Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Today was the second to last day of my short career at a local garden center.  Ron's Organics is a great place to work and I will miss it, however, a full-time job at the library opened up for me and I can't let that opportunity slip by.  Plus, I got a little overexcited about the fall seed order and I'm a little afraid they may call the mental health authorities.

Because I was working two jobs and mostly seven days a week during the busy season, my spring/summer garden suffered.  It did okay, but nothing to brag about.  I was gardening vicariously through the garden center customers and my friend, Brenda Gardner-Newby.  More about her later.  No, I didn't make up that name.  

Today I left the garden center a little early.  This gave me plenty of daylight to get some of the fall garden put in.  I planted broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprout plants.  I started broccoli raab, an heirloom broccoli called Di Cicco, and collard green seeds.  These will be transplanted in about six weeks.

Over the weekend, I put in my garlic.  I also took another shot at artichokes and quinoa.  I had limited success with quinoa a few years ago.  I have managed to keep a relative of artichoke, cardoon, alive for many years.  I figure if I can't grow a thistle, I better get a new obsession hobby.

Tonight, I am going through my seed box and finding everything else I can grow in my garden this winter.  I intend to plant every inch of it.  I want to have enough to share with friends, family and maybe even a local food pantry.

Happy Fall Everyone.

Don't forget to grow your garlic.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Nasty Little @#$%^@#s

You may or may not know, North Texas is in the middle of a West Nile epidemic.  There have been 207 confirmed cases and ten deaths in Dallas County according to NBC Channel 5.  One of the fatalities was a gentleman who lived in my work-hometown.  The City of Dallas is planning an areal spray program.  I hate to think of all the poor innocent bugs that are going to get wiped out when that starts.  I am very concerned about honey bees.  We NEED our honey bees.

The way I handle the mosquito situation at Casa Debbi is mosquito dunks.  The dunks contain Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies israelensis.  Let's just call that BTi, mkay?  BTi is a bacteria that is toxic to mosquito and black fly larvae. You simply place a dunk in standing water, say your rain barrels, and the BTi takes care of the larvae.  So if you live in an area where West Nile virus is a problem or mosquitoes just make you mad, get some mosquito dunks and kill those wiggly little babies.

Read more on this at The Texas Triffid Ranch.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Gardening ADD

I'm pretty sure I have ADD. I've been wandering around outside in my garden and inside my home.  I started out trying to get a raised vegetable bed planted.  Then I needed compost.  In order to get compost, I had to hire help.  Help does not have ADD and the compost is coming along nicely.  Then I was going to make compost tea, but saw a caterpillar.  Of course I had to find my camera and post a picture of the caterpillar on Facebook.  Suddenly, I couldn't remember the task at hand.  Compost employee, a.k.a. Middle Monkey, gently reminds me I am supposed to be making compost tea.  He might have used the words scatter brains.  I make the compost tea and decide a friend really needs some rabbit poo.  Compost employee bags up the poo.  I take the poo inside, remember my glass of water and put the poo down.  Spend the next 10 minutes hunting for a bag of poo.  Decide that I need to spray some weeds (don't worry all I use is vinegar and orange oil) and make up spray.  Go spray 1/4 of the weeds, get bored and come back inside.  Waste 15 minutes on the Internet.  At that point, I actually weeded the raised bed.  It was a miracle. No, the raised bed is not planted yet.  I'm blaming the compost employee.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Happy Spring.

I'm out this morning doing a having a little pruning and planting therapy.  I am stunned at the things that didn't die last summer.  My viburnum, mock orange and Maggie rose have all returned from the dead.  The only thing I know for sure that didn't make it was a very large prostrate rosemary.  I will miss it so.

This year I'm going to try a small watermelon called Minnesota Midget.  Four seeds in containers and five in the ground.  I hope it works because we need short tomato vines for our small garden.  We don't want another repeat of "The Attack of the Giant Pumpkin Vine."

Hope all your gardens are growing well.

Happy Spring.

and here is a present for Our Friend Ben.  

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Indoor Garlic

Last year, I did not grow enough garlic.  It is almost impossible to grow enough garlic.  This year I think I did better and will certainly let them stay in the ground longer to develop better cloves.  Anyhow, I did grow garlic indoors last year.  Very simple.  All you need is a nice, small container, three or so garlic cloves, good potting soil and a bright spot to put it, like the kitchen window.  Pot ups the garlic cloves pointy end up, water the potting soil and wait.  You will be amazed how fast this stuff grows.  To use it, just clip what you need off the green tops.  Don't forget to use it, it gets leggy fast.  The taste is actually a little more intense than garlic cloves.  Enjoy. 

BTW garlic from the grocery store is just fine.  That is what I used in the picture above.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Smaller Pants

I haven't lost any measurable weight in the last month.  The last date I measured weight loss was New Years Day.  I did, however, lose a pant size.  Back on April 1st 2010, I was a size sixteen.  Today, I am in a size ten.  My goal size is an eight.  Pretty happy about this. 

To jump start a little more weight loss, I made cabbage soup today. 

