Monday, September 10, 2012

Eating Watermelon...Finally

After numerous years of unsuccessful watermelon growing, this year has turned out to be a bumper crop in our garden.  Well, actually four melons, but that's a lot more than zero.  This past weekend I decided to pick one of the melons.  I wasn't really sure how to tell if they were ready or not, but I really wanted to try one.  So logically I just picked the one that started forming first.  I figured it would be the closest to ripe, and would want to wast time actually finding out how to determine ripeness.

I brought it inside and cut it open.  Fortunately, it is ripe and pretty tasty.  It made a great afternoon snack.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Do you water your lawn?

Growing up my father watered his lawn a lot.  He still does.  Water is cheap in New York and he loves a green lush lawn.  We don't water our lawn.  Water is crazy expensive in Texas.   Quite a shock when I first moved here.  We don't waste it on our weedy lawn.  Typically by the end of June our grass (aka: weeds we mow and maintain as if they were grass) is all brown and crunchy.

Here you can see the beginning of this years brown out.  I'm always amazed at how fast it greens back up.  We had two weeks in a row where we got a lot of rain (for the DFW area in the summer) and the whole thing greened back up.  We even had to mow.  Now two weeks later, and two weeks with out any rain or supplemental water, we are back to the brown.

Sometimes we talk about creating a nice little patch of grass in the front yard once we have all the garden beds completed, but really we like to focus our water on the big plants and the garden beds, so who knows if that little postage stamp of green will ever come to furition.

Do you water your lawn in the heat of the summer?

Thursday, September 6, 2012


I grew watermelon once in New York.  I managed to produce one meager melon that was small and wasn't particularly good.  I have tried to grow mellons for the past two years in Texas.  I didn't even get flowers.

This year I added some melons as an afterthought once we got soil for the cement planters (some time in July).  Right now the count is FOUR watermelons!  Not sure what I did differently, other than using a container, but clearly it's working.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Tomatoes Take Two

 We finally got some new tomatoes in the vegetable garden last week.  Considering that's it is actually September, it isn't looking too bad.  The purslane planted in the cinder block cells are awesome.  Definitely something we're going to repeat again next year.

 Since we had being keeping the plants with our potted houseplants on the shaded deck we were concerned that the full sun of the vegetable garden would turn them into toast.  Fortunately, Tucker cobbled together this burlap shade clothe shade structure using the tomato cages.  It has totally worked and we have had no sun scald.  Take special note of the festive florescent zip ties that are holding the whole thing together. 

 We had a bunch of rain and some cooler temperatures that resulted in one of the tomatoes that we saved (the Sugary) to start flowering and producing again.  I'm pretty excited since my tomatoes have never managed to make it through a whole summer here in Texas.  We won't talk about the Porter that was also saved.  Let's just say that it's on life support and it's pretty touch and go.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Tidying the Tomatoes

Growing tomatoes is a little trickier in Texas, at least it is for me.  Once the weather gets hot and dry, my plants always start declining.  Typically, before the end of August I have some brown crunchy plants.  Also the heat prevents them from setting fruit. 

This year was not much different.  After a wonderful spring where I was inundated with tomatoes, the majority of my plants have once again been toasted by summer.  It finally was time to pull them out.  The only two the made the cut were the Porter and the Sugery.

This is NOT how the Sugery Tomato is looking right now

The Porter had been recommended to me by someone local as a tomato that stood up to the summer.  While it isn't producing any fruit, it also isn't dead, so I'm calling it a win.  The Sugery is also not looking great, but not looking horrible, so it also got a reprieve.

The back two raised beds in the vegetable garden (Ignore the toasted lawn...we don't water the "grass" back here)
You can see here that taking out the tomatoes had left two of my raised bed virtually empty.  All that's left are the two tomatoes I didn't pull and some strawberries and purslane along the edges.  I have a new batch of fall tomatoes ready to plant.  We just need to create a little temporary shade for them so they can get acclimated to the garden.  Hopefully next weekend.