Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Turk's Cap

Turk's Cap is one of my favorite shrubs. I got this plant on one of the flower excursions my mother-in-law, Caroline, took me on several years ago. After hearing my story about Irises, she decided to take me to Mrs. Hydie's place, an expert gardener, in Waco. Out behind her home was a stand of Turk's Cap. It immediately took me back to my childhood, so I was obliged to take all I could dig up!

As the g
ardener in the family, this is one of Pat's least favorite plants. One reason is it is a tad invasive, so it requires digging up and cutting back annually. However, if there is plenty of room, this native Texas plant will thrive. It attracts and feeds hummingbirds every year. The hummingbirds are so busy, you can walk right up to them and watch them feed!

The photos in this article were taken by my son, Cory in 2007. Also in the garden with the Turk's Cap are a variety of plants: Russian sage, daisies, society garlic, sage bush, lilies, and a creeping green carpet of something with yellow flowers.

Square Foot Gardening

One thing that connects Pat to my mother is his love of growing fresh vegetables. In the 80's he noticed a program on PBS which featured a gardening technique that compacts crops into square foot sections. The technique, by Mel Bartholomew, is explained in his book Square Foot Gardening.

Living on an acre + of land, we do have plenty of room to have a traditional garden, but we also have maybe 40' of limestone below a 1/2" layer of dirt. For that reason, most of the beds that have been established by Pat are raised gardens. Another reason for the small area is if you use the Square Foot gardening method, you really do not need a lot of space! Pat dug this 16' x 8' plot in December 2006. I actually helped a little.

The main advantages to Square Foot gardening are:
  • ease of weeding and cultivation
  • uses less water
  • high yield in a small space
  • it looks good!
This is our third year for the garden and Pat mainly plants radishes, onions and tomatoes. This year he has decided to move the tomatoes into pots in order to free up space for broccoli and cabbage. Because the garden is next to the house, it does not catch as much sunlight as it should for high yields. However, for the last two summers the garden has yielded enough onions to last from summer through winter. Pat also plants cilantro, lettuces in the fall, and peppers. I'll update you on this year's garden around the end of June.

upper right: Pat stands by the newly created garden
left: Our garden for the 2009 growing season (3/18/09)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A New Adventure

I love it when ideas come to me. This is a new journal of my family's past and future adventures together.

As a teacher, I love to share things with others. So one thing I would like to share with you is the dedication of my husband to our garden. His passion began early by helping his father and mother maintain their yard and garden. My passion began early appreciating the efforts of my mother's love for raising vegetables from a small plot of land in our backyard. While I am not one who loves to get her hands dirty, what I do love is chronicling through pictures the transformation of our humble piece of Texas.

Through the encouragement of his mother and the desire to transform the rocky landscape of our home into something pleasurable for us and neighbors to enjoy, I believe we have something to give back to others, albeit a small token of beauty for all to enjoy, through this humble blog. We hope you will return again and again to watch our story unfold.

Photo: pink geraniums in a whiskey barrel