Saturday, October 31, 2009

Glorious Fall Day

What a beautiful day to be alive and living in South Texas!  The sun is's about 60 degrees and not a cloud in the sky.  But it did get very cold last night.  The temperature was 37 degrees when hubby left for work at 7:00 am this morning.  I anxiously waited for the sun to come up and check my garden to see if frost got anything; but thankfully, no damage.  Everything looked wonderful and the bees were very active on the squash plants.  Tonight is supposed to be equally cold so I will definitely pull out the frost blankets. 

Several weeks ago a friend of mine gave me a few Cosmos transplants to put in the ground, which I did, and they are all doing beautifully! 

We said goodbye to one of our dogs, Mo, at the end of August...a very sad time for hubby and me.  I planted some wild flowers in a patch of the yard in Mo's memory along with a few Cosmos.  The wildflowers have not germinated yet, but the Cosmos are standing tall and looking beautiful.  Here's to you, Mo...I sure miss you.

Friday, October 30, 2009

My Fall Vegetable Garden

Fall gardening is my favorite gardening season.  There are so many varieties of vegetables to plant and most of them are frost tolerant.  I live in the Hill Country of South Texas and it gets a little colder here than it does in San Antonio.  Even with that fact, I have many vegetables from which to choose...and it's always nice to have a choice :)

So what did I plant?  And did I plant from seed or buy transplants?  With the exception of the red cabbage, Celebrity tomatoes and cherry tomatoes which I bought as transplants from my favorite nursery, I planted everything from seed.

Carmen Hybrid Peppers - I started these indoors from seed, then planted transplants in the garden

Red and gold beets - I directly sowed the beet seeds.

Baby pak choi - I started these indoors from seed then planted the transplants.

Italian Squash - I directly sowed these beautiful squash

Celebrity tomatoes and Cherry tomatoes- I planted these as transplants from my local nursery

Red Cabbage - I planted these beautiful cabbage as transplants I bought from my local nursery

Radishes - I directly sowed the radish seed into my garden

Fingerling Eggplant - This is a new crop for me.  I planted these in my garden from seed that I started indoors

Butternut Squash - This is another new crop for me.  I directly sowed the seeds in my garden.

Carrots - Carrots should always be directly sowed
Spinach - Another new crop for me.  I directly sowed these spinach seeds.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fall Gardening

Here in South Texas the time to think about fall gardening is mid to late summer.  Since our winters are so mild, we can garden year round in this part of the country.  I love it :) 

Vegetables require a growing period between planting and harvesting.  This period can be shortened almost a month by using transplants rather than seed to establish the crops.  Therefore, the growing period for each crop must be considered in fall vegetable gardening.  Many of the vegetables I like to plant are not available as transplants from my local nurseries so I almost always plant from seed.  Many cool weather crops can (and should) be direct sown in the early fall once the weather has cooled somewhat.  These lists are by no means all inclusive.  They are simply a listing of the most popular fall vegetable crops.

The following cool weather crops require at least two months growing time from seed to the beginning of harvest:
  • beets (direct sow)
  • broccoli (either transplants or direct sow)
  • cauliflower (either transplants or direct sow)
  • collard greens (direct sow)
  • lettuce (direct sow)
  • kohlrabi (direct sow)
  • mustard greens (direct sow)
  • spinach (either transplants or direct sow)
  • Swiss chard (direct sow)
  • turnips (direct sow)
The following crops require at least three months growing time from seed to harvest:
  • brussel sprouts (either transplants or direct sow)
  • cabbage (either transplants or direct sow)
  • carrots (direct sow)
  • onions (direct sow or buy as bulb sets)
If you do the math on these cool weather crops, the seeds for some of these vegetables need to be started around July/August time frame for putting transplants in the ground by September/October.  Since it is still so terribly hot in South Texas at the time of year, I usually start my fall vegetable seeds in little peat pots inside the house (but I now have a greenhouse so I can start my spring vegetables in it..instead of my housband's office!) :-)

Anyway, to start seedlings, I use Burpee Seed Starting Peat Pots and Ferry Morse Organic Seed Started.  Simply fill the peat pot with seed starter mix, water lightly, then let rest a couple of hours so the seed mixture has time to absorb the water.  I usually place 3 to 4 seeds in each pot just to ensure at least one or two seeds germinate.  Mist lightly, set in warm spot and wait for the seeds to germinate. 

Once the seeds germinate, thin to about 3 plants per pot, continue to keep moist (not soaking wet) until you're ready to plant.