seeds! | Seeds, Round Two! | Feb. 3 Update | Mar 11 Update

Whew it’s been a while, but here’s an update! Really though, I’ve been working on this update for over a month, and I keep coming back and adding more, and putting off publishing it because of the work involved in the images (I like to resize them so they don’t use all my media storage on WP). Here’s a quick video update of the garden from April 23:

And a video from May 6:

I’ll eventually get the images added to this post, but if I don’t publish it now I never will. I think the fact I’ve been up to doing video updates but not blog posts shows that the same way doesn’t always have to work every time. I hope you enjoy getting to see the garden and how it’s doing.

On March 30 I DID A LOT in the garden.

I purchased this, a 2 pack of 50″ diameter 12″ deep plastic planting bags (way cheaper than the fabric ones), and filled it with 9 1.5 cu ft bags of gardening soil. Then I transplanted a zucchini plant, two eggplants, and planted seeds for 2 yellow squash plants, one more zucchini plant, and several marigolds and nasturtiums. The transplanted eggplants seem to be doing okay, but the zucchini not so much. The yellow squash and zucchini seeds have sprouted, as have the nasturtiums (but not the marigold). The second one I’m not filling right now. Maybe in the fall or next spring.

I also filled 4 5-gallon buckets and 8 5-gallon fabric planters with soil, and transplanted 2 of each of the following plants: beefsteak tomatoes, red cherry tomatoes, Yolo Wonder bell peppers, sweet banana peppers, cayenne peppers, and jalapeno peppers. Just a few days after doing this we had a cold front come through with strong winds and a day of at-freezing temperatures with rain, but the plants seem to have survived. An old fence panel fell on some of the peppers, with one Cayenne pepper taking the bring of the fall. But it’s still green, and it has a baby pepper on it, so I think it’ll pull through. I’m not sure if the tomatoes are doing well or not, I guess time will tell.

I also planted several flowers along the back of the house. The cosmos and allysum have survived and flowered a little, and the snapdragons look pretty good but still small/not flowering. It also looks like the seeds I’ve planted are sprouting. I also received some canna bulbs from a family member, and they’re shooting leaves up from the ground now too.

Written out, that sure doesn’t seem like much, but it was a whole day’s worth of work!

My greens bed seems to be doing… half-well? The arugula and kale have really taken off, but I’ve only got like 3 (out of 8) lettuce still trying and only 1 spinach, which seems to be getting eaten by something. The broccoli plant hasn’t done much but the cauliflower has put on several more leaves. And the baby onions… I’m not sure if something is eating them or they’re just not doing well. They’re still green and trying but some are broken and I just haven’t really seen any progress. As of May 6, the arugula has started bolting and I don’t think I’ll see anything but greens from the cauliflower, but I think it was worth the try.

The peas are doing alright, I think, and I’ve used some old branches to give them something to climb. They are now flowering and making pea pods!

My onion plants (planted from pantry onions that began growing inside) are GINORMOUS and soon to flower. My sage (started last year, survived the winter) is blooming and looking very good.

I’ve eaten a few sweet strawberries from my plants already, and there’s a wild dewberry bush by the back door that I’m keeping an excited eye on. However, something gets to about half of my strawberries before I do, and while I was thinking it might be slugs…one day I went out there and the strawberries were still juicy like they’d been eaten recently, and there were giant drops of strawberry juice on the leaves…do rats do this?

I’ve also had some flowers from previous years come back and bloom!

I noticed some (A LOT) of ants in my potato plants. My guess is that they are after the aphids and their sticky stuff. I guess that’s my next thing to figure out how to deal with. After a little while, the ants seemed to have disappeared. I’m not sure if I should be more relieved or worried.

In some ways I still feel so new to gardening. I feel like an imposter. I see other people’s pictures and how tightly placed and green and lush their plants look. Am I doing something wrong? Starting my plants too late or spreading them out too much? Starting some of them too early? Not watering right? I guess it’s all learned in experience, and I don’t have much of that yet.I get started with so many plans and so much excitement, but it doesn’t feel like anything pans out the way I’m hoping.

Garden

#GardenWithJulia 2018 – March 11 Update

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2018 Intro – Here I Come! | Seeds! | Seeds, Round Two! | Feb. 3 Update

Hey There! I know I’ve been a little quiet on the garden front this past month, life gets hectic sometimes. But now I’m here for a quick update!

I added a second grow light to my seed starting area when I realized how leggy they would be if I didn’t. I feel like it’s just right now, and adjustable for the different stages the seedlings are in.

I have cleaned out several of my buckets and mixed some new soil and gotten them ready for planting!

March 6 I planted greens into my large fabric container. These include kale, several kinds of lettuce, arugula, and spinach. In the container is also a cauliflower seeding, a broccoli seedling, the yellow spanish onion seedlings, and carrots. Sugar Snap Peas also went into containers this weekend. I had planned on planting more cole crops and green arrow peas, but I decided to hold off on those for now.

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Large fabric bed (3 ft diameter) planted!

