Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Square Foot Gardening Update 3

Hi everyone, as Erin mentioned to you all, I was going to write a guest post about our garden last week; well, it’s late, but here it is. Quite a bit has been going on over the past 2 or months since you all first got an update on the garden. We’ve weathered a freeze, replanted those that didn’t, eaten our share of fresh sugar snap peas, radishes and strawberries, and are waiting in eager anticipation of the tomatoes that set fruit over the past 2 weeks.
We’ll start with the successes. The sugar snap peas have just taken off up the trellis, with the assistance of the twine supports that my industrious wife added; the original trellis supports were just too large for them to wrap their tendrils around, and now they’re a good 4 feet tall. The peas were planted in mid-January, and we’ve had many, many snacks of sugar snap peas while standing by the garden as the neighbors drove by, as well as a large side dish with a homemade peanut dipping sauce. They are more peas ripening as we speak, but with the recent 90 degree temp., the leaves are fading to yellow, and the plants are on the brink of burning up in the heat. The radishes, beets, carrots and swiss chard have all done wonderfully; we had swiss chard for dinner last night, and should be able to have it every week for the next 3 months at the rate it’s going; I’m convinced it’s the most under-appreciated leafy green. There has not yet been a beet or carrot harvest, but they are beginning to crown at the surface, so it won’t be long. The radishes have taken off like a weed, and have a very mild flavor and good crisp.
The herbs have thrived in the recent rains and sunshine we’ve had this month, with the cilantro being about 3 feet tall (nothing makes a salsa like fresh homegrown cilantro), and the parsley spreading out and up everywhere. The basil did not fare as well in the late season freeze we had in February, and has had its growth stunted (it’s getting there though). The okra has sprouted from seed, and will be 5 feet tall by the time the next garden post comes around, the cucumbers are starting to shoot tendrils, and the Kentucky Wonder Beans are covered in flower buds. The strawberry plant is in a pot next to the garden, and produces little strawberries, that are sweet and juicy; if we can get to them before the birds (I can’t blame them though). The cabbage is taking its sweet time, and I may have more news about it in November; if we ever needed cabbage this summer or fall, we’ll be on our way to HEB.

We had a relatively late season freeze at the end of February that snuck up on us, which left the gardens uncovered for the 29 degree night. That’s all it took though, the bell peppers, jalapeños, banana peppers, cucumbers, squash and green beans all had to be re-planted. The tomatoes were cut down pretty good by the freeze, but the core weathered the storm, and we will be harvesting beginning this month. We have 5 varieties of tomatoes growing which should satisfy all of our tomato needs, from snacking, to fried green tomatoes, to burgers on the grill. We have Roma, Roma Grape, Beefsteak (1 lb tomatoes!), Early Girl & Solar Fire (TX heat and drought resistant). All of the tomatoes are thriving, with little tomatoes everywhere.
I’ve learned quite a bit from growing the garden this season, mostly, to listen to experience. My 90 year old Grandpa has been gardening and growing in the Central Texas area for the past 75-80 years, and the one bit of advice he gave me was that you can expect a freeze in the area up until Easter; I didn’t listen and planted the warm season plants in February anyway, and had to replant after the freeze got them. Secondly, Square Foot Gardening is the only way to go. Its low maintenance, low watering and the plants thrive.


Candi said...

Thanks for visiting! Your guest poster has a beautiful SFG! I can't wait until next year when we do that too.

Hope Chella said...

This is wonderful. I'd love to have a garden someday :)

Jami said...

Looks so good, especially to those of us up north surviving on greens and, um...greens. Yep, not even peas for us yet, but within a few weeks I'm sure. :-)

Thanks for linking to the Tuesday Garden Party!

Neely said...

Brian blogged! So exciting!! I cant wait to see the garden in 30 days!!!

Alea said...

What an incredible garden! I can't believe you are already harvesting produce - Okay, I can believe it and am incredibly jealous!