Monday, April 1, 2013

The Bluebonnet Moon (and Easter)

Oops, I was so busy with Easter preparation that I forgot about the full moon last week! My family has gotten into the pattern of my parents-in-law hosting Christmas, my sister-in-law hosting Thanksgiving, and I host Easter, so I was busy last week getting that ready, in addition to it being Midterm time at work.

Of course, out in the garden, it's a busy time as well. March and April is when Texas switches from Not-Summer to Summer, and Not-Summer crops are being harvested while Summer crops are quickly being planted before it gets too hot.

Again this year there are a few bluebonnets growing in the front yard, and not as many as I'd prefer. I forgot to add more seeds last year, so maybe I can do that this year. Some of them are already getting pods on them, so we're being careful not to mow them down until the seeds are mature.

In the back garden, I'm still waiting for a lot of the cool-weather plants to finish up, though as I showed you in the last post, the beets and carrots are pretty much done. The fava beans are looking lush and have a lot of blooms. We got 0.1 in. of rain on Easter, and hopefully will be getting more this coming week.
The celery (on the right in the picture) is still small, and I think it's going to stay that way. I've been harvesting leaves and stems from it anyway, even though they're not much bigger than parsley. They still add celery flavor to dishes that call for finely chopped celery, even though they would not be suitable for anything that needs nice big crisp stalks. On the left you can see the shallots, which seem to be doing well.

The peas are about waist high now. They have about two months before it gets too hot for them. I hope I can get some peas by then. Nothing like homegrown green peas.

The arugula is covered with seed pods. I'm going to have plenty of arugula seeds to trade and give away.

The garlic and kale are still looking just so-so. I've been able to harvest a little bit of Tuscan kale, but I am really doubting I'll get a good garlic harvest. Next time I really need to plant them in a better spot than up under this tree.

The front garden is just about done! I ended up making four 20' x 4' beds, with 3' paths between. I've decided I like that better than the 5' wide beds and 2' wide paths I did in the back. That turned out be a bit crowded, especially when the plants were full grown. Eventually I'm going to redo the back garden and widen the paths.

The front garden has all my tomatoes, tomatillos, and eggplants in it already. Now I'm working on transplanting the peppers that survived the winter from the back to the front. Here are the Lemon Drops. All of them survived the winter. In the back I'm only going to plant the peppers I'm saving seeds from, to make them easier to isolate from the other peppers.

We've also been planting things in other areas of the yard. Over Easter weekend, my husband worked really hard on our hedge of fruit trees along the front by the street. Now we have (in order from lower left to upper right in the picture) Wonderful Pomegranate, Meyer Lemon, Satsuma Orange, Key Lime, Gold Nugget Loquat, and the fig (unknown variety) that my in-law's gave us. The citruses should start bearing fruit by this winter. I'm not sure how long the other trees will take, but I'm sure it will be worth the wait!

I've also been planting more herbs, including this catnip (left) and catmint (right) in the shady area of the herb garden. First we just put wire cages around them, but some cat figured out how to pull it up and wriggle underneath, managing to eat half the catnip plant. So now we have these rocks around the cages to make that harder. I don't mind giving the cats catnip, once the plants are big enough, but I learned my lesson about leaving catnip unprotected. The cats end up eating it up so quickly it can't grow back and eventually dies. The idea behind the cages is to protect the main part of the plant, while letting the cats eat the parts that eventually grow through the cage. The cats just need to be patient!

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