I also had to move the larger seedlings (tomatoes, peppers) into larger containers, QT kids cups with holes in the bottom. There are several more that still need to be moved up.

Tomato and pepper seedlings
Took these out from under the grow light for easy watering. Look how green they are!
Pepper plant showing signs of flowers
I think this jalapeno plant is ready to put out flowers! Eep!
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Strawberries can’t wait for Spring either!

Thanks for stopping by and hanging out! Feel free to ask if you have any questions 🙂

❤ Julia

Garden

#GardenWithJulia 2018 — Seeds, Round Two!

Okay, time for seeds, round two! This time, at 8 weeks before frost date, I have planted another set of seeds from last time (link here) plus the following:

  • Beefsteak Tomato
  • Red Cherry Tomato
  • Spineless Okra
  • Calabrese Broccoli
  • Red Acre Cabbage
  • Dill
  • Oregano
  • Parsley (Italian flat leaf)
  • Sage
  • Basil (Genovese)

I uh…might have mixed up the labels, so I won’t know if I did or not until they grow enough to tell what they are. And a cabbage seed fell into one of the broccoli cells, so I guess I’ll see what happens there. Other than the super-uber-tiny seeds like Oregano, I tried to only put one seed per cell so I didn’t have to choose between too many plants. Now it’s time to continue the waiting game.

 

I’ve also been comparing my seed packet info to that on the Texas A&M University AgriLife Extension page of Recommended Cultivars (link). So far, most of it matches up, but I have a couple of things TAMU says can go out a bit earlier. I figure if that’s hitting my state rather than trying to cover whoever might have bought the seeds, I’ll go with that info. This site also has pdfs for the home gardener for information on varieties, how to grow, problems you might encounter, and harvesting information.

I’ve been planning out what is going to go where in my garden. I enjoy this a lot. I like writing/drawing it all out and seeing what I might need when and predicting any problems that might come up with space. For example, I have a 3′ diameter grow bag that I will be using for my greens. However, based on the maturity times and when I need to plant other things, it could potentially go unused over the summer. I’m working out what I might can put there, but it’s nice to know exactly what spaces I have and if issues like that might arise.

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Drawing out what goes in which container

I have a Google Doc that I’ve been using to plan, and I plan to use it to keep a journal of sorts of my garden this year. I’ve thought about sharing it, so you can see what all I’ve been up to and what I plan to do and when and whatnot. Is that something you’re interested in? Of course, I plan on being much more on with updating this info in the blog, so I don’t know there’s much that won’t be shared here.

I’m super excited about this year, and I hope it turns out to be a good one. One of the things I need to learn is how to use my vegetables once I’ve harvested them. Herbs are something I have zero idea about (who knew they didn’t grow already packed in jars ;-P). Eventually I hope to be able to grow enough food to reliably supplement our groceries and also to preserve some for later use.

Is there something about my gardening journey you’d like to know about? If so, let me know! Or, share a link to your own!

❤ Julia

Garden

#GardenWithJulia 2018 – Seeds!

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#GardenWithJulia 2018 Intro

 -Starting Seeds-

Woo! It’s seed starting time! 10 weeks before frost date is the earliest seeding time on my seeds, and I have several that have that time frame. I’m closer to starting at 9 weeks before.

I ordered these seed starting trays and this grow light (Amazon got me with a lightning deal…). I bought some Jiffy starter mix (Walmart, $5) and here we go! By the way, my links aren’t affiliate, I just thought I’d share exactly what I was using.

Well, to start off, I set up the grow light in my intended place and realized it was a whole heck of a lot brighter than I thought it would be, and I became concerned about the safety of it being in the kitchen and having a six-year-old running around. Even though he listens well, I am cautious about taking the chance. So I thought, what if I can enclose it? And I took to Twitter with my concerns as well. I’ve come across the idea of containing the space with reflective insulation or mylar sheeting (basically like a grow tent), creating a cardboard barrier, or–very possibly–trying a mini greenhouse outside instead. When I brought my problem and possible solutions to my husband, and plugged the light in for him to see, he thinks it’s fine. So I’m going to stick with it and try it. For now I have some cardboard nearby containing some of the light (and hopefully heat).

These are the ones that have “start indoors 8 to 10 weeks before last frost date”:

Snowball Y Cauliflower
Utah Celery
Black Beauty Eggplant
Yellow Spanish Onion
Cayenne Pepper
Jalapeno Pepper
Sweet Banana Pepper
Yolo Wonder Pepper

Since the seed starting trays are in counts of 12, I planted 3 of each of these 8 plants.

Step-by-step, here’s what I did: filled seed trays with seed starting mix, sprayed it with water until damp, made a hole for the seeds, dropped the seeds in, and pushed soil on top of them. Then I placed the dome on top and stuck them on the shelf. Now to watch for germination!

 

-Other Gardening Things-

I’ve drawn out some potential layouts for my plants, but I still can’t decide if I want to continue using the buckets, making it easier to provide support to the plants, or if I want to invest in some fabric planters to try and maximize the interplanting potential. The fabric planters I’m considering are on my “list of possibilities.” And then, the excitable part of me thought:s4eamxv

So, if I can find a way to swing it within my budget, maybe I’ll try both the buckets and the fabric containers. And if not this year, maybe next.

