Saturday, April 18, 2009

What will my garden grow?

I have actually learned A LOT of things about gardening in general over the past year, but most importantly, I've learned when to start planning a garden here in South Texas. Right after Christmas!! We waited too long once again this year. It is so hard to think about planting a garden when my mind is stuck in winter mode. That comes from living in Virginia for so long. Since we've lived here in South Texas for the past 6 years, one would think that said person would finally be used to how things work here. 

We have a tiny backyard that really isn't good for much besides being home to our big, crazy lab. This guy is Marley (from Marley and Me) - but he is chocolate colored and 10 times crazier. He steals strawberries from the garden and helps himself to broccoli straight off the plant.  I guess he needs his veggies too.... 

Our backyard project has turned into one that Manly Man and I enjoy together - gardening. The first year in our very first house, we tried to till up the land and plant our garden blind. I'm pretty sure nothing grew that year worthwhile. We've learned a few things along the way and now we have a cute backyard garden that will hopefully supplement our food this summer. Homegrown tomatoes, homegrown tomatoes! We went with raised gardens since our soil here is extremely rocky. Manly Man made the planter boxes to surround our patio last year and added two more bigger boxes around the yard this year. We filled the boxes with organic garden compost mix from our local organic gardening store (Gardenville). 

Miss Allie knows what makes the garden grow!

Here's one of the new planter boxes waiting for the tomatoes, peppers, watermelon and crenshaw melons to be planted. Manly Man made that great little green house/gardening table for me - isn't it fantastic!? I love it. It made planting all those little seeds much easier and the little ones love to stand on the bottom rails to peek at what is growing inside. We don't need to use the cover anymore to protect the little plants from frost. It's been a crazy Spring here though and just a week or so ago we actually had freeze warnings. Way past the usual freeze date. 
Here's our babies! It's so exciting to see a new plant sprout and grow. The girls help by watering them each morning and have transplanted the ones that grew more than one seed. We bought all heirloom seeds from Baker Seed company this year to avoid planting any genetically modified seeds. These are almost ready to transplant into the new garden area. I've saved the older planters around our patio for herbs and hot peppers - the things we use in the kitchen most often while cooking each day. I have basil (two kinds), dill, chives, parsley, mint, orange mint, sage and cilantro. 

One of our new favorite things to do is to make homemade ranch dressing. It's really easy! I mix up a garlic clove with some salt (to make a paste). Add to that some mayo (about 1 cup), some sour cream (I like Daisy brand as it's only ingredient is cream - about 1/2 cup), buttermilk to make the dressing thinner to whatever consistency you like, herbs (dill and chives  - but you could anything you like) and salt. Give it a stir and voila! I store it in an covered glass container in the fridge and use it up within two weeks - but it usually doesn't last that long.  The kids love it as a dip for carrots or celery for a snack. It's great over a slices of tomato and avocado too.  So yummy! Avocados are a plenty here in South Texas and I have grown to love them as do my girls. 

Happy Weekend!


1 comment:

  1. I love that picture of the baby plants! Its really good!