Tip of the Week – Week 19 in the Zone 9 Garden

Yesterday I heard a meteorologist say that we have a two thirds greater chance of having a cooler and wetter summer than normal.  While that is great news it is still Texas and it is still going to get HOT out there.  I bring this up because even though May is the beginning of harvest time, it is also the first month where high temps begin to be a problem.  Each year I pay hundreds of dollars to have pre-cancerous spots burned off and I always manage to dehydrate myself.  Patty Leander has a great article full of tips that will help you stay cool and safe in the garden this year.  Click here to read her tips.

blog6 Vegetables

While there is still time to plant lima (butter) beans, southern peas, gourds, winter squash and sweet potatoes, May is really the beginning of harvest time.

I am excited to say that we will soon be harvesting artichokes for the first time.  We will also start picking green beans soon.  If you don’t already have green beans you will in the next week or so.  Your green beans should produce until temps start to stay in the 90s.  Harvest often for best yields.  Summer squash should soon be on your plate as well.  Again, pick it early and pick often.

In my opinion, the big harvests of the month are potatoes and onions.  My potatoes still have a couple of weeks to go but my onion tops are beginning to fall over.  My onions have been in the ground since December and I am ready to get them up.  Not only do I need the space for my purple hulls, I truly love onions.   If you have a large harvest, be sure to cure, or dry them before you store them.  Patty and I both have articles on how to properly harvest and care for your bulbs.  Check them both out.

Patty’s article – Harvesting and Curing Onions

My article:  How to Harvest and Cure Onions

poppies-potager Ornamentals

Last week I wrote about how much joy I get from my daylilies.  While that is true, they are not the only thing blooming right now.  All of my salvias have started blooming.  I also have datura, dianthus, crinums, yarrow and petunias that are in full bloom.  All of these flowers are filling my yard with bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.  Keep flowering plants well watered to extend bloom time.  Also dead head often to encourage re-bloom.

If you grew poppies this spring, they should just about be ready for you to harvest the seeds.  I collect my poppy seeds each year.  Because of this I have been able to spread them all over my property.  Read more about collecting your own poppy seeds by clicking this link: Remembering our Veterans with Poppies.

I share my posts on the HomeAcre Hop.  Be sure to stop by the hop.  It has tons of great information from gardeners and homesteaders all over the world!






Rainy Day Blooms

This morning I awoke to the soft sounds of rain falling on our tin roof.  There is something so calming, refreshing and nostalgic about that sound.  A cool May morning in Texas is something to savor and celebrate.  So, after breakfast, I put on some clothes, grabbed the camera and headed outside.  The rain had stopped but the sun had not yet broken through the clouds.  The air was heavy and cool and the light was filtered and soft.  I love mornings like this because they are so rare in the South. 

As I wandered through my yard I snapped tons of pictures.  Despite the heat and weeds that are again trying to take over, May is my favorite month for gardening.  Flowers are blooming and the vegetables are beginning to share their fruits. This morning was a perfect start to what promises to be a spectacular day.  Here are several pictures of some of the things that helped to make my morning so special.


One thing that I truly love about my little garden is the fact that almost everyone of my plants came from someone I know.  All of my daylillies, and I have hundreds, came from either my wife’s grandmother or a promising young horticulturist named Chris Von Kohn.  Daylillies and May are synonymous in my mind.  I am always incredibly excited when the first one opens at the beginning of the month and then equally sad when the bloom falls toward the end of the month.  Here are some shots of the one’s that were in bloom this morning.

Here is a very lovely daylily that was bred by Chris Von Kohn.
Here is another one of Chris’s lovely creations.
Here is one of my borders filled with Hyperion daylilies that we got from my wife’s grandmother.  Over the years we have turned our original clump into literally hundreds of plants.
Miscellaneous Blooms
I absolutely love cleome or Spider Flower.  I was very pleased to see that the first one of the season has decided to open up.
Our easter lilies finally opened.  Very lovely and they last so long in a vase.
I absolutely love Powis Castle artemsia.  Here it pairs nicely with old fashioned petunias.
Daylilies aren’t they only thing blooming in my beds.  A no fail stunner for me is always my Victoria salvia.
 My native Datura is beginning to bloom
I love the combination of the old fashioned petunias with the Ruellia or Mexican petunias. 
Here is a very lovely pink yarrow shared with me by my friend Cynthia Mueller.
I love the color and texture of coleus.  These are in an old washstand with portulaca and calibrachoa
Vegetables and Herbs
This year I finally got arounf to building raised beds for my vegetables.  I have three 33′ rows that I filled with a mix of 60% river sand and 40% mushroom compost.  My building was delayed by all of the rain so I got my garden in a little late.  However, it is really beggining to take off.
One of my favorite herbs is borage.  Even though it has a nice, mild cucmber flavor, I don’t really like to eat it.  The leaves are too fuzzy for me.  However, it makes a lovely plant.  Plus, it has beautiful little blue flowers that look great frozen in a ice cube.
I have 18 tomato plants growing.  Because of that we will be making lots of salsa.  I planted cilantro in a buried 2.5 gallon pot to try and keep it in check.  I use this same trick with my mint.
Summer isn’t complete with out squash.  My yellow crook neck it beginning to produce.
I love peppers.  Because of this I have several varieties currently growning.  Last Saturday we picked our first bell.  It was perfectly shaped and a perfect size so we took it in and immediately ate it.  We cut it into two thick slices that we sauteed in bacon grease.  Once it softened up a bit we cracked an egg to the center.  We topped it off with grilled onions, bell pepper and and shreaded American cheese.  People that don’t garden will never know how truly wonderful a dish like this is.