I’ve remembered to join #GardenChat this year, which has been a lot of fun. Several said they’ve grown both tomatoes and corn in the same garden and seen no issues with pollination. I had read that they couldn’t be grown in proximity to each other, which was a bummer, but these chats gave me hope, and maybe I’ll find a way to plant corn this year, too.

Earlier this year, we had a problem with rats in our attic. *shudder* Part of our solution was to trim back the trees that were close to the roof. (Thankfully, trapping the ones that were inside and cutting back the trees seems to have solved our problem for now.) Now, because it’s been freezing the past two months when our lawn pickup with the city runs, we have a bunch of tree branches at the side of our house. So I’ve had the idea to pick out a few and see if I can construct trellises or trellis-holders from these branches. I’ll keep you updated on that one.

Have you grown plants from seed? How and where did you start them? Did you over-think it like I’m doing? What methods work for you?

Thanks for stopping by,

❤ Julia

Garden

#GardenWithJulia — Update 2

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Hello there!

Well, I know I haven’t done nearly as well as keeping you updated on the garden this year, my apologies. Here’s my first update, and here’s where things are now. Continue reading “#GardenWithJulia — Update 2”

Guest · LSBBT

Blog Tour – The Swimming Holes of Texas

BNR Swimming Holes JPGTHE SWIMMING HOLES

OF TEXAS

by

Julie Wernersbach & Carolyn Tracy

Genre: Travel / Outdoors / Swimming

Publisher: The University of Texas Press

Date of Publication: May 16, 2017

Number of Pages: 240, 100 color photos

 

Scroll down for Giveaway!   Continue reading “Blog Tour – The Swimming Holes of Texas”

Garden

#GardenWithJulia 2017 – Update

Hello, Julia here! Wow, I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to get this post up. It’s the end of April, and here’s what’s going on in my garden. Continue reading “#GardenWithJulia 2017 – Update”

Garden

#GardenWithJulia 2017 – Winter Sowing Update

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Hey there! This is just a short little update on my winter sowing experiment. Here’s a short live video I did on Periscope.

Continue reading “#GardenWithJulia 2017 – Winter Sowing Update”

Garden

#GardenWithJulia 2017 – Winter Sowing

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Hello there! I bet you didn’t think you’d see a gardening post so soon! Last year I came across an idea called “winter sowing.” Basically, you sow the seeds you want to grow in a plastic container and set it outside during the winter. In colder climates (those with freezing temps/snow), this is a way to get a jump on the gardening season. It’s hard to find much info on winter sowing in warm climates, mostly because I think there’s not really a need for it. BUT! I figure there’s no harm in trying, right? I already have all the materials, and if nothing comes from it, I’ve lost nothing, and gained experience I wouldn’t have if I didn’t try at all. Continue reading “#GardenWithJulia 2017 – Winter Sowing”

Garden

Gardening with Julia – Final Video and 2016 Wrap-Up

Hello there! Sorry, I fell off my update and video wagon. I still want to wrap up the year and let you know that I am excited to try this again next year!

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The rest of the year

The last update I gave, I had just begun planning my fall garden.

Also shortly after that update, an invasion of aphids set up camp in my garden and stunted the growth of the pepper, watermelon, and cantaloupe plants. I was able to regain control over the pepper plants, but the damage to the watermelon plant left it struggling at barely six inches tall, and no more growth ever happened. The cantaloupe plant was able to grow a little and produce one small cantaloupe, but the cooler weather set in before it could ripen.

I had zero luck with fall spinach, lettuce, and beets.

I did have some luck with some fall green beans and carrots, though. These carrots grew and looked a lot better than the others, and I think it may have been the different variety that made the difference.

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I had planted some snow peas, and they grew tall and fast. I got about three delicious pods from them before they reached the state they are in now. Green but heavy and limp, not producing anything. Either I didn’t do well at watering (very possible) or the crazy Texas weather did a number on them. I’m excited to try them again, though! I love snow peas!

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My pepper plants continued producing a good amount of time, and I got two roma tomatoes from one tomato plant. The rest of the plants didn’t survive the combination heat/bugs/novice gardener.

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The Last Video

Things Learned

Squash bug hatchlings are crazy/gross looking. I’ve learned “that strange brown stick” is one way eggs are laid, you can be sure that I’ll be on the lookout for those!

The way I made my indoor greenhouse wasn’t good. Apparently, if I’d actually been using a grow light, the heat would have reflected off the foil and fried the seedlings.

I think I may need to try and mix my soil with something to make it a little lighter/better draining.

I need more plants of each type. I think that will help with pollination and the chances of something surviving the elements.

I actually really like growing flowers. They made me happy each time I saw them.

Gardening makes me exceptionally happy.

Looking Forward

While I’m not going to spell out my plans for 2017 just yet, I do want to say that I look forward to gardening again, and I hope you’ll continue to follow along! Maybe I’ll even become better at making/editing/posting the videos.