My late spring garden.

This is a sample of the perennials I have in my food garden. This year’s experiment was with an artichoke plant. I love that plant! It had some transplant shock, but it quickly recovered. And since then, it has produced like a champ.

My pomegranates look like they are going to produce a nice crop again this year. But I certainly won’t be attempting a jelly out of the juice again. What a disaster! Total waste of last year’s crop. The strange thing is, I don’t even like jelly. So why make it?

Ah, and my leeks. I never thought of them as a perennial. I would just hack one or two stems off and leave the roots when I wanted some for cooking a dish. Slowly it dawned on me: if I don’t remove the roots, the plant lives through the Texas heat and our occasional Texas freezes. Huh. I thought for sure the weather would have killed it.

Baby pomegranate
Baby pomegranate
Wish I could remember which variety of grape I planted here!
Wish I could remember which variety of grape I planted here!
My leeks have flowers on them!
My leeks have flowers on them!

Italian Cypress Trees: Proceed with Caution

I’ve had issues with Italian cypress trees ever since I went to Balmorreah State Park in west Texas about 5 years ago. The park had these giant, scary trees looming over the pond. End of story, I can’t handle the sight of them.

Anyhow! I see neighbors plant them waaaay too close to their homes. I live in a 10 year old (more or less) neighborhood. I don’t think these folks have a clue how damn big the trees get. Now, the pictures I took are in El Paso, which has significantly less rain than Austin. I’m scared about what the future holds. What if the trees fluff out early? eeep!

I guess… The house is on a mountain side, so I will allow it. I don’t know if anyone is even in this house. One of the windows has been busted out for a while, and my telephoto lens captured a ladder—that never seems to move.

Aw. Look at the baby cypress. Aren’t they cute?
Possible violation for El Paso Electric. No further comment.

Gosh. Is this tree too big for the space?
Om nom nom! (Tree monster eating your house.)
Nothing says “Come on in, y’all” like two imposing, sharp-needled trees.

Who knew radishes were so easy to grow?

This was the first time I grew them. Since it has been raining, I basically ignored them. Once my husband had to put organic garden dust on them.

Although the package said to plant them one inch apart, I would recomend one seed per hole two inches apart. They all sprouted. There would no need for me to have to thin the plantings if I had just gone with my gut and did one per hole.

Because they were that close, some got long and skinny instead of fat. I should have watched the crop closer. Some of the bigger ones cracked from too much moisture.

I have ton of radish greens now. I think I have done some Japanese pickling (Tsukemono) before with them. I have more than I care to keep. I will bring the left over greens to work. Maybe the guy who owns a Texas Tiny pig or the gal with the chickens can use them.

Look at the albino radish! Not a lick of color on it. I ate him right away. He had a milder flavor than the other ones I chomped.

What’s red and scary and Greek all over?

A rotten pomegranate. Persephone wouldn’t be very pleased to return to my garden.

Two years ago, I researched and hunted down two ‘Wonderful’ pomegranate trees. I’ve gotten a total of one worm-infested fruit off the trees. I’m not the only one with this issue. Maybe I have to let the trees grow a while longer before they produce decent fruit.

Then again, the scorching summer heat and drought this year (along with the relatively frigid winter) did nothing to encouarge the trees to set fruit.

At least my kid enjoyed ripping the gross pomegranate off the tree and carting it around the yard.

Vegetable garden progress

It might be okra, but who knows. It's not like I labeled anything. I like surprises.
This is a baby green bean plant. The package told me that it is a "Contender." I coulda been a contenda!

After spending all day Saturday building a paver-covered patio area, I scarcely had energy left to watch television last night. Today I opted for a more relaxed pace, so I didn’t even get going shopping for supplies until 1:00.

I’m sorry to report that my Black Spanish transplant bit the big one. I watched it depressingly crap out all week long. I finally ripped it up, chucked its remains across the yard, and replaced it with a cabernet sauvignon vine. I know they grow in Texas. But, will it grow in south Austin? I guess we’ll find out this summer. I was half-tempted to get a pinot noir vine, but they reportedly need cool nights to do the best. That’s not a typical feature of an Austin summer night, so I passed on the pinot.

The pavers. Also, you can see the new grape vine by the cedar fence.
Two new beds: L shaped and the horseshoe in back. Haven't planted in the back one yet.

Today in the garden (flowers, grapes developing)

The sad thing is that someone told me what this flower was, and I have already forgotten its name.

I spent the better part of four hours this afternoon with a rented tiller and compacted clay soil. Even though I had thoroughly watered the area to be tilled, it was still tough going. I have to tear through crabgrass and St. Augustine in some parts. It’s great fun when that shit gets wrapped around the blades and kills the engine. Other parts are sunbaked nightmares reminicent of the stage in which your pottery is leatherhard before you put it in the kiln. Bump! Bump! Bump! Engine sputter….

I think the tilling is about 2/3 done. I had to spend a lot of time trying to level out the soil. I should probably mention that the space is about 20′ x 24′. I like to dream big.

Even though this is a bunch of miserable work, it will be worth it once I get a vegetable garden established. Plus, I’ll never have to mow that area again. It’s the view I have from my kitchen. I’m sick of looking at a crapped-out, uneven weedfest. Of course, now I have a giant dirt patch that is partially covered with grass. But, it’s progress!

I'm dubious that I'll get any pomegranates this year. Last year, I got zilch. Why expect any better this year? Those trees hate me.
Grapies! The back row does the best 2 yrs straight. It seems that Black Spanish benefit from partial shade from the afternoon sun. That is, if you want to increase production. I dunno nuthin about quality.

Today in my yard. (spider web, baby grape clusters, pretty weeds and such!)

While working on my grape vines, I decided it would be a good time to practice my flower pictures. Also, I want to document the growth of my grape vines this year. My big project today was to tear out half the weed-choked eyesore that was the strip of grass between the sidewalk and my street. Dianthus and a yellow rose were planted after dead grass removal was completed. I need to get Mexican feather grass tomorrow, then I’ll mulch the completed section.

I suppose I should tackle the other half, but it won’t be tomorrow. Why is stuff so expensive?

Lens flare+spider web+creepy spider. Love it! This is my agarita. I dug about ten up (at someone's request), but only this one survived. They don't take well to transplanting from the ground.
Another view of the spider web.
Baby pad on a bald prickly pear. Looks intimidating, but it's gentle. This is one of my favorite plants.
An army of prickly pears attacked me!
Another weed I thought was pretty.
I just like the leaves in this picture.
I don't normally notice the power lines in back of my house...until I take a picture under them. Power lines: ruining shots for over a century.
My black spanish grape vines. Lots of grape clusters this year. Let's see if I don't have fruit drop or angry birds ruining my crop.