Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I Love Texas Fall Gardening

These were my green beans earlier this month.  I had to tear the plants out of my garden yesterday after they succumbed to the recent freeze, but I've enjoyed snacking on them this November.    I had to tear out some of my peppers too...but my Cheyenne Peppers and a couple of my Bells survived (I hope they'll stay until the two peppers growing on them mature.)  The Cheyenne's hardly seemed fazed...they must be more hardy than most peppers.  Surprizingly, my basil are still surviving too.  I had both regular and lemon basil.  The regular took a pretty significant hit..can't use the current leaves but enough survived to keep the plant alive (don't know if we'll have any spells warm enough for it to send out more shoots).  My lemon basil seems hardier.  Some of the leaves have little brown spots, but I could still use them in a pesto in a pinch.

And I have onions and radishes and lettuce that are doing well!  I love living in Texas where you can still have a garden in the dead of winter!

Oh, by the way, a little tip...if you forget to water your garden, then make up for it with a LONG watering ( all day long because you forgot to turn off the sprinkler) this is what will happen to your radishes.  A dry spell followed by a heavy water makes them split.  It still tasted good, though!

But the BIG thing I wanted to share with you was a surprise that sprouted in the area by the fence where the fire burned this summer...

Those are CARROTS sprouting under those wild morning glory leaves!  Hundreds of them are growing where the fire burned.  And not only that, there's CILANTRO too!  (Not hundreds...there's just a couple of those).

You see, a couple summers ago when I was first trying to start a garden I accidentally left some seed packets out and they blew all over the yard.  Last spring two carrots came up near where the fire burned later this summer...but I had no idea there were even that many carrots in the packet!  What a cool surprise!

Oh, yeah, and one more thing popped up un-expected:

I planted morning glories last spring by this wall, and they never came up.  But look at them now...aren't they gorgeous?  I've been growing morning glories every spring since we moved into our first apartment in Texas, but I've NEVER gotten them this big and healthy.   Guess I should try growing them in fall!

(Oh, and you know how I've been complaining that all the gardening linky parties close down during the winter...well, I found one that was still going at No Ordinary Homestead!  Yipee!  Check it out below along with This is Wherever Wednessday (where you get to chat about what makes your town/state/etc. unique) and What I Love Wednessday (where you can share about stuff you love)! 

Photobucket lollipops

Monday, November 28, 2011

My Texas Scribbleprint Notebook Got the Zazzle Today's Best Award!!

Woo hoo! My Texas Scribbleprints notebook I designed got the Todays Best award at Zazzle yesterday! That means it was featured on the front page of Zazzle and everything! Pretty cool!

Oh, and there's a sale in the Texifornia Souvenir shop today! Though the notebooks aren't on sale today you can use coupon code ZCYBERMONDAY through November 29 for the following deals at my Zazzle Shop:

30% Off Ornaments

$5 Off T-shirts

$3 Off Mugs

PLUS Free Shipping if Your Order is Over $50

Monday, November 21, 2011

Giveaway: Surfboard Grow Chart

Thought this one was too cute not to pass on to my fellow Texifornians.  Aiming for a Californian vibe in your kids room.  This would be a nice touch!  Giveaway ends November 22.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Texas Gardening Tips - November

November is actually a good time to plant a LOT of things in Texas...something that may be a new thought to you if you came from a colder climate (like the California mountains).

Winter Flower Gardens
November is the transition month from warm season annuals, to cool season annuals.    Cool season annuals grow well from November to May, when it starts to get too hot for them. (Warm season annuals grow from April through Early November.)   This is the last month to start most cool season annuals from seed (you can start some as early as August), but you can plant transplants through February.  Here are some cool season annuals which grow well in Texas:

Baby's Breath (annual)
Candytuft (annual)
Dahlberg Daisy
Dusty Miller
English Daisy
Forget Me Not
Ornamental Cabbage and Kale
Sweet Pea*

*Best Direct Seeded
**Better to Buy Transplants

Bulbs and Corms
You should also plant most of your spring bulbs this month.  Amaryllis bulbs should NOT be planted into the garden now as flowers can be damaged by colder weather.  Hybrid tulips and hyacinths will need to go into paper bags, nylon stocking, or net bags and put in the lower drawers of your refrigerator since Texas winters are not cold enough long enough to give them the proper chill they need to flower in the spring.

