Tag: garden (Page 4 of 6)

Swiss Chard Abundance

I may have planted too much Swiss chard. I’ve been harvesting it weekly.

Here’s today’s crop:

Swiss chard harvest





It may not look like a lot, but I seem to be the only one eating it.  I steam it and season with balsamic vinegar.  I sauté onions & mushrooms (& sometimes other veggies) and add the chard at the end, just until it wilts a bit.  I can eat that alone, or mix it with rice or quinoa or some other grain.  And then I am also freezing it and adding to my smoothies.  It’s definitely a different taste in the smoothies, but one you get used to quickly and not objectionable.

swiss chard stems

Just this week I saw a suggestion on a Facebook North Texas Vegetable Growing group to chop the stems, put in a jar, add white vinegar, and let it sit in the fridge for a few days.  Then remove the stems, add peppercorns, garlic, herbs, and use as a seasoning.

I’ll let you know how it turns out!


Spring, Flowers, and Butterflies

It’s days like today that reminds me why I love living in the South.  While back home in NY they are having a (last?) blast of arctic cold and snow, we are enjoying low 80s and sunshine here in north Texas.  I spent most of yesterday morning mowing and weedeating the backyard.  I’m going to be planting tomatoes later this week, once I get some more container soil and the tomato plants.  But I already have several areas where things are growing!

I bought pansies, petunias, and snapdragons the beginning of February and they are looking lovely.

Please ignore the sticker on the container!

Please ignore the sticker on the container!


The dianthus I bought on discount last year has really taken off!


I dug this crepe myrtle out of the front flower bed last year, not knowing what it was.  Once I identified it, I stuck it in a container until I can figure out where I’d like to plant it.  It seems to be growing well.

crepe myrtle

The lilies I planted last spring are looking good.  I anticipate blooms in a few short weeks.  I bought 30 gladiolus bulbs today and I’m going to plant them in between these, so when the lilies fade, there will be glads to pick!

lily bed

Last year’s attempt at strawberries was a dismal failure, but the raised bed has made a great greens garden for the past few months.  Almost every morning I go out and pick some Swiss chard, or spinach, or lettuce leaves for lunch.  I’m hoping the bed gets enough shade that it will continue to produce even in the summer, but likely not.

raised bed of greens

Several of the other plants I bought last summer on discount have wintered well and now I have to create some flower beds for them.  I’ve got a lantana, which is going where the rose bush used to be in the front bed, a prairie mallow, a geranium, a salvia, a daylily, and four chrysanthemums.  Oh, and a duranta (?), which I looked up after I brought it home and discovered it is a bush, not a flowering plant.  It’s very small now, but it appears like it could grow rather large, so I have no clue what I’m going to do with it.

That’s the start of my gardens this year.  I have one front flower bed to amend/build up and one back fenceline flower bed to create!  Plus what I plan to put into containers – tomatoes, green beans, peppers, and a new type of squash I learned about last week tatume – and a trellis of morning glories, seeds I brought back from my mom’s plants last fall.  I think I will be busy.

P.S. Did you wonder where the butterflies are that were mentioned in the blog post title?  I decided to leave them for another day.  Keep watch!

Garden Wildlife

I am not certain that I have enough bird netting on my tiered-planters.

I found this Tuesday evening:

Suddenly grasshoppers are everywhere!

And I do not know what this is that was in my tomatoes yesterday morning. I could not get a very good angle for a better picture and I really was not sure I wanted to disturb it!

I haven’t seen any more caterpillars in the past couple of days, but I picked several black fuzzy and cream colored fuzzy caterpillars out of my beans and peppers this past week. Last week several tobacco hornworm caterpillars practically decimated my bell peppers.

See the damage that five of those caterpillars did in one 24 hour period?

Luckily I had picked all the ripe peppers the day before. And I am pleased to be able to report that the pepper plants are already putting out new leaves and new blossoms!

Now if I can just get control of the powdery mildew on all my squash plants! I am using a mixture of 1 part milk, 9 parts water, with a little baking soda thrown in for good measure. I don’t know if it is working yet, but my whole garden area now smells reminiscently of our milk house back on the farm in New York, and that is not necessarily a good thing!

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