Raised Beds – Spring 2017

A little late in the game, we continued our Spring gardening in the back yard where we have raised vegetable beds. Our favorite local nursery had a limited selection when we visited and while I did find some great plants, I was sad to return home with no jalapeno plants.

My first step was to remove the old dead plants and roots from the garden bed. I used a pitchfork to discover all the old roots from previous seasons, whoops… At least I know the plants are enjoying life and spreading their roots 🙂 Second step was to add new compost and amended garden soil. Mixed the old with the new and evened out the soil for new plantings.

I totally failed and my first round of seed planting this past fall. I don’t think I watered enough or kept a close eye on the growth. Luckily, I spotted these three surviving sprouts:

Carrots

They were in the ground for quite some time…not sure if they were edible, but they smelled great! I still have plenty of seeds and I may try again. Seeing the largest of the carrots above was a great feeling! In fact, I may need to invest in some jalapeno seeds…since I’m having no luck finding transplants.

In this small bed, I still have some Brussel Sprout plants and Cilantro that are in their final weeks. I made some room for my new transplants, Lemongrass and Green Beans.

LemongrassLemongrass_2Green BeansGreen Beans_2

The Lemongrass might get big, so I planted in the back. We recently bought some dried lemongrass for tea and I would like to dry my own or steep it fresh. This is also my first time growing green beans! We planted two of them…I’m not sure how many green beans they will produce or how often, but I enjoy learning which plants work for us so we can continue planting them. Other perennial herbs that continue to flourish in this bed is Oregano and Chocolate Mint. The Parsley is huge, but I think also in it’s last weeks.

In the larger raised bed I planted cauliflower, eggplant, tomato, and herbs. I’m wondering if Cauliflower is a cold/Fall plant. The tag mentioned something about it’s tolerance of cold weather…so just in case, I planted in a spot that gets a little more shade than the rest. Eggplants worked so well for us last year that we bought two varieties: Fairy Tale and Patio Baby. Patio Baby will be little eggplants; I can’t wait to see the cuteness! Last year we grew cherry tomatoes, this year we’re growing regular sized green tomatoes called Green Zebra. Finally, I grabbed two varieties of basil. Don’t you just love the smell of basil?! I also have perennial herbs oregano and thyme growing in this bed and they continue to do well. The chives I planted last year are still growing, but I noticed have no taste! It’s very strange and not worth having, but I don’t have the heart to pull them out. I have another set of chives that taste great and are currently in bloom.

Cauliflower SkywalkerFairy Tale EggplantGreen Zebra TomatoGreen Zebra Tomato_2Patio Baby EggplantSweet BasilSweet Thai Basil

Garlic continues to grow at the foot of the garden bed. They were planted in October of last year and will be ready for harvest this summer. This much garlic will last me a year!

garlic

Raised beds_vert

Blooming Chives

I look forward to sharing with you some harvesting updates!

 

Spring Growth in the Flowerbeds

Last week, we took some time to work in the garden. We’re making it a yearly routine to purchase a delivered mulch drop from our city, as Spring is a great time to prep the beds in preparation of the Summer heat.

To the east side of our house we have two crape myrtle trees that get morning to afternoon sun, then shade. As of last year, we’ve been laying mulch here to help the soil soften up. I cleaned up the edges of the bed, removing weeds, and decided to add Coral Bells here. We still need to add gutters to the house, so I didn’t want to plant too many. I hope they do well here as I hope to add more to this space.

Here I planted three Obsidian Coral Bells. They will grow 18-24″ H x 16-18″ W and bloom through the spring and summer seasons.

coral bell 3

coral bell flower stalk

Next, we re-mulched the front garden bed. I’ve had these plants for a couple of years now and they’re doing well. Still growing, with blooms around the corner. In This bed I have Coreopsis, Gaura lindheimeri, Dianthus (which is already in bloom), Autumn Sage, Verbena, Big Red Sage, Evening Primrose, Santolina, Penstemon, and Yarrow. I recently tucked in some annual salvia splendens to add some early splashes of color. I’ve spotted some red blooms from Autumn Sage and pink buds from Penstemon. Looking forward to sharing their blooms with you as I see more. The Dianthus blooms are so fragrant, that I took some cuttings into the kitchen. Just walking into the space and you can smell the sweet fragrance from just three little blooms. My Verbena was growing out of control and I was dealing with a lot of old wood growth underneath newer wood growth. I’m not sure how to keep it pruned, but decided to take as much of the old dead wood out as I could. She’s a little bare, but I can already see some new green growth and purple blooms.

