Here is a listing of Garden Blog postings in 2019 … in case you are interested.
12-17 Lettuce has finally arrived! … See pics from seedlings to harvest
10-26 Let us Plant some Lettuce
10-26 California Wonder Peppers - Doing Better come Fall
10-20 Double Hibiscus - The Imelda effect
08-19 Balloon Flowers & Planting Seeds Indoors for Fall
08-10 White Wedding Zinnias
07-27 Sun Caladiums & Mexican Petunias
07-12 Balloon Flowers, African Daisies, Bachelor Buttons & Double Hibiscus!
06-14 1,425 Tomatoes … done picking spring planting
06-02 Tomato Hornworm found
05-24 Tomatoes starting to ripen
04-25 Great Lettuce giveaway continues … to make room for Tomatoes
03-25 We have Tomatoes … ok just little ones
03-20 The Daylilies are coming
03-18 Tomatoes & Peppers are finally in
02-23 My Garden in 90 seconds
01-13 Let us plant more Lettuce
We've been enjoying lettuce from the garden for over two weeks now. It has gotten big enough that it's time to start giving some to friends at church, office co-workers and neighbors. It's interesting that the Royal Oak Leaf only lasts about 3 days in the refrigerator … but boy does it taste great … less filling too!
Pics are in reverse order … newest to oldest … so you can see the lettuce as it grows … at least that's the idea.
On 08-30-19 I planted some Simpson Elite, Royal Oakleaf, Four Seasons, Salad Bowl, Muri MTO & Green Frills lettuce seeds indoors under grow lights. On 10-12-19, I transplanted the seedlings into the garden. In the past, I was reluctant to separate the individual seedlings when I transplanted the seeds into the garden. After about 3 weeks, I would separate the young plants which would expand by 3 to 4 times, the area with lettuce plants.
This year, I separated the seedlings (3 or more per cell) when I transplanted the 24 lettuce cells into the garden. I took care after planting the seedlings to make sure they were watered every morning for the first week or so. Looks like the new strategy worked … only lost 3 or 4 seedlings so far and you can see from the pics below. The four individual pics are very small lettuce plants. We have another 6 weeks or so before the lettuce will be large enough to be picked for salads. So we're looking at the first week of Dec to start picking. The beauty of lettuce is they can be picked over an 8 week period. The unpicked plants just get bigger … their leaves still taste great … whenever they are picked!
This hasn't been a particularly good year for my Bell Peppers. I planted California Wonder Bell Peppers in March 2019. In late February 2018, I planted Yolo Wonder Bell Peppers which did quite well last year. As you can see from the pics below, the California Wonder have done better in recent weeks as temps have dropped with the onset of fall. I did remove the 30% shade on 10-13-19 since daytime temps no longer exceed 90 degrees.
Tropical Storm Imelda dumped 4.56 inches over a four hour period at the rain gage on Buffalo Bayou. You can see the impact on the Double Hibiscus pot which is planted in a 18 inch wide & 14 inch tall ceramic pot. The pot was placed on top of an elevated bed which is 5 inches tall. One would have thought that water would drain through the bottom of the pot and into the elevated bed. However, this time the bottom of the pot apparently sat in soil so moist from the heavy rain that it formed a vacuum that prevented the water from draining out the bottom. You can see the water sitting in the top of the pot with mushrooms forming on Sep 19th.
On Sep 21st, I noticed the double hibiscus leaves were starting to turn yellow and realized the pot was waterlogged. I lifted the 50 lb. plus pot out of the bed and placed it on the sidewalk. Yellow water came out the bottom as you can see from the pics. In order to prevent this from happening again, I dug out the soil where the pot sat and put in Colorado River Rocks on Sep 26th before setting the pot back in the bed. I am happy to report that the double hibiscus recovered and produced multiple blooms on Sep 30th. Whew … a close call!
The Balloon Flowers are starting to bloom again! And it's time to start sowing seeds indoors for the fall. I started with Bachelor Button seeds from dead blooms out front. Not all seeds germinate so I put multiple seeds in each of the 40 cells. I also planted 24 Sun King Hybrid Broccoli seeds. Lettuce to follow in a week or two. Bees absolutely love the Purple Heart Jew! Caught one in the photo below. The Gerbera Daisies are hanging in there … but daily watering is a must in the 95 to 99 degree August heat!
I've been buying White Wedding Zinnia seeds from Burpee for a number of years now. I planted 60 seeds on April 19th indoors under grow lights. I should have transplanted the young seedlings into the garden by May 31st. I didn't do so until July 5th … as I was just a bit preoccupied picking tomatoes & cucumbers as well as caring for my daylilies. They looked awful when I planted them … very spindly … with the bottom two layers of leaves all shriveled up. But with some tender loving care (adding a mixture of cow manure & organic mulch to the soil before planting) and daily watering with several feedings of Miracle Grow, they're looking pretty good today … should have a thick blanket of white blooms in the next 7 to 10 days. The Zinnias are surrounded by a border of Bachelor Buttons whose little purple blooms will begin to show up soon. see pics below.
Oh … and as long as you keep them well watered, the Gerbera Daisies continue to bloom in the 95 degree plus heat. I cut back the Purple Heart Jew … as you can see … it just came back stronger & thicker! In the morning, the bees are all over their tiny pink flowers.
In the bed outside my kitchen window, I have Balloon Flowers with African Daisies along a fence facing east. Balloon Flowers die back each winter only to reappear in the spring. They take heat very well. If they die back, please don't assume they have died. The African Daisies were overwhelming the Balloon Flowers so I dug the Balloon Flowers up in early June and divided them so they are more spread out over the rest of the bed. One transplant continued to bloom … then mysteriously died back … only to show new growth coming from its roots a few weeks later. I also pinched off the dead flowers and planted them in open spots. It will be interesting to see if I see new sprouts later this summer. Love the contract between the blue Balloon Flowers and the yellow African Daisies (Euryops). Don't you? Click on slide show below.
And those Bachelor Buttons I planted from seeds last fall are still blooming the following summer. They just love the heat! A God send in Houston. See pics below.
Lastly, my "Special Garden" friend before she passed away … gave me her prize double red Hibiscus. I've been nursing it back to health … repotted it into a larger container … fed it with Miracle Grow … the first blooms fell off when they first opened … but now it is rounding into form … see pics below