A garden is the best alternative therapy.

Posts tagged ‘carrots’

In the Garden 11/21/10

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve been in the garden for any length of time.  Life has been busy.  We received news that we are expecting and will be having a baby at the end of May!  We’re very excited.  Needless to say, we’ve been visiting family as well as getting our third bedroom ready to receive the little one.  I don’t expect to be spending too much time in the garden this winter, but I do have a few things going.  I have sown my wildflower seeds, but have yet to see anything sprout yet.  I planted cornflowers, poppies, echinacea, black-eyed susans, blackfoot daisies and scarlet flax.  I also have a bed of spinach going and it’s doing well.  The broccoli plants are quite large – much further along than they were last year at this time.  The pepper plants are still producing.  Carrots are getting tall.  And lettuce seeds have sprouted.

Spinach bed

More spinach


A few bell peppers

cayenne peppers

More cayenne peppers

harvested and dried cayenne peppers

red bell pepper

carrot tops

new herb garden (chives x 6, thyme x 2, oregano x 3, parsley x 3)

Also, the Copper Canyon daisies are in bloom, the indigo spires are still going strong, as well as the verbena, Four-Nerve daisies and trailing lantana. This is a shot of the Copper Canyon, Indigo Spires and Tuscan Blue rosemary:






Checking up on the Veggie Garden

I have been so fascinated with flower, bee and butterfly pictures for the past few weeks that I have not posted a vegetable garden update.  Before the rain moved in this week, I woke up early Wednesday morning and grabbed a bag of compost, a bag of bat guano, a bag of bone meal and headed out to the garden.   The pictures included in this post were taken Saturday morning.

One of the last pictures I posted of the veggies was of a newly forming yellow crookneck squash.  The plant soon died of neglect, I’m sad to say.  Now I have an empty spot and I’m debating whether or not to try another round, or go with a different variety altogether.  That same variety failed for me last year as well.

Meanwhile, the zucchini is doing well and has been flowering.  Maybe soon it will start producing.  There is no shortage of pollinators in the yard, though I wonder if they are too busy loving on all of the natives to come and pollinate my zucchini!   I went ahead and worked some compost into the soil, then sprinkled bat guano around the plant and watered lightly to let it absorb a little.  The rain did a better job at working it in anyway.  You can see the remaining Red Sail lettuce there next to the zucchini.  It looks beautiful and has a wonderful, glossy, deep red color.  Unfortunately, since weather has been so warm, it has turned bitter.  Yet, I think this shows how resistant this variety is to bolting.  We’ve had several days of ninety degree weather and it is still compact.    This weekend I will actually have to buy lettuce for the first time in six months.

The cucumbers have really started to vine out this past week, which is good because I was starting to worry about them.  I have since tied them to the tomato cage for support, which only seems to have encouraged them.  These, too, did not make it last fall, so I am wary of their success.   I do have my fingers crossed! I gave them more compost and a sprinkling of guano as well.

The Blue Lake bush beans are coming along and they are flowering like crazy and producing lots of green pods!   The Tendergreen variety didn’t survive all of the wind.  I had started them inside and they did get pretty leggy before I transplanted them.  Then all of the strong winds took their toll on their thin stalks.  I will be resowing more this weekend.  As with the other veggies, I applied a side-dressing of guano.

I pulled up the parsley and added it to the compost pile (first, however, I made sure there weren’t any black swallowtail caterpillars – there weren’t).  Then I pulled up the lettuce and worked the soil over really well, adding some bone meal, fresh compost and bat guano.  I’m not sure what I will plant there – quite possibly more tomatoes.  I thought about retrying squash in this location, so a butternut or another summer squash might be in the not-too-distant future.

The carrots are still forming, so I have left them.  I gave them a good fertilizing with bone meal, which is a good source of phosphorus for developing roots.  I hope to be harvesting some carrots within the next couple of weeks, but I think they should definitely be ready to pull up within a month.  I don’t know how long they will last into the warmer weather.

Also in the carrot bed are three tomato plants that are also now flowering.  I will continue to pinch those flowers until I’m happy with the sizes of the plants.  I want them to get bigger and bushier first.  To encourage that, I also gave them compost and a side-dressing of guano.

My pepper bed is coming along slowly.  The cooler nights still aren’t ideal.  They like the soil to be at least 70 degrees.  The larger jalapeno plants have been producing flowers and buds like crazy, but I’ve been pinching them off to encourage a bushier plant.  I went ahead and gave them all a good amount of fresh compost and applied guano around the base of each.