(click to zoom)

The last gardening task we accomplished was creating a new flowerbed at the corner of our lot. This space needs drought tolerant, sun loving plants. Little right now, but we plan on extending this size of this bed. Digging a new bed that hasn’t been prepped is a major task! I can’t tell you how sore I was when I woke up the next morning! After adding some soil amendments, we planted Mexican Feathergrass and April Night Salvia. The feathergrass will grow 24″H x 18″W and the salvia will grow 12-15″H x 12-18″W.

Salviasalvia bloommexican feathergrass

By the next day we already had some pollinating bees enjoying the salvia blooms. The next plan would be to extend the back of this bed with a raised bed to add some height. I’m thinking Red Yucca would look nice and then border the bed with stones.

This weekend I hope to get our backyard veggie/fruit garden beds replanted. Maybe some more coral bells for the very back where I have another crape myrtle and shady spots. We’ve been composting in a particular spot back there under the crape myrtle and it’s time to move the bin into a new spot and utilize the now fertile ground.

Filling in the Flower Bed

This flower bed has been ready since Spring of 2014 and I’ve been working very slowly to fill it in. Weeds and grass took up the empty space and it caused me lots of extra work last year. This year, I decided to focus on this bed and start filling it in. There are new landscape plans I’m excited to get started on, but don’t want to move on to something new until this one is complete.

Last week we added some great plants!

Curving Flower Bed

The plants that have been growing since last year are Gaura lindheimeri, Autumn Sage, Coreopsis, and Verbena ‘Homestead Purple’.

At the corner of the bed, near the entryway, I planted three Candytuft ‘Lavish’ perennials. They have been blooming for me in shades of purple and white. These little shrub-like plants grow 10-12″ H x 14-16″ W. These will remain evergreen through the winter months.

Candytuft 'Lavish'

The bright sunshine made it a little difficult to photograph the beautiful Dianthus Bath’s Pink. This perennial grows 10″ H x 12-15″ W. The blooms are very fragrant; I will look forward to some cuttings for the kitchen. The grassy foliage has a blue-green color that adds interest and texture to the garden. The only issue I noticed were the stems falling over, but it may need a little more time to establish and take root.

Dianthus Bath's Pink

On the right side of the flower bed, past the Verbena, I added a Big Red Sage. This Texas native has glossy, evergreen foliage and will boast tall spikes of striking red flowers. Grows 24-30″ H x 12-15″ W and is attractive to hummingbirds.

Big Red Salvia

To the right of this sage, I planted Agastache ‘Kudos Mandarin’. This hybrid perennial gets 17-20″ H x 16″ W. It such a beautiful sight to see and is another hummingbird favorite. I find the orange blooms very unique. A great drought tolerant plant for our Texas heat!

Agastache 'Kudos Mandarin'Agastache Bloom

The garden bed wraps around the side and along its path are three Gray Santolina plants. Tiny right now and spread apart far for growth. These little shrub-like silver plants will grow 18-24″ H x 24-36″ W. The curve here leads southwest and gets all day sun and heat. I wonder if they will bloom this year? If so, Summer will bring yellow daisy flowers. I still have room behind the Santolina to add upright perennials.

Gray Santolina _zoomGray Santolina

Finally, at the end of the bed I have a Yarrow ‘Red Velvet’. We only grabbed one as we weren’t sure on the final placement, but there’s plenty of room for more. I think it would look nice to have a cluster of these fine textured perennials with red flat-topped flower heads. This drought tolerant perennial is sure to get plenty of sun here. Yarrow will mature at 24-36″ tall and wide.

Yarrow 'Red Velvet'

A week in and all the plants are looking great! Verbena has been in full bloom and I’ve taken multiple cuttings for the kitchen.

Verbena in BloomVerbena Homestead PurpleVerbena Autumn Sage and Coreopsis