Close up of green sprouts in dark mulch (with logo overlay)

Garden Update: April 2019

We have some sprouts coming through in the garden! A couple of weeks ago, Justin and Tyler went outside and did a bunch of yardwork, including planting the seeds. We also bought a few ferns to replace the sweet potato vines that were growing on the front porch, so they potted those as well.

Justin and Tyler planting the lettuce seeds
Ryan wanted nothing to do with planting the garden. This is how he spent the time!

Then, a few days ago, Justin and I were both working in the office at home while both boys were at school, when the house suddenly shook! If you’ve ever felt a sonic boom from a shuttle entering or leaving orbit or from a jet plane flying by, it was like that. We were looking around the house, checking that there weren’t any calls into the fire department at the school, and checked NASA’s site (we are in Houston, after all) and couldn’t find anything.

Well, come to find out that a chemical plant had an explosion and was on fire. A plant that’s about 20 miles away from us! I can’t even imagine what the concussive force was like in the homes closer to the area. I heard someone call into the news station who lives less than a mile away and said it shook the ground so much it knocked her toddler over.


Anyway, all that to say we were a bit worried about our garden. Earlier last month, there was a huge fire that went on for days at the ITC facility on the south side of Houston and they were warning anyone within a certain area not to eat anything they may have growing in their yards because of the contaminants.

Luckily for us, they were able to get the fire under control and out later that day. Also, the little wind that there was, blew anything south and we are NW from the plant.

So, besides that event, things have been going ok in the garden. Of course, this week the weather turned cold yet again. I am so tired of it. The high was in the 60s a few times this week. In April. It’s just not normal and I don’t like it. By April, we should be well into the 70s, maybe even hitting the 80s. With the temperature drop, I think it stunted the growth of a few things out there, but we didn’t get a frost so it shouldn’t kill anything off, I hope.

Herb Garden

Last week I figured out that I have been overwatering some of the herbs, and not watering others enough. It’s such a tricky balance sometimes. I didn’t notice at first that the oregano was saturated, so I think I ended up killing it off a bit.

The cilantro is starting to sprout from seeds I planted a couple of weeks ago while Justin and Tyler were outside doing the yard work.

We also planted some tomato seeds inside (using an old egg carton). I thought I was watering them enough, but then the few that sprouted were starting to wilt. I upped the amount of water and they perked up again.

Fruit & Vegetable Garden

As I mentioned, we planted a lot of seeds this past month, and also moved some of the mint back into the yard. I still have some potted inside, but now we will have it growing in both places.

Next to the mint, the guys planted some okra from seeds pods that we kept after growing it last year. They also planted some green onions and bell peppers, although there’s no sign of either of them yet. I did see something, but I am not sure yet if it’s a weed or something we planted!

The blackberry bush is starting to fill out a bit again. A couple days ago, Justin was out there and it was swarming with wasps. I am irrationally terrified of wasps so didn’t want to get close to take photos. But, since it’s way too cold for April, they weren’t active at the moment. I do notice, though, that there are a few buds that look promising to have fruit soon.

I know I’ve been saying it for months, but the orange tree is still there. But, it’s grown a lot in the last few months! At least, it’s getting taller. I don’t know if it’s growing the way it needs to for fruit to grow, but for now, it’s staying there.

In the garden bed next to the orange tree the guys planted a lot of lettuce, spinach, and arugula. Those are all starting to sprout which is exciting because we eat a lot of lettuce in this house.

In the corner, there are some strawberry plants trying to come through! We had a hard time with strawberries, so weren’t planning to grow them this year, but they had other ideas!

The banana trees are very slowly starting to have new leaves grow. They really don’t do well in the cooler weather, so are usually the slowest to grow again in the spring. Although, saying that, there is a new pup there with the banana trees!

Back Yard & Front Yard Plants

We have so many Asiatic Lilies growing in the back yard right now! They haven’t flowered yet, but some are getting very close. I couldn’t believe how many are coming through in some of the sections. When we moved them from the front to back yard a year or two ago, I wasn’t sure if any would survive.

The ginger plants are growing well since we haven’t had any frost in a while. They don’t produce anything, but I love the amount of greenery they add to the yard.

The Canna Lilies are growing again as well. Although, it’s not a surprise because they tend to just multiply every year!

Finally, in the backyard, the aloe plants continue to grow. We have some inside and some outside. We don’t use the aloe plant often for the aloe, but I like having the option if we need it.

The rose bushes are starting to bloom, so the guys cut a few of the roses off to bring inside and place in the center of our table.

I think one of the major contributors to our garden is the bottle-brush trees in the backyard. They are in full bloom right now and attracting a lot of pollinators to the yard. Unfortunately, this does include wasps, but they are wonderful for the bees!

