Sunday Sunshine Makes for a Good Day To Spend Time Puttering in the Garden

These are some of the vegetables planted in November; in comparison to the lush growth of the turnip leaves, the carrots are coming up sparsely.

These are some of the vegetables planted in November; in comparison to the lush growth of the turnip leaves, the carrots are coming up sparsely.

Yesterday was the perfect day to be outside; even with the breeze, the sunshine warmed up my face from the cooler air inside the house.  I set about trying to clean and organize  my veggie garden out back of the garage.

The three short rows of turnips are spreading out their thick leaves, and I think I might have glimpsed a bit of white root that is starting to be a turnip.

After last year’s poor showing, I was against planting English peas again, but somehow I did it, and the spindly plants are trying to pull themselves up the trellises by their tendrils, despite their lack of a real affinity for climbing (unlike the pole beans, who really get it).   The peas’ real talent comes in the sweet white blooms they produce.  Even so, when the time arrives, I can never pick enough pods of the little green balls to get more than a handful or two to throw into some soup.   I couldn’t imagine trying to grow enough of these fragile plants to collect enough to fill a bowl for a family meal.

Back in November when I put in the turnips and peas, I also planted a mix of lettuce, Texas onions (which are supposed to make bulbs, and not just get to the scallion stage before the heat burns them up). and carrots.  These are all doing their best although they have an ongoing contest with the ever-eager chickweed, which wants to grow anywheere it can in early spring.  I tried to help out the young vegetable by getting on the gloves and pulling out the chickweed and occasional nasty nettle, but it wasn’t an easy task because in the midst of all the vegetable plants and weeds are at least 30 volunteer tomato plants, which have sprung from the compost I had tilled into the soil.  Because a number of the tomatoes I had last year were heirlooms and so tasty, I’m leaving some of the bigger ones in the ground where they are and digging up and temporarily potting others to pass along to friends.  The remaining ones will have to be either pulled up with the chickweed or hoed under.

These volunteer tomato plants are trying to get acclimated to pots after being plucked  from their crowded space in the garden.

These volunteer tomato plants are trying to get acclimated to pots after being plucked from their crowded space in the garden.

My potting table at the back door is not so convenient to the garden itself but is just the right place to be the landing place for sprinklers, empty pots, and any other outside necessity.  Right now, the table is also crowded with a couple of pots as an experiment of container lettuce, a number of the tomato orphans from the garden, and the starting homes flowers that I hope will grow from the seeds given to me for Christmas that came from my niece and nephew’s Kansas garden.  We’ll see which can take this southeast Texas humidity.

When I arrived home from work this evening, the plants and flowers all over the entire yard and garden stood perky and were still glistening from the .30 inches of rain that had fallen in the late afternoon.  Like other rains  over the past few weeks , the amount of rainfall was small but is enough to keep the ground moist.

Memorial Day: Enjoy It But Don’t Forget What It Means

Memorial Day falls at a time when I can never get more than just the three days off from work, so although I’d like to go back to Kansas and my little hometown of Dorrance every year, the short time and the chunk of change I have to cough up for the airfare just doesn’t make that feasible.  (I’ve written about why Memorial Day is important to me before.)  This year I’m going to enjoy the still-newness of living in my house, putter in my yard and garden, and take advantage of some discount coupons to do some shopping.  I hope whatever you’re doing this weekend that you’ll take a few moments to remember those who have passed on, whether Veterans or not.

It’s still early on this Saturday morning, but though I was sure I would want to climb back into bed after taking Annie out even before six, I I was lured by the garden and other things I can do, having the luxury of three days before me.

With the sun a bit more up, I checked out the garden more closely and see that I will be able to pick my first beans in just a couple of days.  Altough all the plants in the garden look lush and full, I’m afraid that the poor soil keeps them from producing as many and as big of vegetables as they might if the soil were better.  This first year is a learning experience, and with the compost and more good soil, I’m sure next year’s crop will be better, but I don’t know if it can be any more fun!

This little garden seems to grow and change week by week. (5-29-10)

There are lots of blossoms. How many will become beans is a question.

This ruellia (ruellia elegans) was given to me by a friend and just keeps blooming and blooming. (And, yes, the grass will get mowed this weekend.)