Check back later this weekend for an update on the flower beds and the development of the black swallowtail caterpillars of which I now have twelve on my fennel.

Highlights from the Garden

There was no shortage of things to do this past weekend and the weather was perfect.  Even Sunday with the overcast sky and misty air provided a break from the direct sun as I pulled up the broccoli plants.  I wasn’t too happy to find a couple handfuls of grubs happily munching away at the roots.   I put them in a shallow pan and let the birds have a snack in the side yard.  Don’t want such a  delectable bug go to waste, and they certainly don’t need to be in my garden boxes!   I was surprised at how dry and compacted the soil was, so I worked it over pretty good.  Then I added half a bag of compost and about a cup of bone meal and worked that into the first six inches.  In place of the broccoli, I transplanted two jalapenos, four cayenne peppers and three Cal Wonder orange bell peppers.   They were all growing in paper pots, which made the transplanting go pretty quickly.

I also spent a couple of hours transplanting a Double-Knockout Rose bush next to where the hibiscus was last year.  It gets about 6 hours of sunlight a day, and will be shielded from the hot afternoon sun.  Right now it’s about 1′ x 1′, but it should grow to be 3×3′.  On the South side of the house, under the dining area window, I transplanted two Whirling Butterfly Guaras.   They have lovely delicate-looking white flowers, grow 3-4 feet tall and spread to the same width.   They also attract butterflies.  I was told that they do really well along a warm southern wall, so hopefully these will thrive where I put them.

Other than accomplishing these tasks, I took a look around the garden to see what else is goin’ on:

Carrot tops are forming near the forest of spinach that is full of fresh growth.

The spinach has had enough of the warmer weather already and has started going to seed.  I can collect these for sowing this fall.

Meanwhile, in the herb garden, one can barely tell that the curry plants have been removed.  The sage, oregano and thyme stretch their legs a little to fill in the space.

Wildflowers, in their first wave of blooms, come to life with shades of purple and pink.   We even got our first red poppy.  There are a host of other plants getting ready to bloom in the next wave.

The squash is doing quite well and needs to be thinned to two or three plants.  The zucchini is having a rough start.  I discovered that the neighborhood black birds have been camping out on my zucchini hill.  They left a little present for me, and a few broken stems.  😦  I had four cukes planted, but lost one to the wind and another to the heat.  It looks like the last two will survive, which is good, I needed to thin them to the strongest two anyway.

And our dog, Libby, gets in the picture as if to say, “I’m prettier than spearmint, so pet me already.”

Look what’s coming up!

Many of the seedlings have emerged and are reaching towards that yellow ball of fire in the sky.  What a miracle it is – every time – to see fresh new life emerge from a dry seed.  Look at what’s coming up:

Zucchini sprouts - Black Beauty variety

Cucumber sprouts - Straight Eight variety

Danvers Half-Long carrot sprouts - the first of many

An eager sunflower wearing a helmet?

More sunflower sprouts

Squash sprouting - heirloom Yellow Crookneck variety. Looks like a lima bean.

In addition to the new seedlings, there is exciting new life in the garden as well. Dry, withered chive leaves have given room to explosive new shoots.  Prostrate rosemary offers up a delicate flower for Spring.  Dry thyme branches burst forth with green growth.  Oregano continues its crawl without missing a beat.  Broccoli ready for harvest.  Wildflowers preparing their colorful flowers with a fluffy mass of greens.  Lettuce heads crowding together in the dappled light of an old fence.  Crinkly spinach leaves unfurling.   Yes, Spring is definitely in the air!

Broccoli crown before harvesting

A view of the densely populated wildflower bed

New chives growing

First rosemary flower

Spinach bed 1

Beautiful Red Sail lettuce

Spectacular spreading spearmint!

Lettuce bed with new transplants and sprouts

Another view of the wildflower bed

Spinach bed 2

Broccoli bed (after harvesting first crown)


The marjoram is doing well

New thyme growth

Probably the next crown to be harvested

Lettuce bed 2, also with new transplants

And, last but not least, some of the plants awaiting transplanting inside under lights:

Mexican Mint Marigolds

Ring-O-Fire Cayenne plants

Cal Wonder Orange Bell Peppers

Spinach (bloomsdale variety), verbena and sweet alyssum (back)

Broccoli plant - Calabrese variety

Accumulated Snowfall in Austin Area

Round Rock received a few inches of snow this morning and again this afternoon.  We got off of work early and arrived home just in time to watch some strong flurries of clumps of snowflakes – some measuring a couple inches across!   I’ve not seen snow like this since living in the Midwest.  It’s a shame it will all be melted by tomorrow!

