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.
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.
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!
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!
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!)
- 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?