This Summer/Autumn season I didn’t do much in our home garden, due to health issues earlier in the year. Therefore, I don’t have very little for harvest. Our green onions and rainbow chard did well throughout the year. Other than that, we only have a few herbs left. It is still better, than nothing at all. I will take a break from gardening, until January; it will be time for seedlings to start for the Spring/Summer season. In the meantime, we’ll enjoy our fresh herbs until it gets too cold for them as well. 😉
This morning, I purchased some flowers, peppers and parsley from the nursery. Since I always run out of fresh parsley, I had to get another plant while I’m waiting for the seeds to grow. When I looked at the parsley plant, I’ve noticed I had a Black Swallowtail caterpillar munching on a leaf. I don’t mind taking the caterpillar home with me. Now, my parsley will go for the wildlife, again. This evening, I’ll look for a wasting basket to transfer the Black Swallowtail caterpillar over to my dill plant. I don’t want Mr. Cardinal knocking on the door for this particular kind of food. There are still plenty of other goodies for the Cardinal Family in my garden. I have to cover the plant up to protect the Black Swallowtail, until it turns into a chrysalis. Then I can bring it into my greenhouse to become a beautiful butterfly. Once it is ready for the outdoors, the girls and I will name it and release it into the wild.
Our peppers and tomatoes love the warm May weather. And the other vegetables, fruits herbs and flowers (to attract pollinators) like it as well. Yesterday I’ve noticed, we are raising Cabbage White Butterflies inside the greenhouse. I found a couple of empty chrysalis on the Ornamental Kale leaves. No wonder, we have so many flying Cabbage Whites flying around in our garden. Well, I can’t blame them. There is a lot of cabbage to feast on for the caterpillars. And Family Cardinal is happy to get fresh caterpillars for their young. Here are several photos of what’s growing in our raised bed garden in mid-May.
May has arrived, and finally we get warmer days and nights. The day temperatures are in the mid to upper 80s (28º-31ºC), while at night they are in the upper 50s to low 70s (15º-21ºC). This is perfect weather for our crop to grow in the raised beds. Kevin, the girls and I are excited that the peppers are getting bigger. The peach tree is heavy with fruits. And soon, we can harvest some Romaine Lettuce. I love dinners with fresh harvested salad from the backyard. Here are some photos I’ve captured from the raised bed garden, today.
The wind can be very challenging to capture some nice photos of the vegetables, today. But I managed to get some photos, so I can show you how our garden is doing so far. The peppers come along very nicely, and so do the cauliflower and other vegetables. It is still early in Spring. It will take several weeks and much warmer weather, before we can harvest a lot of them. In the meantime, I have to start some seeds for cantaloupe, black-eyed peas and cucumbers this months. They love the hot Texas Summer weather.
Since my second bed was put together by the church gardeners, all I had to do is plant some tomatoes, peppers, basil, tomatillos, etc. But I also planted more flowers for our pollinators in the first bed. Last year, we had bees and beautiful butterflies visiting the garden. I would like to see, if a hummingbird is coming over for a visit as well. Pollinators are so important for a vegetable/fruit garden. Some plants get wind pollinated, others need a little help from our insect and bird friends. While most of the flowers still have to grow, before they will bloom; I captured photos of some flowers, which are in bloom right now. And of course, the vegetables are growing very well too.
It is getting warmer in Texas. In the beginning of the week it still felt like Winter. By the end it will feel like late Spring/early Summer. But I still have to keep a close eye to the temperatures, since we still get 30s and 40s (-1ºC to +9ºC) some nights. During the day it is wonderful to get everything ready for the Spring garden.
Today, I decided to plant my tomatoes a little bit deeper. Their roots are not as established, yet. I still could dig around the roots and drop them with some Epsom salt lower into the soil. The peppers will bloom soon. I found some good size buds on them. And the rest, which were planted earlier is doing very well in the raised beds. Our plants are growing. I finally planted the cauliflower and kohlrabi in one of the beds. Since I lost them to a freeze last December, I was very hesitant until now. When it gets too cool, I have to cover them. We easily could get another cold snap here in North Texas in mid-April. The magic temperature number is 55ºF (13ºC) for the tomatoes. When the ‘maters get covered, the cauliflowers, kohlrabi and peppers will get covered as well.
The last couple of days, I was very busy in the garden. I planted tomatoes, peppers, brussels sprouts, chard, snow peas and herbs. Despite it might be a little early for the tomatoes and peppers, I put them in the ground anyway. Tomorrow, I have to put up a cold frame. Because we supposed to have a few nights with temperatures in the mid 30s (3ºC). But I didn’t want to wait too much longer, and we might have a good chance that we get some vegetables before the heat comes into North Texas, again.
In the meantime, we enjoy the blooms inside the greenhouse. It always feels good to see some color, even during the cooler months of Winter. The Narcissus are all in bloom; the Gazania blossom looks so beautiful; the Sweet Williams are coming back; and the Tulips will start blooming any day, now.
Last Sunday, I ordered more seeds from Botanical Interests. Since they have free shipping on all their orders throughout the months of February, I had to use this opportunity to also get some seeds I usually can’t get in my local nursery. Today, the package arrived. When I opened it, I could tell it was put together with Love. The order was complete. And it had some extras: a Mesclun salad seed package, a seed guide, and a sticker. Now, I’m excited and can barely wait until the weather becomes warmer and I can work in the garden again.