The garden didn’t seem to be minding the snow at all.  I snapped a few pictures.  After all, it’s not every year we get snow in Round Rock!

the main lettuce bed with parsley

carrot greens are weighed down a bit by the snow

I dug out these spinach plants ...

these weren't as covered

but these are barely showing through!

the second lettuce bed

Really, the broccoli seems quite happy with it's frosty blanket

Sunny Sunday in the garden + Macro Monday

How about the wonderful weather in the Austin area this weekend?  The ground was still really wet, but the skies were clear and sunny.  I was actually working in the yard wearing shorts and a tank top!  Until the cold front blew in late yesterday afternoon!

Garden Two-Week Update:

We’ve enjoyed a few harvests over the past couple of weeks, including carrots, spinach and lettuce.  As you can see by the pictures below, we’ve consumed several heads of lettuce.  Yet the weather is still cool, so there’s time to grow more.  I have twelve more seedlings started and I also direct sowed an organic lettuce blend into the main lettuce bed where I’ve harvested the other plants.  We’ll be enjoying lettuce for the next couple of months.   The parsley is just going crazy.  I dropped four plants in last September/October and they flourished in the cold winter weather.  We have more than we use!  It doesn’t make sense to harvest and dry it because it just doesn’t taste the same when it’s dried.   To celebrate Macro Monday, I snapped a close-up of the stems of one of the parsley plants.

Lettuce bed one of two

lettuce bed two

Organic lettuce mix - newly sprouted

Hardening lettuce transplants off for my mother-in-law

Another Macro Monday shot - this time of parsley stems

The carrots are still developing.  I’m waiting for them to get fatter, but without sunlight they grow pretty slow.  We’ve just had so much overcast weather lately.  Still, I like the look of carrot greens.  They look so feathery.  I snapped another macro shot of some emerging leaves.  Because I had extra room in the spinach/carrot bed, I went ahead and sowed three short rows of carrots, two rows of Danver’s and one row of Big Top.

the carrot canopy

For Macro Monday - an emerging carrot leaf

The broccoli is standing tall and growing wide.  Right now we have about six crown forming on the nine plants, with the largest one measuring about 2 inches across.  I wish I knew some incantation to make them grow faster!  Anyway, I have another five broccoli plants started as well.  I should put those in the ground in the next couple of weeks.  I just need to let them develop a little longer and then I can harden them off.  I think this new crop will develop faster – we’ll only be seeing longer days and more sunshine ahead.

the broccoli plants are really growing large

the crown now measuring two inches wide - we have 5 more started

The spinach is looking nice.  Even after taking a couple dozen leaves, they’re filling out and making more!  I have a total of two dozen plants right now at different stages.  I also have one spinach plant growing indoors right now – yes, it appears to have survived getting eaten by the cat!   It’s already past the time to get any more seeds sown until fall, but I should be enjoying spinach for the next month or so at least – and hopefully in increasing abundance!

One of three spinach beds - also newly planted carrots (top right corner)

The herb garden is fairing well.  The sage is definitely looking rough, but that’s because we’ve gotten so much rain and it prefers to be dry.  I got out there and trimmed the curry plants and harvested a lot of marjoram as well.  It had grown so leggy and bushy – I wanted to get back to the compact look it had last summer.  I got an herb-drying rack from my mother-in-law over the holidays, so I put that to use in the back closet.  I’ve got three large handfuls drying and a handful of oregano as well.   I have three thyme plants that I picked up at a discount last fall, too.  I don’t know where I’m going to put them yet.  I want to get a couple of basil plants and several more chives.  Perhaps I can work them into one of the existing beds, or work it into the landscape beds I want to build this Spring…

the herb garden 2.14.10

And I have a feeling the mint will take over this bed by the end of summer!

mounds of mint!

Here’s the corner of the wildflower bed.  It is just teeming with plants!

Wildflower bed, back corner of yard

Visit LisasChaos.com for more Macro Monday!


organic home-grown carrots: it's what's for dinner

I pulled up a dozen more carrots for dinner tonight.  They were delicious.  The shorter variety, Danver’s, is a little sweeter than the Big Top variety, which has a stronger parsnip flavor.  Both are wonderful.  I think I still have in the neighborhood of 75 carrots left to harvest over the coming weeks.  I should get some more in the ground in the next few weeks for one last crop before the end of February and the beginning of Spring!

Here is a handy chart I use as a reference for this area:

Click the chart to view as a JPG image or click below to view as PDF.

Aggie Planting Chart PDF for Travis County