Trees, Shrubs, Roses
November is the best time to plant or transpnat trees, shrubs and roses.  The ground is still warm from summer, encouraging growth, and they will have time to set down roots during the cold season, which here is gentler than the summer heat.

Vines and Groundcovers
November is also a good time to plant perennial vines and groundcovers.    Above the ground, you won't see any growth during the winter, but their roots will grow, giving them a stronger start in the spring.    The exception is tropical vines like Bougainvillea, which will die off if left un-attended.  You can try mulching them heavily (10 inches deep), which gives the roots a chance to survive...or just treat them like an annual and replant next year.  (Of course, if they're potted you should bring them inside for the winter).

This month is also a good time to dig, divide and transplant groundcovers.  

Vegetables and Herbs
Cabbage, celery, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, spinach, and Swill chard can be planted as transplants this month (if you're in zone 9 you can still direct seed them).  You should be able to continue planting cilantro and parsley.  I read recently about a gardener in Pennsylvania overwintering these, so they should certainly overwinter in Texas' much milder climate.  Find out more about growing cilantro in Texas in winter here. You should harvest any basil you have while you still can, as leaves turn brown when night start aproching 40 degrees.

In zone 8  you can plant carrots, spinach, cilantro and parsley from seed  (though Spinach may be a gamble).  In zone 8b you can plant shallot sets, mustard greens, and lettuce seeds. 

You can plant garlic and onion sets and direct seed arugula, beets, bok choy, cabbage, carrots,  celery, collard, endive, escarole, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, peas, radishes, rutabaga, shallot,  spinach, and Swiss chard and turnips this time of year.   Herbs to plant include sage, dill, fennel, borage and chives as well as the cilantro and parsley.

My info for the above came from the following sources:  
Month to Month Gardening in Texas
Houston Herb Society
Central Texas Gardening
Central Texas Horticulture
The Vegetable Gardener

Sorry for completely skipping October's tips this month's tips coming so late.  Busy month (and had computer problems).
 'From this gardener who is still learning herself

Chick-fil-A Giveaway

I've sung the praises of Chick-fil-A before, so I had to pass along the giveaway I found for a Chick-fil-A Calendar (filled with coupons) and free peppermint milkshakes (oh, I am so happy that milk-shake is back!).  Click here to enter.

Are your winter clothes put away?

Rubbermaid HomeFree series closet system

I am a messy person. My closet doesn't look anything like the one above. I was messy before kids, and kids have only made it worse. In my struggle to overcome the mess I've discovered a wonderful articles at Like Mother, Like Daughter that actually make me feel HOPEFUL and not judged or depressed (just scroll down towards the bottom and check out the sidebar...she lists them nicely there).

One of these articles is titled "Laundry Problems Start With Clothes". The basic gist of it was that most of us have more clothes in our closets than we need (or at least than we need in any particular season)...and that this hampers (pun intended) our attempts to get the laundry under control.

Now, I wanted to address a particularly Texifornian issue regarding the storage of winter clothes.

On Leilas Laundry Worksheet she asked:

"Why are shorts cluttering the world up if it’s winter?"

MY ANSWER:   Well, because I live in Texas, that's why. It actually may have a low of 20 degrees one day and a high of 85 degrees the next in the dead middle of winter here.

In Texas and California (except the mountains), you can't really put away summer clothes, except the swimsuits and maybe tank tops. So my solution in winter is to put at least half of the summer clothes away (because at very least they won't be wearing it as much as in summer). This usually entails boxing up all the t-shirts with very summery designs (surfboards and palm trees and such), tank tops, and all but 2-3 pairs of shorts.

I still have the problem of needing much more shelf space in winter than in summer (since you can't put away all the summer stuff and the winter stuff is so much bulkier), but at least it's slightly more manageable with some of the summer stuff put away.

Now I'd like to ask you some questions:

  1. Have you put your winter clothes away yet?
  2. Have any great suggestions on transitioning closets from summer to winter, clothing storage tips, etc?  (If you know of any good way to deal with the extra clothes in winter, I'd be especially grateful to hear it!)
Please share your answers in the comments below.

This post is participating in Aloha Friday and 2 Question Thursday and Home Haven Thursday.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Today's Quote

"Legend has it that the 405 got its name because the only time it isn't choked is between 4:04 and 4:06 in the morning."
- Guy Nicolucci, from Spirit, Southwest Airlines Magazine, Jan 2011