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Have a little faith! February 29, 2012

Posted by Barbara in Gardening, Life.
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It’s garden time again in Texas.   We’ve already planted cool-loving potatoes and onions, spinach, carrots, lettuce and radishes in the soil.   The more sensitive herbs, the tomatoes and peppers and watermelons that want to be coddled in warmth until all danger of frost has passed, are just breaking ground in their little pots, safely tucked away in the $20 greenhouse.

Plant too early and you may lose the crop to a freeze.  Too late and you limit or lose the growing season.   And that is  just one of the many hurdles Mother Nature keeps in her play book to challenge those who dare play the game.  Farming is one part sweat and sore muscles, one part strategy, one part planning and ten parts faith.

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Cycles August 9, 2011

Posted by Barbara in Gardening, Life.
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It’s been hot in Texas.  Very hot.  My car showed 112 degrees the other day.  It’s taking a toll on the garden, and only the hardiest of vegetables have endured to this point.   When our water supply was interrupted for a couple of days, it spelled the end for almost everything.   I was sad to see it go until I realized that the changes I was seeing were not harbingers of the end.  Rather they were showing life’s willingness to adapt and continue.

Adapt, you say?  The sunflowers are still standing only because the stems are as thick as small tree trunks and will likely stand until we cut them down to plant the next crop.  Adapt?  Even the heat-loving watermelons have quit blooming, the vines withering almost as I watch.

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Garden lessons, life lessons July 11, 2011

Posted by Barbara in Gardening, Life.
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I was weeding the garden this morning. My recent week of play saw a bumper crop of weeds to go with the nice harvest. As I worked my way down the row of mostly gone or harvested onions and garlic I saw what I took to be a miscreant stalk of corn – probably planted by the birds who are enjoying the corn crop.

 I really am aware of how steep my gardening learning curve still is.    I thought I knew exactly what that plant was.  I was quite willing to pull it up.  At the very least, it was growing in the wrong place.  Who needs corn in the garlic row?

Imagine my surprise when my pulling uncovered a large tuber.  It was the long-lost ginger I had planted months ago and never seen again.  It had suddenly decided to grow – exactly where I had planted it.  It didn’t grow as quickly as I had expected and I didn’t understand what it would look like if it did.  So I mis-read the reality.  And ruined what would have become a beautiful and productive plant. 

I wonder how often we fail to recognize other treasures in life.

Sometimes because they take time to reveal themselves.  Sometimes because we  are so focused on our own expectations that we don’t recognize and value what is right in front of us.

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures. 
                 ~Thornton Wilder  

It was less than a week! July 5, 2011

Posted by Barbara in Gardening.
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We went on a trip to visit the folks and have some play-time in Austin this past week/end.  6 days.  I promise.

Garden – July 5

The morning before we left, we harvested everything – took a good bit with us to share on the trip.  All this grew in the week we were gone.

The pictures don’t do these things justice.  The larger zucchini are 18 inches long and the watermelon is about 15 lbs.  I’m wondering what one does with squash that big.  Stuffed zucchini boats, maybe.  One would feed the entire crew of the ship it matches.

Sunflowers grew more than a foot and have blooms now –  at least 6 ft tall already.

But I love having lots to share. It was a good plan.

Garden: One of a vast number of free outdoor restaurants operated by charity-minded amateurs in an effort to provide healthful, balanced meals for insects, birds and animals.
               ~ Henry Beard and Roy McKie, Gardener’s Dictionary


Lessons from the garden July 9, 2010

Posted by Barbara in Gardening, Life.
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*It takes good planning to make a really good garden.

*Plant enough for yourself, enough to share and if you want to go organic, enough for a bit of loss to bugs.

*Stagger the timing of planting to make the season last longer and keep it all from demanding your attention at once.

*Don’t leave sunflower heads on the patio to dry.

*Coyotes eat watermelons.  Down to the rind.  But only 1 or 2  a night,  to make them last, I guess.

*You can’t fertilize the veggies without also fertilizing the weeds.

*I can’t tell when the watermelons are ripe.  Thunking is dependent on how much they’ve been watered.  Apparently, so does tendril wilt.

*Don’t procrastinate when small problems arise.    They multiply exponentially overnight.

*Okra has beautiful flowers, but they are hidden  under the leaves.

who knew okra flowers were so pretty?! on Twitpic

*If you work together, gardens can grow families, too.

*There is no point where we are not  excited and renewed by watching life cycle in a garden.   From the smallest sprout to the seeds dropping from the dried sunflowers, the process is awe inspiring.

*It tastes wonderful when you grow it yourself.  Even if you thought you didn’t like it.

*Wear a hat and a long-sleeved sunshirt.

*The work is never done.  But that’s okay.  Tomorrow will bring its own rewards as well.

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Half the interest of a garden is the constant exercise of the imagination.

~Mrs. C.W. Earle, Pot-Pourri from a Surrey Garden, 1897