Garden Update #10 – Falling into the second growing season
September 7, 2009, 1:20 pm
Filed under: Austin
, go green
, Heath + Beauty
| Tags: austin gardening
, citizen gardener classes
, dick pierce
, john jeavons
, mel bartholemew
, raised bed gardens
, square foot gardening
, texas gardening
, vegetable gardens
Temperatures are finally dipping below the 80′s during the evenings here in Central Texas. In the last month we’ve had a few rainstorms blow through, cooling the region & providing .25″ of desperately needed rainfall. With the cooler temps and shorter days, the garden is beginning to blossom again after a few months of heat-induced hibernation.
Last week I wrapped up 10 hours of Citizen Gardener classes at Austin Botanical Council. Under the instruction of permaculture expert Dick Pierce, our class built two raised bed gardens & one amazing compost pile (you can check out the photos here and here). While I have previous training with John Jeavon’s double-dig garden method, this was the first time I’d actually seen Mel Bartholemew’s square foot gardening method put into practice with my own eyes. It made me realize what things I’d done wrong with my own raised bed garden (mainly that I have no cardboard base layer to kill Bermuda grass and didn’t employ food scraps + wetted cardboard base to encourage microorganisms.) I also learned that my compost pile is terribly, terribly wrong. Fixing it is a daunting task that may need to wait till I make friends with someone who owns a pick-up truck.
Since taking the class I’ve started to make plans for a 2nd raised bed garden (built the proper way) & can’t wait to start laying out a design. This time I am going to put more consideration into the placement & timing of my plants, and I will need to look into soaker hoses instead of a sprinkler system. Before any of that happens, though, I’ll need to find a way to dispose of the tree stump that lives in the middle of my next garden. The termite population just isn’t doing it’s job fast enough.
Before I get too ahead of myself with the planning, here’s a brief pictoral of how the garden’s looking these days. It’s also fun at this point to go back and look at photos of the garden’s progress since it’s inception in January – we’ve come a long way, baby!
The pepper seedlings from the spring are finally producing! These are transplants that were grown from seed I collected from bell peppers bought at Boggy Creek. The peppers these plants are producing are SO much larger than my pepper plant that I received from Green Corn Project. Their leaves are longer, darker & more attractive as well. I’m planning to once again seed save off of this variety for planting again next year.
Broccoli & cabbage transplants are barely hanging on – these are just two seedlings that remain from our repotting day at Green Corn Project several weeks ago. With any luck they’ll survive the next few weeks & find themselves transplanted into the garden soon!
Sweet potatoes that I harvested last week – 8 potatoes under one slip planted in the spring! I can’t wait to unearth the others to see how many more are under there…
The first two squash plants of the fall are beginning to produce. Happily, the seeds that germinated were not the same types – I have both a yellow squash & zuchinni squash growing. Two more baby squash plants just broke ground a few days ago, and will continue to provide squash after these two older plants stop producing.
The baby carrot tops just keep getting taller! These seemed to germinate really well. This weekend I also planted radishes in this bed, and added cilantro seeds to my herb garden. Radishes only take 22 days to mature – in just 3 weeks I will be eating radishes I planted yesterday. Amazing!
Now here’s an experiment I’m REALLY proud of: I’m growing red yuccas! A few weeks ago I harvested the seed pods of the red yucca that grows in the planter box above my mailbox. I never thought my experiment would actually work, till I noticed these sprouts popping up out of the seed tray yesterday. With any luck, I can keep them growing & start producing my own landscape plants. How cool is that?!
Red yucca momma. I wonder how long it takes them to get this big??? Guess there’s only one way to find out…