Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Spring 2015 Vegetable Garden is Planted - Purple Martins - Fire Ants

I'm happy to report that so far we have 10 purple martins that have taken up residence this year (5 pairs).  We have 7 gourds left although I noticed a house sparrow family has also moved in.  Hopefully some more martins will move in.

 The martins constantly trill while hanging out at their gourd tree which overlooks the raised garden beds.  Here is a link so you can listen to their songs.  http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Purple_Martin/sounds

We planted a variety of tomatoes, bell peppers, and jalapeno peppers this past weekend of the spring equinox.  

The cottontail bunnies are taking over the yard.  My little rat terrier can't catch them anymore - he's getting too old.

 A view of the entire garden this year.  The edge of the raised bed in the foreground hasn't been planted yet - we will plant it with bush beans, squash and zucchini seeds.  We'll also plant those seeds in the remaining areas of the center tiered beds.  The peach tree is covered in pink blooms now.

 Uh-oh - look who got caught in the garden!

 Here are the cool season vegetables - spinach, broccoli, swiss chard, and cabbage.  These were planted in early February along with the onions.  They all withstood the freezing the temperatures well - the bunnies however are doing their best to decimate them.

 We put in 4 bunches of onions this year.  They all survived the freezing weather and super wet conditions from all the rain we've had in March.

The artichokes came back after a freezing winter!

 I planted two types of garlic - regular size and elephant.  I got both garlic bulbs in the produce section.  It is a lot cheaper to purchase them there than in the garden section.  I took a chance that the bulbs were not treated to prevent them from sprouting.

The asparagus is starting to come up now. 

 We have a lot of catnip that came up volunteer from last years seeds.  My kitties love this.
 The grape hyacinths are blooming now.

We always have Kildeers visit the yard - they look like they belong on the shore.

We poured a large stock pot of water on an fire ant bed in the raised garden bed.  Even though several gallons of boiling water was poured on the mound, there were enough ants that survived to bring all the dead ants to the surface!

I can't imagine that enough ants actually survived to do all this work?

Here is a close up shot of the dead fire ants.

We planted marigolds throughout the vegetable garden.  I've read that they deter insects - however there is conflicting information on it.  Even if they don't, they add some pretty color to the garden.   

And finally, this year I've noticed huge flocks of grackles moving into my neighborhood.  They always squawk in the trees behind my property.  I usually see large flocks of them in downtown Dallas, not here, in what I consider a more rural area. 

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