Tag Archives: Plant Varieties

Outsmarting the Heat…Or Not!

Outsmarting the Heat…Or Not!

The weather is warming up considerably in East Texas. We’re to reach temperatures of 85° by weeks end. It’s so pleasant to be out that it’s beginning to be a struggle to keep everyone, including myself, inside to do those indoor tasks that must be done, like school and cooking.

I’m learning to outsmart the heat though. For one thing, I’ve begun to incorporate school with outdoor tasks again. The boys usually walk a mile or two for exercise, this has been changed to garden chores like hoeing and digging. Poor Jonathan is ready to start walking again. He said yesterday he would be happy to go three miles. He’s not getting off though, I want the chives in by Wednesday. Poor boy.

Garden wise I’m doing a few things to beat the heat as well. As most of my regular readers know, I have a love hate relationship with growing lettuce. In Arkansas I never had a problem with bolting. I had more of a problem keeping Ryan from eating it straight out of the garden. When I moved to South Texas, I planted all the things I had grown in Arkansas. It didn’t work. Year after year I had lettuce gone to seed before we could taste it. It was just too hot.

Now that we’re further North, in relatively the same climate as we were in El Dorado, I’m crossing my fingers for some “real” lettuce this year. I had gotten in the habit of growing micro-greens, which, don’t get me wrong, are delicious and quite nutritious, but I want a head of lettuce. We always want what we can’t have, don’t we?

So, under the cucumber trellis in Patrick’s garden I’m growing Tom Thumb lettuce, and they’re coming along beautifully. So far, so good. But I’m also trying some other things I think will satisfy my longing for those beautifully developed, Mr. McGregor type garden plants I’m looking for this year.

I’m trying many of the offerings from a great company called Kitazawa Seed Co. from California. This company has an interesting history and I’m a sucker for interesting history. They also have a large assortment of Non Genetically Modified seed, so that rocks.

I’m growing Pak Choi (called Bok Choi also) for the first time this year. I’ve read that it

Extra Dwarf Pak Choy from Kitazawa Seed Co.

will be tolerant to heat until it’s pretty warm, so I’m thinking to keep it in until about the beginning of June and then switch to tomatoes for the summer. I’m planting about five feet a week to ensure a continuous crop for a few weeks. Again, so far, so good.

I’m also trying Nappa Cabbage for the first time as well using the same five foot method. I’m growing “Blues” which is a hybrid variety, and “Tenderheart” which is an heirloom. Both of these varieties are early maturing which will help me get them in and done before it gets really hot around here. My family adores Nappa

Tender Heart Nappa Cabbage from Kitazawa Seed Co.

Cabbage. We have been using it as a lettuce substitute for the last couple of years. When we have BLT’s they are actually BCT’s. We use it for everything except Taco Salad. Taco Salad insists on having “real” lettuce. What a snob.

I’m growing cilantro now, but will stop probably about the middle of May. It too, loves to bolt, even the “Slo-bolt” varieties I use.

I have a funny-ish story about my cilantro from last year.

At the beginning of December there was a “hard” freeze heading to our area so I decided to pull up the remaining basil and start a “lasagna” bed so it would be ready for spring planting.

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Ark of Taste

Ark of Taste

Have you heard of the Ark of Taste? If not, now you have.

Maintained by the global Slow Food Movement, the Ark of Taste is a catalog of heritage foods that are in danger of extinction. I love that this is food that is being preserved to use as food.

These fruits and vegetables are not being grown at University, in a Botanical Garden by Master Gardeners for scientists. This is food, being grown for food, by people like you and me. To preserve food because it tastes good! I love that.

When I found out about Slow Food I felt like I had reconnected with an old friend.  It was akin to when I was in the third grade and I found out that we needed to save the pandas. I knocked on every door USNB Beeville, TX. Those pandas were not going to save themselves. I raised $112.67, but it was 1977 so that was like 9 million dollars then, right? Now the panda has a fighting chance. Because of me and the Navy Base in Beeville, TX.

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Paisley Plant of the Week: Rich Sweetness Melon

Paisley Plant of the Week: Rich Sweetness Melon

“Why don’t melons get married? Because they can’t elope.”

When we moved to the Flint house, there was already a small garden in place. It was very small, but I really did love it. I loved it so much that I could completely forgive everything I gave up to come here. A soaking tub, gone. Marble counters, cherry over sized cabinets, history. My beautiful, glorious, sink down in neck deep water every single stinkin’ day soaking tub, a memory.

We arrived in East Texas, I immediately love the idea of being so close to my relatives. We’re less than an hour from all of the Parsnips immediate family and most of the extended. We’re close, but not really too close, if you know what I mean.

We live on a peninsula of the lake, there is not really a reason for anyone to “just drop by”. You wouldn’t be “in the neighborhood” unless you were taking the jet ski out, in which case you’re welcome to drop in first.

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Paisley Plant of the Week: Basil

Paisley Plant of the Week: Basil

It is possible you think I have my days mixed up and that I meant this to be a Throwback plant. After all, basil has been around for thousands of years, right? Yes. However…basil is so paisley! I mean to tell you how. I promise, you’ll be wanting to order one or two or six varieties of basil for your gardens by the end of this post! That is a bold statement but I have the basil to back it up.

 

A short history of this very interesting plant…

Basil: Ocimum basilicum

Also known as St. Joseph’s Wort. A member of the family  Lamiaceae which includes mint. Although native to India, it is grown world wide. And used in every culture (that I could find) for cooking. Most people know that it is great in the kitchen. Most people probably don’t know that in some cultures, basil is sacred.

The Greek Orthodox church uses it in the preparation for their Holy Water because it is said to have been found on the spot Constantine and Helen found the Holy Cross. In India, where it was first cultivated, basil is used in the courtroom for people to swear their truths by.

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Stuff You Missed in Botany: Germination

Stuff You Missed in Botany: Germination

One of my favorite Podcasts is Stuff You Missed History Class. I thought it might be enjoyable use this format to talk about stuff in Botany that will help gardeners.

With everyone getting their seed packets out, I think it’s a good time to talk about germination. Learning about seeds can help you increase your germination rates, helping you get more plants to yield each year. We all want that, right?

For the most part, a seed is very much like a chicken egg. They have a shell, or seed coat, an embryo that is a baby plant, and a food source, called cotyledons.

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