Monday, September 10, 2012

Texas fall gardening & things I've learned

Dear friends,

As I wander through the garden, taking photos of the container garden, some strange plants and my greenhouse teardown, I can't help remembering how it all looked last year at this time.  We had only had the house for a few weeks before I built my first raised bed garden.  That seems to always be the first thing I do, even before all the clothing and such are unpacked.  Here's a photo from our first raised bed, taken last July.

Since then, I've built four more beds using cedar fence pickets and my "So Easy it's Stupid" garden bed design.  Over the last year, I've learned a huge amount about our blackland prairie soil, including--it is magic dirt, but don't step in it when it's wet.

I've learned that the phrase *eight hours of full sunlight* shouldn't be in any Texas gardener's vocabulary.  I've never seen plants grow so well as under the shade of these ancient pecan trees.

And speaking of pecans!  We're keeping our fingers crossed for a good harvest this year.  It's lookin' good so far. (Basil the Squirrel is keeping a close eye on the situation.  BTW, he says howdy!)

I've also learned that veggies love galvanized metal containers.

Squash, basil and scallions grow well in this raised tub garden
Bell peppers, pimento peppers, eggplants grow well in the shade of the pecan tree
I've also learned the identification of some Texas natives that popped up in the yard (such as peppervine), but that new things keep coming up in this drought.  Here's a still-unidentified plant.  It was there last year, but never bloomed.  It doesn't seem to be invasive, but maybe that's because it never bloomed.  LOL.  It's much happier this year.

Another thing I learned---when building garden structures, the slope of the roof is probably the most important thing.  Apparently the builders of my beloved greenhouse shed weren't too careful with that rule.  When we bought the house, we noticed a bit of mold inside the greenhouse, but assumed it was from lack of ventilation.

After the greenhouse roof collapsed, though, we knew there was a larger problem.  Up until now, I've alway said that the phrase "It's a teardown" was NOT in my vocabulary.  Well, ahem, it seems that it is.

The whole front wall of the greenhouse is rotten, filled with horrible skulking creatures (including albino roaches),  termites AND nasty black mold.  NOT good for somebody like me who has severe mold allergies.

The plan is to replace is with an open top trellis.  The concrete floor will become a patio of sorts.  I like that idea, but didn't like the idea of tearing down the whole structure.  Luckily, the original pine shiplap siding was underneath the OSB that covered the interior walls (outside wall of garage).  Not so luckily, it was covered with old vinyl siding and foam sheets.

Original siding underneath vinyl

After the roof is removed

Wood rot

It just gets worse

I'm still not sure where I'll put all my potted plants over the winter.  The reason why my peppers are so large is that I was able to over-winter them in the greenhouse.  

I also learned that there's yet another type of antique pine siding underneath the vinyl on the cottage---it's the wider type.  You can see the old vinyl (the narrower stuff).  Under that is a layer of foam they used as a nailing surface, then under that's the original wood.  And it's in great shape--as far as we can see.

Then again, who knows?  I sure don't want any more surprises.

Happy trails from a slightly cooler Texas!

bobbi c.

1 comment:

James said...

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