Every day, I worked on the first bed a little bit in the evenings. Yesterday, I finally got it done. First I built the wall from cinder blocks, I had sitting in the garden. After the wall was in place, I filled the bed with compost, soil, and topped it off with some mulch. I dug big holes for the tomato plants. But before I planted them, I dropped more compost, corn meal, Epsom salt, expanded shale, and worm casting in the holes. Then I picked off the bottom three tomato branches and sat the tomatoes deep in the bed. That way, the plants can produce more roots, which can get more water and nutrition from the soil. Next to the tomatoes, I planted some marigolds to keep the Tomato Hornworm under control. Last year, I had one eating half of my tomato plant in one night. They are pretty looking caterpillars. But they are evil little boogers. The bottom cinder blocks, I filled in with old mulch. I wanted to save on the soil. Usually herbs don’t need deep soil to grow well. Now, we also have lavender, strawberries, orange mint, basil, lemon thyme, parsley, and dill. The parsley and the dill will be for swallowtail caterpillars in Summer. I’m glad, I’ve got this bed done before the rain storm came in.
Our peach tree looks so pretty, when the first blossoms open in Spring. I never can get enough of these beautiful little pinkish flowers. In February, I’ve pruned the tree a little bit. But I still might have left too many twigs on the tree. Eventually, I’ll figure it out, how much is okay and what is too much. Last year, we had lots of peaches. But they were small. I’ve figured, not pruning it, would cause bearing small fruits. Now, I’ve gotten quite a bit of bloom on the tree, again. Let’s see, how the fruits will turn out. If they are still too small, I need to seek some advise from the local nursery. Since we’ve also had very hot days in the month of July, the tree might need more water last Summer. But I’d rather ask an expert, before I “drown” the tree.
Finally, Kevin and I started my new project. Last week, I purchased the materials. And this afternoon, we’ve put the wooden frame together. But first I had to unlock and separate the greenhouse from its metal frame, before we could place the wood in the same spot. Kevin had some leftover wood blocks, we could use for securing the corners of the base. After the wooden base was done, we could screw the metal frame on the wood and reinstall the greenhouse. The greenhouse is so light, we just picked it up as a whole and moved it around as needed. Kevin and I decided not to put shelves in the greenhouse. We will have raised beds, like we had the first year.
Katelynn helped leveling the ground for the wooden frame. And she cleaning the soil out of the bottom of metal frame. She really enjoyed helping us with the project. Joshua came from the garage into the backyard, He played garden inspector and made sure, we are all doing our jobs well. Best way to keep an eye on all of us, is the view from the tree … or he just got bored and decided to chase the Brown-headed Cowbirds out of the Bradford Pear tree, before they would have pooped on us eventually.
After a few cool days below freezing point, the warmth of Spring is coming back, tomorrow. For the next couple of days, I have plans to get the greenhouse back in shape. Kevin and I talked about getting a wooden frame under the greenhouse. It would be a little bit higher. And due to the ground constantly shifting, the new frame makes the greenhouse frame sturdier, again. The ground needs new mulch and we need some shelves for some potted plants. It will be some work, but it is worth it. Having fun in the Spring Sun.
Spring takes a break to let the cold front come through early this week. We expect temperatures as low as 22ºF (-6ºC) for two nights. Thank goodness, everything is covered in the garden. And Kevin rolled the Meyer Lemon tree in the garage. I covered the tree as well. But for extra protection, we rather have it in a warmer place. For the next few days, I’ll have a fire in the fire place. When the front is over, the firewood will be gone as well. I just hope, we will be done with the hard freezes in North Texas. We don’t want to get more firewood before this Summer, when it is cheaper than in Winter.
While I worked in the garden, Chewbacca hung out with me in the backyard. First, he ate some grass blades. And then he looked at the birds. There were so many too watch in the trees, in the bushes and on the fence. Chewbacca prowled on a couple of birds. But they were much faster. Sometimes, the birds startled him when the whole flock flew off into another tree. In the meantime, I planted my onion slips, rhubarb and strawberries. When I was done, with my garden work, Chewbacca was ready to come into the house. It was enough adventure for him in one day.
What a nice surprise on Valentine’s Day: Our hyacinths began to bloom, today. The mild weather is perfect for them to show their little dresses. Last week, I planted and covered the hyacinths up with straw to protect them from the cold spell. And this week, we get rewarded with beautiful flowers.
UPDATE on February 16, 2019: This morning, when I refilled the bird feeder, I’ve noticed the hyacinths are in full bloom. Here are a couple of photos I want to share with you. Aren’t they pretty?
Finally, I’ve got around to plant some broccoli, lettuce, and spinach in the raised bed. After I fertilized the bed really well, the plants went into the soil. Kevin can not wait to get fresh lettuce from our home garden, on the table in Spring. So, I always have to plant some lettuce. Katelynn and Sara love their broccoli. And I just enjoy some fresh spinach. Since Winter is not over quite yet, and we still can get nights below freezing point, I made sure, the small plants are covered with straw and Fraser Fir branches. My next project is to get the onion slips into the ground. It feels so good gardening, again.
The “Three P-Rule” or PPP does not only count for tomato plants in our garden. They go for all the plants. Some plants are hardier and can withstand freezing temperatures; a lot of plants can’t make it through a cold spell, unless they will be covered to stay warm. Earlier this week, we had 80°F (27°C). I decided to plant my dianthus, hyacinths, violas, and my pea plants in the raised beds. But I made sure, when I plant that early, I have a plan and be prepared to protect them. From previous Halloween decorations, we have straw bales in the greenhouse. And I kept our Fraser Fir after Christmas, because I knew it would come into use one way or another. Tonight, we suppose to get only 25°F (-4°C). This afternoon, I covered my plants with the straw to keep the plants cozy warm. And the Fraser twigs are for keeping the straw in place from this crazy wind. It’s not pretty. But if I was a critter or a bird, I would call it home for the night.