Saturday, May 23, 2015

Tons of Rain - Vegetable Garden Update

We are having unprecedented rainfall in North Texas during May 2015.  I don't remember my yard ever being such a soggy mess. It looks horrible.   I spoke to a friend of mine who lives nearby and has an underground weather station.  He tells me that we have had about 19.5" so far for the year.  Compare that with the 2014 annual total of 20" which was a drought year. 
The average annual D-FW rainfall totals is about 37".

The upside to all this rain is that our raised vegetable garden likes it so far (barring no fungal diseases taking hold).
I just noticed this morning that the onions are starting to fall over - that means it is time to harvest them.  I guess I'll get out there tomorrow and pull the fallen ones up.  It will be a problem laying them out to dry though - the air is so moist around here.

This eggplant has produced its first fruit.

Our squash look beautiful this year.  Lots of flowers and fruit.  We keep waiting for the squash bugs to appear but so far they are staying away.  We wonder if the extra wet conditions are helping that problem.

 I see tiny ants (not fire ants) on the blossoms - I assume they are helping with pollination. 

 The zucchini also looks great!  Lots of blooms and blossoms. 

My tomato plants are loaded and our experimental cat's cradle binding system seems to be working well to hold the plants up instead of using cages.

We will have lots of Tommy-toes this year.

The beans are also doing well.  We planted a bush stringless variety.  Note the horrible flooded conditions in my back yard.

The peppers are also doing well.  We planted both bell peppers and jalapeno peppers.

Jalapeno peppers

 Bell peppers

We also put some of the tomato plants in cages.  We're comparing results of which containment system works best.

More squash, carrots and parsnips.  The artichoke plant on top is getting huge.  

Okra in front, cabbage and squash in the back.

We continue to harvest blackberries now - but its not easy because our backyard is so sloshy.  This week our total harvest is 8 quarts.  Here is what we picked today.

This will probably be the last season our Asian persimmon tree lives.  It looks pretty rough.  However, it will still give us persimmons this year.  It truly has been the "Giving Tree."

Lower down on the trunk of the persimmon tree we noticed that mushrooms are growing.  Another sign that the tree is not long for this earth.

 Our fig tree is also loaded with fruit this year.

I'm also giving an update our our mail order chicks.  They are growing fast and getting their feathers now!

We take them outside so they can get fresh air.  Jonie is not pecking them and I hope her good nature continues.  

I have a few daylillies blooming but they don't have as many blooms this year as they have had in past.

Salvia is drought tolerant.

Butterfly weed attracts many pollinators.  It looks very pretty this year.  It is also drought tolerant and reseeds itself each year.

I'll close with another antique rose - Caldwell pink.  I took these photos last week. 

A close up.  Unfortunately roses don't do well in the rain and the blooms are gumming up and getting knocked off quickly.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Mail Order Package Among Other Things - Early May 2015

We had quite a bit of excitement this week - we got some brand new hen chicks in the mail!  They were shipped overnight after hatching the day before.  I ordered them from Meyer Hatchery.

I was able to choose the breeds I wanted and I selected only hens.  No roosters for me - I don't want to disturb the neighbors.  They made it just fine coming through the mail in their box.

Clockwise beginning with the yellow chick 1) Delaware; 2) New Hampshire red; 3) Silver Laced Wyandotte; and 4) Dominique.   All will be good laying hens.

We moved them to a bird cage for now and keep them in the house.  We have a 60 watt light bulb on them to keep them warm.

In honor of Mother's Day, I took of picture of this Mother spider floating in the swimming pool.  She is covered in baby spiders.

 We rescued her and put her in the garden so she and the babies could kill pests.

One night this week we took a picture of the mother cardinal sitting on her nest in a yaupon holly.

She has two eggs.

We continue to check our purple martin gourds and another nest just hatched!

And here we have a new nest.

Our carolina wren chicks continue to grow.  They have quite a few feathers now.

 We decided to check their heartbeat - very fast!

On to some excitement on the front porch.  Look what was waiting for me.  It is good I looked before I sat down!

I believe this is a rat snake.  Probably after all the bird nests in the yard.  After I disturbed him, he slithered around the back of the chair.  I left him alone to leave - I want him to catch mice and rats.

The confederate jasmine is blooming like crazy right now. 

 It smells wonderful.  This vine is evergreen.

I have antique roses  that are still blooming now.  New Dawn (white/pale pink flower) is in the front. 

 Red Cascade (small red flower) is in the front.

I'll close with a picture of the vegetable garden.  It is coming along well despite the bunnies efforts to destroy it - 2015 seems to be a prolific year for them.  Today my hubby is busy weeding.  He put up a second row of twine around the tomatoes.