Blog posts from March 2010

Tomato ‘Sapho’

Mar 25, 2010

 FYI, if you didn't get the announcement, 1-quart size 'Sapho' tomatoes are in stock at North Haven Gardens right now. Quantities are limited and it's a one shot deal!

Get these babies in the ground now! Feed your tomato plants with an organic granular (slow release) vegetable food at planting time. Then, once plants start setting baby fruit, start feeding plants every two weeks with a water soluble fertilizer, such as liquid seaweed/fish emulsion, Hasta Gro or the like. Both of those also make excellent foliar feeds and can cut down on spider mite infestations.

6-8 hours full sun is a minimum requirement for tomato plants. Keep tomato plants consistently watered throughout the growing season. They do not like to dry out between waterings. Soil should be consistency of a wrung out sponge. When you let them dry out too often, you'll encourage a number of problems such as blossom end rot, spider mites, fungal diseases, etc.

We get a second shot on tomatoes in our climate, so don't forget to plant your fall tomatoes in late June-mid July.

From spring, to snow, and back again…

Mar 23, 2010

So, as is typical in this part of Texas, we've had quite the roller coaster of weather lately. From 70's to snow, and then back to 70's again.

Here is what Sunday looked like... (photos aren't great..they are from my phone!)


And then


And the ornamental peaches are beautiful...this is double 'Peppermint'...


Amaryllis ‘Chico’

Mar 22, 2010

Well, look what popped open in my office over the weekend! Wondering why it's just now blooming in March? Well, I did leave this poor little bulb neglected in my office all winter long, sitting in a pot with it's tag. You know, I meant to get it potted up, but there it sat. Until finally, about a week and a half ago, it said "to heck with this.." and started to put up a bud stem. So, I dropped it a bulb forcing vase with some water to coax it along.


This particular amaryllis variety, 'Chico', is one of my favorites. It's a relatively new (last 2-3 years) variety out of South America. Just fabulous! It looks like it has a second shoot peeking out, so I should get a nice long bloom-time on this one.

Mmmm, deviled eggs…

Mar 20, 2010

Nothing like yummy deviled eggs fresh from your own backyard chickies! MMmmmmmmm


Urban Chicken Article, Edible Dallas

Mar 17, 2010

Here's a link to my latest article on backyard chickens in the new issue of Edible Dallas

Harvest the Benefits of an Urban Flock

Frogs, Foam and Fuel: UC Researchers Convert Solar Energy to Sugars

Mar 17, 2010

Frogs, Foam and Fuel: UC Researchers Convert Solar Energy to Sugars Engineers from the University of Cincinnati devise a foam that captures energy and removes excess carbon dioxide from the air — thanks to semi-tropical frogs. Date: 3/15/2010 12:00:00 AM By: Wendy Beckman Phone: (513) 556-1826 Photos By: Illustration by Megan Gundrum, fifth-year DAAP student   For decades, farmers have been trying to find ways to get more energy out of the sun. In natural photosynthesis, plants take in solar energy and carbon dioxide and then convert it to oxygen and sugars. The oxygen is released to the air and the sugars are dispersed throughout the plant — like that sweet corn we look for in the summer. Unfortunately, the allocation of light energy into products we use is not as efficient as we would like. Now engineering researchers at the University of Cincinnati are doing something about that. The researchers are finding ways to take energy from the sun and carbon from the air to create new forms of biofuels, thanks to a semi-tropical frog species. Their results have just been published online in “Artificial Photosynthesis in Ranaspumin-2 Based Foam” (March 5, 2010) in the journal “Nano Letters.” (It will be a cover story for the print edition in the fall.)Research Assistant Professor David Wendell, student Jacob Todd and College of Engineering and Applied Science Dean Carlo Montemagno co-authored the paper, based on research in Montemagno’s lab in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. Their work focused on making a new artificial photosynthetic material which uses plant, bacterial, frog and fungal enzymes, trapped within a foam housing, to produce sugars from sunlight and carbon dioxide. Foam was chosen because it can effectively concentrate the reactants but allow very good light and air penetration. The design was based on the foam nests of a semi-tropical frog called the Tungara frog, which creates very long-lived foams for its developing tadpoles. “The advantage for our system compared to plants and algae is that all of the captured solar energy is converted to sugars, whereas these organisms must divert a great deal of energy to other functions to maintain life and reproduce,” says Wendell. “Our foam also uses no soil, so food production would not be interrupted, and it can be used in highly enriched carbon dioxide environments, like the exhaust from coal-burning power plants, unlike many natural photosynthetic systems.”He adds, “In natural plant systems, too much carbon dioxide shuts down photosynthesis, but ours does not have this limitation due to the bacterial-based photo-capture strategy.”There are many benefits to being able to create a plant-like foam. “You can convert the sugars into many different things, including ethanol and other biofuels,” Wendell explains. “And it removes carbon dioxide from the air, but maintains current arable land for food production.”“This new technology establishes an economical way of harnessing the physiology of living systems by creating a new generation of functional materials that intrinsically incorporates life processes into its structure,” says Dean Montemagno. “Specifically in this work it presents a new pathway of harvesting solar energy to produce either oil or food with efficiencies that exceed other biosolar production methodologies. More broadly it establishes a mechanism for incorporating the functionality found in living systems into systems that we engineer and build.”The next step for the team will be to try to make the technology feasible for large-scale applications like carbon capture at coal-burning power plants. Dean Carlo Montemagno“This involves developing a strategy to extract both the lipid shell of the algae (used for biodiesel) and the cytoplasmic contents (the guts), and reusing these proteins in the foam,” says Wendell. “We are also looking into other short carbon molecules we can make by altering the enzyme cocktail in the foam.”Montemagno adds, “It is a significant step in delivering the promise of nanotechnology.” Other Recent News About the College of Engineering and Applied ScienceUC Jumpstarts Charge of Educating Future Energy WorkforceUniversity of Cincinnati College of Engineering and Applied Science offers the first Energy and Materials Engineering undergraduate degree program in the United States.


How cool is this??!!

‘Sapho’ Tomatoes

Mar 16, 2010

FYI: The 'Sapho' Tomatoes will be arriving at NHG on 3/22!

Just a few shots from a lovely spring day in the garden…

Mar 14, 2010

Wow, so this day was long overdue...the first day of spring weather. It usually arrives earlier in February, but we had to wait a bit longer this year. I even managed to get my first bit o' sunburn of the season. I did a bit of garden clean up yesterday and also planted a few tomatoes, peppers, celery and some beautiful blue Lobelia.


Mustard Green 'Southern Giant Curled', Pretty plant, great spicy flavor


First blossoms on the Mexican Plum Tree (Prunus Mexicana). Such a wonderful fragrance!

The first flowers of Hellebore 'Sunshine Mix'


Asparagus shoots! I have to wait until next spring to harvest these beauties...can't wait!


Lovely lobelia...'Techno Heat Dark Blue'

Back to top

Tips in your inbox


Sign up for the E-Newsletter for industry info, gardening trends & tips.