Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pocket Gopher

A few weeks ago Halifax (the Demon Kitty of Burk Street) brought to our attention the fact that not only do we have moles in the yard, we've also got pocket gophers. Here's a little gift the cat left for us next to the patio-

Thanks, Halifax
...I think...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


We planted watermelon when we first built our vegetable garden. Our vines had been doing great the whole while, but they never produced! I thought about turning under the vines or composting them and planting something more productive but that seemed like such a waste! We know these vines can last a while, so we thought we might just keep them around and see what happens. I started taking a Q-tip to the flowers when we started Q-tipping our pumpkin flowers.
Q-tipping the flowers totally worked! Here are two itty bitty watermelons.
(Dimly circled, click to enlarge)
And here's a bigger one-
And here's a whopper!
Guess it pays off to add just a little bit of help. We don't see too many bees in the yard, so that may be why we're having to pollinate these plants ourselves. Weird, because there's a ton of lantana growing right next to our garden and our jalapeno has been doing great without our help. Picky pollinators, I guess. Keep checking back for updates as these little guys grow! We've noticed three little guys so far but there are over 20 flowers on the plant so we expect to see many more!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Baby Pumpkins!

Heck. Yeah.
We are SO doing this again next year!
John thinks we *just* might have a full-grown Mini Jack in time for Halloween.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Baby Jalapeno Boom

About two weeks ago our friend Travis stopped by to see all of our landscaping and gardening work. When we took him to see our vegetable garden and showed him the jalapeno plant and he said, "Jalapeno? At this time of year?" Psssht. He didn't know what he was talking about. (Personally, I think that's the case a lot of the time...)

Anyway, since he said that, we've been watching FIVE jalapenos get bigger and bigger on our plant!

This makes the jalapeno one of our more productive plants, right alongside the cucumbers. The difference is that our jalapeno plant is still here and doing great while our cucumber vines have all died off. I expect that our jalapeno plant will end up being one of our more worthwhile purchases, at a whopping $1.50 this past spring.
Let us know if you want one. A few are just about ready to harvest!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Making the Butterfly Garden

John had been wanting to build a butterfly garden in the back yard for some time but a lot of other things (thesis writing, for instance) were also on his mind.

I had a small butterfly garden started in the front yard but we've had to rip everything up to re-landscape while putting in the new walkway. I'm glad I started one because we had a lot of healthy and/or robust plants ready to transplant.

When the SFA fall plant sale came up we decided it was finally time to get this project underway.

The house sits on a hill so we have a sloping yard. The first thing we had to do to our garden area was change that. Here's a before pic -
Those are gardenia bushes that were planted before we moved in. They were in such bad shape that we couldn't even tell they were gardenias until a single flower bloomed on one of them a few months ago. We dug those up, composted the dead ones, and planted the only one that still had a fighting chance in a trash can. (We'll deal with it later...)

We brought in some railroad ties that we dug up from the front yard to hold the dirt in our flower bed. We replanted a bunch of grass in other areas of the yard that needed it and dug up LOTS of the dirt that was right next to the patio. Hopefully this will keep some of the dirt off of the patio. (It gets sooo dirty!)

Next we flattened out the area, watered it for a few days, and then planted!

Here's a key.
(Click the photo to enlarge.)

1. Spider lilies that we dug up from elsewhere in the yard
2. Hummingbird Mint, one Texas Giant and one Tutti Frutti (fall plant sale)
3. Texas Fire Bush, from the front yard (Spring plant sale)
4. Columbine, two different varieties (fall plant sale)
5. Milkweed (fall plant sale)
6. Blue and Black Salvia (fall plant sale)
7. Hollyhock, from the front yard (grown from seed)
8. Blue Salvia, from the front yard (Lowe's)
9. Another type of Salvia, from the front yard (Lowe's)
10. Banana shrub, going to the front yard (Mercer plant sale)
11. Gardenia, planted in a trash can...ultimate location TBD
12. Japanese maple, going to the front yard (Mercer plant sale)
* Where we hope to one day see some blue bonnets, planted from seed (free from Mercer)

And here's a future addition to the garden, as soon as I figure out where to put it. It's a Cardinal flower I purchased at last year's fall sale. I need to move it because it's in a place where Bowser really likes to wreak havoc.
My favorite plant in the garden is the Black and Blue Salvia. Soooo pretty -

Happy Gardening!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Mini Jack Pumpkin Flowers

The pumpkin plants have come a long way since our last pumpkin post! We've been getting one giant yellow flower on two or three plants every morning.

We've lucked out with the rain here recently and haven't had to water as much.

Not enough flowers have been blooming for me to feel good about picking any for meals, but there are plenty of buds on all of the plants - perhaps one day we'll have several flowers and I'll take a few into the kitchen to try a new recipe.

The flowers are only open for a few hours in the morning. (They wither by lunch time!) To ensure pollination, we've been taking a Q-tip to the open flowers in the mornings.

John soothes the flowers during the process by chanting "I'm a little buzzy bee."

Chances are we won't have little pumpkins in time for Halloween but that's okay...maybe Thanksgiving!