Saturday, February 19, 2011

Full Eagle Moon

Well, the blog has come full circle. With it being February 2011 I've had it for a year. I'm going to try a new thing with my full moon updates. I had mentioned before that I wished there were full moon names that better corresponded to Texas. The only ones I'd seen around were English or Algonquian. Well, a friend of mine has passed on to me a full moon naming scheme invented by the high priestess of his former coven. He only asks that I give credit where credit is due if I distribute the names to the public, so the names I'll be using for the next year all come from Phoenix Moon Grove.

The moons are named according to Zodiac signs rather than the calendar months, and are all named after something Texas-related. Last night's full moon was in Leo, and the sun is in Aquarius, so this year the full moon of February was the Eagle Moon. This name was chosen because this is the time of year that Bald Eagles migrate through Texas.

Personally, this is one of the few names on this list that I don't like that much. Bald eagles are cool, but I've never actually seen one, and I've lived in Texas all my life. I only recently found out that they're even found in Texas at all. From what I've heard, they're mostly found around large lakes and along the coast, which makes sense since they're a fishing eagle. There are even eagle tours you can go on to see them.

I think moons should be named after something more obvious than a rare, seldom-seen bird. If we're going to name this moon after a bird, I would have named it the Mockingbird Moon. I think there should be a moon named after our state bird, and mockingbirds are ubiquitous. You don't have to travel to a lake to find them. There's probably a pair nesting in your yard right now. This is also the time of year they start singing, which for me heralds the beginning of spring. It also goes well with next month's moon, the Bluebonnet Moon, which is our state flower and indicates that spring is here for sure.

Well, whether February's full moon makes you think of mockingbirds or eagles, it certainly feels like spring now after that hard freeze at the beginning of the month. We've had drizzle and light rain for the last few days, and I've had a chance to assess the damage done by that freeze and have been planning out my spring planting.

We haven't had another freeze in a while, so I've had my nightshade seedlings out on the porch all the time. The tomatoes are doing great, but not the peppers, eggplants, and tomatillos. I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong with starting pepper and eggplant seeds, but they never seem to do that well. Even the Lemon Drop peppers, which seemed to be doing great before, are now shriveling up. I don't get it.
Sweetie the Potato now has some friends. It looks like growing new sweet potatoes from slips is better than cuttings after all. Most of my cuttings didn't make it, so I've been sprouting roots for slips. They grow much more vigorously than cuttings, probably because of the food reserves stored in the roots. In the top left of the picture is the original deformed Vardaman potato that sprouted in the kitchen, and then to the right of that is a Porto Rico, then on the bottom left is a Beuregard, and the bottom right is a White Yam. I have a few more sprouted White Yams and Porto Ricos I haven't potted up yet (ran out of potting soil). The one variety from last year that isn't represented is Nancy Hall. I have two Nancy Hall potatoes that have been sitting in cups of water for at least as long as the other varieties, and they still aren't sprouting. Don't know what the problem is.
Out in the garden, a lot of plants didn't make it through the hard freeze. The lettuce and endive were only slightly damaged.

The leeks, garlic, potato onions, and shallots also seem fine. The bulb onions are another story, but I'm not surprised. I've still never been able to grow those successfully. I'm wondering if I should just give up on having homegrown onions this year, or buy some onion starts from a nursery.

The fava beans and peas were badly damaged, and I was afraid they weren't going to make it, but it looks like at least some of them are re-sprouting. Good! Those were my only seeds, so I wanted to at least be able to save seed to make a big planting of them next fall, even though it now looks like I won't have enough to eat.
Everything else, the brassicas, beets, carrots, chard, etc., all ended up looking like this. Frozen to death. That green you see? Those are weeds. The weeds did fine.
But in the garden, there are always second chances and new beginnings. Looking at the planting guide for San Marcos, it looks like I have enough time to try for another quick crop of cool-weather vegetables, so I replanted a bunch of stuff. I just direct seeded everything this time. The turnips here are already coming up. They sprouted fast in this damp weather.
I've also been doing a little "remodeling", because gardeners never have enough space! After calculating that I actually had more path than bed in the garden, I'm merging some of my beds and expanding them out a little. I don't need that much path anyway, do I? So instead of 15 beds that are 4 by 8 feet each laid out in a 3 by 5 pattern, I'm going to have 5 beds that are 4 by 8 feet, and 5 that are 4 by 20 feet. Now maybe I'll at least have more bed than path.


  1. Are those 4-inch kord plastic pots up there with tomatoes in them? I have some that are 7 years old, neglected (left out in the sun all year) and still going strong. I love them.

    Eggplants and peppers are much slower to grow and more heat-loving than tomatoes. I figure they need to be seeded at least two weeks earlier than tomatoes and then are ready to go out about two weeks later (I figure that, but pretty much never remember to plant them earlier than the tomatoes! The result is tomatoes with two sets of true leaves while some of the hot peppers are just barely managing to germinate.)

  2. Also, I'm constantly doing the same "remodeling". The years I gave birth to summer babies (my 5 year old and 8 year old both have late summer birthdays), I had wider paths and planted things more towards the middle of the beds and made very good use of as much mulch as I could get my hands on (to cut down on weeding). This year is a narrow path year, with beds planted clear to their edges. Eventually I want to actually settle on bed and walkway widths so that I can plant more permanent things like asparagus and artichokes. Someday.

  3. (Sorry for the three posting names. Sheesh. How's that for confusing? I don't really have multiple personality disorder or anything! The lunita username at Gardenweb is ancient -- I've used it online since the early nineties -- and my muddytoes google account is new, to go with the new blog.

  4. The 4 inch pots I got are holdling up wonderfully. Took me a while to find pots that were sturdy enough to reuse year after year, but this is them! Too bad the plastic trays I have them in aren't the same way.

    My GardenWeb username is "neohippie", which is an online name I've had since I was 16 and posting on Usenet way back the early days of the internet.

    I've started planting out my peppers even though they're still tiny. I hope they can catch up.