We aren’t sure what happened to this tree. When we were on vacation last summer it wasn’t doing well, and half of the tree still doesn’t grow properly.

In the front yard, we haven’t done a lot except planting the new ferns. Tyler and Justin pulled the sweet potato vines out from the hanging planters on the front porch. We were surprised to actually have real sweet potatoes in there! I know they are called sweet potato vines, but I didn’t realize they actually produce potatoes!

Can anyone see why I took these photos from the front door? Look in the top-right corner and you’ll see one of my biggest fears hanging out there.

What’s New in the Garden?

We have a lot of new plants growing in the garden right now! We planted most of the seeds we have, and are excited that a lot of them are sprouting.

The compost is coming along well (look out for a future post all about it) and I’m hoping we can work it into the garden soon. We have one bed that doesn’t seem to have anything grow, so we want to try adding the good compost to it and see if that makes a difference.

Current Favorite Garden Products

Garden To-Do List

  • Continue watering often until everything sprouts
  • Clean out the dead leaves in the plants now that there won’t be any more frost
  • Move the tomato sprouts to the garden
  • Track down and get rid of wasp nests near the house (Justin’s job, not mine!)

Your Turn

  • Do you have a backyard garden?
  • Have you tried to grow your own food before?
  • What keeps you from a garden? Is it space? Time? Knowledge?
  • If you could grow any one fruit, vegetable, or herb regardless of your location, what would you grow?

26 thoughts on “Garden Update: April 2019”

    1. I know, it’s scary sometimes to think how much pollution is in everything we eat. This event just made it more apparent to me since it was an obvious smoke plume so close to home.

  1. I love gardening as well but it has been quite sometime since I got back to it. I plant mostly succulents as they are native to where I live and do not require as much water. Your post is truly wonderful! Thanks for sharing!

    1. We have a few succulents around the house too. I have a few huge aloe plants inside and I love that I only have to water them about once per month!

  2. Neely Moldovan

    We planted all our veggies and herbs over the weekend and I can’t wait for summer salads! GImme!

  3. Jennifer Brock

    We have planted veggies before. My husband has the green thumb…. def not me. I wish west texas weather wasn’t so harsh so we could have a backyard garden!!!! I love the idea of growing oiur own veggies again!

    1. You should give it a go again. We are in Houston, so east Texas and have just had to learn when to plant certain things to take advantage of the weather at the time. For example, our lettuce will all be gone by the end of May because of the heat, so we plant it early.

  4. Awe your garden is coming along quite nicely! My goal this spring is to grow cherry tomatoes, they are so good!

    1. Good luck with the tomatoes! We’ve never had much luck with them, though since we started them inside this year I am optimistic that they may grow better this time.

    1. Yay! I didn’t look too closely at our rose bushes, but my husband said ours are also full of buds and we will have many roses very soon, too.

  5. What a growth transformation! Glad there weren’t any negative affects from the smoke nearby. I am anxiously awaiting planting season (and so are my kiddos!). We aren’t quite out of the woods for cold snaps in Minnesota, so I’ll have to wait a bit longer. For now we are watching things grow inside until we can move them out. 🙂

    1. Yeah, it was a little scary having that so close, but luckily they were able to contain it quickly. I hope it warms up enough for you soon. But, at least you got a start by growing a few things inside!

    1. I think herbs are a great place to start. You don’t need a lot of room and they can be hardier than fruits and vegetables.

    1. That’s awesome! We didn’t start ours early enough to have any ready just yet, but one of the bins is getting close to being able to use it in the garden.

  6. I enjoy gardening! I grow my own herbs at home as it requires low maintenance and spreads fresh fragrance. I am looking forward to reading more of your garden updates…

  7. I saw the chemical explosion on the news. How scary! Your garden looks amazing. I’m looking forward to watching it progress.

    1. It was pretty crazy! I had the live news on in the background all afternoon making sure my kid’s school and our area didn’t have to shelter-in-place. I’m glad it didn’t come our way for many reasons, including the garden.

  8. I would love to have garden in back yard but sadly we do have space :-)…,we have garden in my parents place, there we have some spices like basil, cilantro and Indian curry leaves and many flower plants growing, it so nice to see our own plants growing, nothing like…the feeling of fresh air from these plants and also the green cover around your house its amazing. Thanks for the post…! 🙂

    1. This house is the first time we’ve had space in the backyard for a good garden. We do still have a few herbs growing inside, though, and those don’t take up much space.

  9. Ooooo just love the garden!!!!! I really should start one of my own! It would make for a great project for my daughter and I

    1. My boys love to help in the garden. Well, my oldest is almost always willing, as you can see my youngest isn’t always interested in it! A garden teaches them so many things in a practical way.

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