Blog posts from November 2010

Bill S.510 Food Safety Act is BAD.

Nov 29, 2010

Americans, you need to contact your Senators TODAY to protest the Food "Safety" Act Bill S.510. This bill is so overreaching it's scary. Do we really need Homeland Security inspecting and regulating our backard vegetable gardens? Telling you you can't save seed and grow your own food? This bill gives Congress the authority to enact just those kinds of policies. This bill protects Big-Ag, period. Small farmers across America are crucial to the future of sustainable and affordable food system in this country. VOTE IT DOWN!!!



Armchair Urban Farming…

Nov 28, 2010

Last week we managed to get everything moved into the new house...and then I promptly had some oral surgery. Then family arrived in town for the holidays (and stepped around boxes for the last few days). Today is the first day I've had a moment to start thinking about how I'll be setting up my new home and garden (urban farm). I'm starting with a blank slate again at this new house so I have a lot of work ahead of me, but I'm looking forward to it.

On today's list of armchair gardening/farming tasks:

1. Choosing the breeds of the new baby chicks I'll be adding to the flock in spring. I think I've settled on:

1- Black Copper Maran
1- Silver Spangled Hamburg
1- White Crested Black Polish
1 - White Crested Blue Polish
1- Silver laced Wyandotte
1- Blue Cochin

Bluecochin Blue Cochin - Photo Courtesy of Backyard Chicken Forum
Can't wait!!

2. Check out beekeeping supplies. Now that my property is split into several sections and I have an additional fenced in side yard for more fruits and veggies, I'll be setting up a beehive. Also plan on attending the 2011 North American Beekeeping Conference in January.

3. Start figuring out where the raised veggie beds will go. It's not the best time of year to determine my best sun exposure in the new garden, but I will need to get the beds in the ground soon. I brought along all my cedar raised beds from the old house and I'm missing my salad garden!

4. Flipping through assorted gardening magazines. Check out the new Urban Farm Magazine...been waiting for this one! Fun read.


Ok, I guess I have to go do laundry now! Booooooo....

Almost Tulip Planting Time…

Nov 26, 2010

Blushing ladyNow that we've had our first light frost, we are on our way to tulip planting time in North Texas. Soil temperatures need to be consistently below 50F and that usually happens the 2nd or 3rd week of December. You can still find a wonderful selection of pre-chilled tulips at your local garden center right now so don't wait or you'll miss out on your favorite varieties.You can go HERE to a previous post for more info on the ins and outs of successful tulps!

DFW, today is our first average frost date!

Nov 17, 2010

Are you stocked up on Frost Cloth? If not you'd better run out and get some. Nov. 17th is our average first frost date and it's probably right around the corner. You'll want to protect newly planted annuals and vegetable transplants, seedlings, Camellia blooms and the like. Be sure to water in your garden before a frost to help keep plants turgid and less susceptible to frost damage. Never use plastic to cover your plants! You want to create a layer of insulation with warm air around the plant to protect it, without trapping too much moisture. Frost cloth or reemay will do that, plastic will not.

Let the new garden begin…

Nov 16, 2010

Ok...WHEEWWWWWW! You may remember me posting photos a couple of months ago about the removal of our veggie garden in preparation for selling our home. Well, we got an offer in 3 weeks and had only 3 weeks after that to tie down a new house and move. Somehow...I think I've managed to come out the other side of that ordeal alive and have just finished moving in to the new place. It was really tough leaving my garden and sweet little house behind, but I'm ready to get started on my next gardening adventure. As with the last house, the new landscape we've inherited is a blank slate. It needs a lot of work, but also has a lot of potential.The first task on the list was getting the fence up and the chickens and chicken coop moved over this past weekend.Here are the girls making their first foray into their new digs...


Soon I'll post "before" photos of the new yard space...

Time to plant fruit trees…and berries!

Nov 4, 2010

You might wonder why I bring up fruit trees and berries, just as we’re getting chilly here in the DFW area. Did you know that one of the best times to plant fruit trees is when they are dormant? While you can plant healthy containerized fruit trees any time of the year, now through February is really best. Also, your selection of fruit trees at the garden center will be most extensive this time of year.

Cultivar selection is one of the most important steps you can take when planting fruit trees. The success of many varieties depends on the amount of chilling hours they receive. Stone and pome fruit trees, such as peaches and apples rely on enough chilling for flowers and leaf buds to develop properly. Without sufficient chilling hours in winter to break dormancy once warm temperatures return, trees may experience many different problems that can damage fruit production. A few of my favorite varieties for Texas are ‘Moonglow’ pears, ‘Ranger’ peaches and ‘Methley’ plums, but there are many to choose from.

When planting fruit trees make sure to provide them a spot with full sun exposure for best success. By full sun I mean sun for most of the day, if not all day long. Good drainage is also important. Choose a spot in your landscape where you’re sure you don’t collect excess moisture due to drainage or settling issues. Fruit trees will require regular fertilization and treatment programs to maximize production.  You’ll need to provide adequate water to your new trees until they become established and supplemental water thereafter as needed.

It’s also a great time to plant berries and grape vines. A few to look for include ‘Brazos’ Thornless and ‘Womack’ blackberries. Blackberries are one of the easiest fruits to produce in our Texas soil and climate. You’ll be rewarded with an abundance of fruit with little effort.

For more information about fruit tree varieties that will perform best in your area, visit your local garden center. Folks in the North Texas area can visit North Haven Gardens’ website for an informative list:

Salvia ‘Wendy’s Wish’

Nov 2, 2010

A lovely new variety of salvia is blooming its head off right now in Texas. Salvia 'Wendy's Wish' has huge striking rose-colored blooms. Plants grow to 3'-4' tall and 2'-3' wide in full sun.

They are cold hard to about 25 F so should make it through winter in much of the state. We'll occasionally lose them here in winter in the DFW area, but we'll call it a tender perennial. This is definitely going to be a must for the hummingbird garden next year! Now is a great time to plant perennial salvias, along with many other perennials such as heuchera, hellebore, stachys, Mexican bush sage, scabiosa, etc.

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