2 cups shredded cabbage
1 celery stalk
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1/2 teaspoon Better Than Bouillon Chicken
3 cups water
Olive oil
Cider vinegar
Hot sauce (think Tabasco) but mine is homemade
Sesame seed oil
Olive oil
Saute the vegetables in olive oil until soft.  Add the Better than Bouillon and water.  The other ingredients are to taste so have at it. 

Mine is so good it is making my nose run.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

So Help Me, I'll Turn off the Comments if Y'all Act Ugly

There has been a lot of anger in the garden blogging community about a certain nonprofit and a certain corporation hooking up.  I don't have ties to either organization and am not here to comment on them.  I am going to voice my opinion  about pesticides, herbicides and fertilizer.

I am an organic gardener.  I have been since I was 12 years old and my dad made me sick putting a synthetic pesticide on my first little vegetable garden.  I have used organic pesticides off and on and now only use soap and diatomaceous earth and only when I absolutely have to.  I have found that it is smarter to plant when the bugs are not active.  Tomatoes in the spring/early summer before the red spider mites show up and squash and beans in late summer/early fall after the squash bugs have moved on.  Your results may vary.  This way I hope not even to need soap next year.  The DE is used as needed against fire ants.  Fire ants are from the devil. I don't know of one single pesticide organic or synthetic that only kill one kind of bug.  If it can kill your cabbage looper it can kill your butterfly caterpillars.  I want my butterflies to live here, make babies here and let those babies eat my passion vine.  I also want bees to come and visit my flowers.  I want lady bugs to eat the aphids.  I want to want praying mantis, but they sort of scare me.  Look up and one of them is staring at me like I might be good for lunch.  Shudder.

The only herbicides I use are my own two hands and mulch.

Fertilizers I love me some fertilizer.  I use blood meal, bone meal, bat guano and liquid fish.  These are great products that don't reek of ammonia.  Well, the bat guano reeks of ammonia.  And here is where I take a stand, ANY of these things can pollute if they are used incorrectly.  Algae in our lakes doesn't care if that nitrogen is organic or not.  Nitrogen is nitrogen is nitrogen.  I take extreme care in making sure I use my products properly and keep it out of the water.  Never never never intentional fertilize before a rain event.  Don't dump anything down the drain.  Never over fertilize.  Make sure I water it in well when I do.

Finally, compost compost compost.  Make it, turn it , use it.  Good for the garden and the landfill.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Winter Herbs for North Texas

We have rain yipeee.  Making spaghetti for dinner tonight and needed herbs regardless of the rain.  Yes, I was the crazy person cutting herbs in the rain. 

The herbs I was able to harvest fresh for the sauce were Mexican mint marigold and oregano.  I grow both regular oregano and golden oregano.  The golden is just for looks.  Mexican mint marigold tastes a lot like tarragon.  I've actually seen it labeled Texas tarragon in some garden centers.  I have basil that I put up back in late summer and garlic I put up last spring.  These are the four must have herbs for our sauce.  I also use the leaves of garlic that is growing in the garden during the winter, once I run out of whatever garlic I put up in the spring.  This doesn't appear to effect the garlic cloves at all.  I will also grow some garlic on my windowsill here for the next few months until the garlic in the garden is ready to pull. 

I'm grateful that we are able to grow some of our food at this time of year because of our mild winters.  When it is freezing cold in February, I wil most likely not be so enthusiastic.

Short list of herbs that grow well in the winter in north Texas
Mexican mint marigold

Can you grow herbs at this time of year?  If so, what kind?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Monkey Talk

Conversation with previously sick monkey. "I thought you were sick, why are your eating a taco?" "I was sick, I'm not now. I'm going to eat this taco." Me "Okay, you are ready to go to school tomorrow." Him, "No, I'm sick" Me "so you are not going to eat that taco?" Him, "No so I get to stay home. " Me, "I'm going to eat the last taco". Him, "No you aren't. I guess I'm going to school."

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Storing Endive

I saw a Pinterest pin that showed how to make salad ahead in a mason jar.  The information said that as long as the dressing didn't touch the lettuce it would stay good for several days.  I have endive growing like crazy this year.  I picked a little more than we needed for our salad about ten days ago, cut up the excess and put it in a mason jar.  I expected to use it in just a couple of days.   Well, the usual happened.  The monkeys shoved it behind a gallon of milk and a bottle of BBQ sauce and I forgot about it.  This afternoon, I discovered it.  It was surprisingly still pretty fresh, at least the top half.  So I am cutting up another couple of heads, putting one jar in our fridge and one jar in the fridge at work.  This time, I promise not to forget about it.

Monday, January 9, 2012


It has been raining since about midnight last night.  There is standing water in the yard and garden.  It is the most beautiful sight.  We have had such a dry year.  Everyone is on water restrictions.  Some worse than others because of  zebra muscles in Lake Texoma. 

The animals are not nearly as excited about the rain as their mama.  The manx are giving me dirty looks.  It seems that they think I caused the rain.  (wish I had that super power).  Abby stood by the backdoor to be let out, took a few steps into the yard and got a "forget this" look on her face and came back in. 

Here is hoping this helps fill up our lakes.