Busy Spring Gardening

More about the garden, I know, but this is prime gardening season! I’ll have some quilting updates soon, promise.

The winter leafy greens have bolted and it was time to remove them from the bed. We headed to our local nursery and picked up some warm seasonal transplants. Once we discovered that we needed some additional room for our selections, we decided to build a new raised bed. Dad was kind enough to pick up some more cinder blocks for me and we created a square bed, diagonal to the larger existing bed.

In the new bed, we added a Chocolate Sprinkles Cherry Tomato plant. Chocolate Sprinkles will grow 5-7 ft. tall and will require a sturdy tomato cage. I started out with this small cage, as this is my first tomato plant to grow. We’ll see how large it gets! We should see some fruit in about 50 days. This hybrid plant offers 1.5″ cherry tomatoes that will be red with striped green. The tomatoes will form in clusters. I hope to get some harvests before the Texas heat sets in, which may slow it’s growth.

Chocolate Sprinkles Cherry TomatoRaised Vegetable Beds

Within this 2×2 ft. bed, we also added Green and Red Sweet Bell Pepper Plants. The Green Bell Pepper plant will grow 2-3 ft. tall by 18-24″ wide. 75 days until maturity and will bear 4.5″ peppers. The Red Bell Pepper Plant has similar growing characteristics, but matures 70-80 days.Love sweet pepper slices in my salad!

Green Bell PepperRed Bell Pepper

We also added some herbs to this bed such as Parsley, Italian Oregano, Spicy Globe Basil, and Chocolate mint. There’s plenty of cinder block holes to add more as we see what we need.

Italian OreganoChocolate Mint

Chocolate Mint Mojitos anyone?

In the larger raised bed we added eggplant, more peppers, and strawberries. We also added a basil plant for pasta sauces. The Louisiana Long Green Eggplant is not your normal purple eggplant, instead it bears 8-9″ long green eggplants, also known as green bananas. This plant will take 75 days to mature and grows 18-24″. If kept healthy, this plant should last us through the year until the first frost.  Now, I’m not a huge fan of the eggplant, but husband is…I’ll give it a try in a few dishes, maybe on the grill! I may grow to like it, especially if I’m growing it.

Louisiana Green Eggplant

I’m super excited about growing jalapenos! I enjoy making homemade salsas or stuffing them with cheese for the grill. The in-laws love them raw with meals! These would make some nice summer time gifts when we stop by to say hello 🙂  We’re growing TAM Jalapeno, bread by Texas A&M. This jalapeno plant will grow 24-36″ tall and bear 3″ mild flavored peppers. 67-73 days until maturity…I’m not sure I can wait that long! This plant should also get us through the year until the first frost.

TAM Jalapeno

Below is the Sweet Hungarian Banana Pepper plant. I’m still a little confused on whether or not the mature state of the red pepper is hot or not, but ideally you want to harvest when yellow and sweet. Reaching 24″ in height, this plant will produce 6″ long banana peppers in around 68 days.

Sweet Pepper Hungarian Banana

Finally, we have two strawberry varieties. The first, Ozark Beauty Strawberry, is an everbearing perennial that grows 8-10″ tall and 18″ wide. The Quinault Strawberry is similar to that of the Ozark Beauty.I’m curious to see which produces the most berries and which is easiest to grow and care for. Strawberry plants produce runners, or daughter plants that will take root into a new plant. It is important to trim these off and only allow up to 2-3 daughter plants to root for the summer. This allows the main plant to preserve energy for fruit production. The blooming flowers on these plants are very important, as it requires pollination to produce berries. Once a bloom is pollinated, it takes about 3o days to harvest a ripe strawberry.

Ozark StrawberryOzark Strawberry FlowerQuinault Strawberries

Stay tuned for updates! I have more to share on the flower beds, which I hope to post very soon.

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