Blog posts from March 2009

Spanish Bluebells

Mar 31, 2009

Spanish Bluebells, Hyacinthoides hispanica, are blooming in North Texas now. These are one of my favorite perennial bulbs here. Anything that falls into the "blue" category will get at least one shot in my garden. These are great for naturalizing in perennial beds, groundcover beds or even turf. They'll tolerate some afternoon shade. Purty.


The Chickens are Here!

Mar 26, 2009

Today, I had a sales call at NHG from Dan at Bagienice Farms in Poetry, Texas. We're working on selling urban chicken keeping supplies at the garden center soon (exciting).  I believe Dan is better known as "The Chicken Man."  Not only did he deliver my very own chicken tractor to my house on his way out of town, BUT he also brought me LOANER CHICKENS! Total surprise. I plan on visiting Dan at his farm in about a month to pick up my juvenile Ameraucanas. He wanted me to have some layers in the meantime. Is that awesome, or what? So now I'm terrified I'm going to do something wrong with these lovely leghorn loaners...wish me luck! We let them out for a while and the sight of Sean and I trying to corral them back into the coop must have looked hilarious. We are definitely chicken wrangler newbies...more to come!

Chicken_tractor Leghorn1

Millions of Peaches, Peaches for Me…

Mar 26, 2009

Just a shot of baby peaches on the way on one of my little peach trees...can't wait!


Rolling in Fava Beans…

Mar 25, 2009

So, if you haven't grown Fava Beans before...You need too! This Vetch is even more effective at fixing Nitrogen in the soil than actual beans, is frost hardy, breaks up the soil, makes a great green manure AND produces super flavorful fruit. In Texas, you can seed this in fall and let them grow through the winter. Plants will bloom even through the cold weather then start producing fruit in Spring. The flowers are incredibly fragrant and when you break the pods open they have the same fragrance. Harvest the "peas" before you see them swelling too much in the pod, or harvest the entire pod early and eat whole. Make sure to save and dry some seed for your next fall planting. The foliage is also edible and tastes great mixed in with salads. Here are a couple of photos from my garden yesterday...

Fava_beans Favabeans

I Love Plant-Geek Gifts!

Mar 25, 2009

A couple of weeks ago I spoke at the All Texas Garden Show...something I've done every February for a number of years now. As I was walking the hallway, I ran into Paul from Texas Triffid Ranch who was also speaking at the show for the first time (I think...). I was happy to see carnivorous plants on the schedule. Anyhoo...we exchanged "Oh, hey, I know you from Blogland" banter and then he bestowed upon me this lovely little gem. It just popped into bloom today so I thought you'd like to're going to have to give me the correct species id...THANKS!


Front Yard Veggie Beds…

Mar 23, 2009

The newest addition to my ever expanding veggie garden. In addition to the two boxes we added to the back this past weekend, which filled up the remaining sunny real estate, we added three new beds to the front yard. The sun is plentiful up there and it seemed a shame to me there were no tomatoes growing in such a prime spot. Also transplanted a bunch of Iris pallida from the backyard to camouflage the concrete retaining wall on the edge of my yard.  It's obvious I'm not finished planting them yet, but they will contain an assortment of tomatoes, peppers, bush beans and maybe a dwarf bush zucchini. Photos of backyard beds to come...


The Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009

Mar 23, 2009

Ok gardeners and enjoyers of local farmers markets, etc....if you're not paying attention to this'd better. Regulating small local farmers...and potentially down the road backyard food production...out of existance is the last thing this country needs right now. We need to speak up on this one. If you're not familiar with the Act, you should be.

The Bill

Here is a good article from Rod Dreher in the Dallas Morning News:

Rod Dreher: Food safety shouldn't kill farmers markets

Yay for snakes!

Mar 23, 2009

It's a banner year for snakes in the Halleck garden. As you can see by the blurriness of the photo, it wasn't exactly easy to get a shot of this squirmy little guy, but you get the idea. It is a Texas brown snake. I have a bounty of babies in my garden this year. Just about everywhere I've started to dig around one of two if these little guys has popped out. I was removing a decaying stump from the back fence and fount a nest of them. I'm a reptile/amphibian enthusiast so snakes and the like bring me no end of entertainment. But I do realize there are a lot of you out there that would not be thrilled to find snakes in their yard. Texas brown snakes and rat snakes are non-venomous and they are a great natural pest control. They have small mouths so their prey tends to be small as well..they eat snails and slugs so they are great for gardeners. So your backyard chickens are safe...yay for snakes.


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