For the love of garlic

There are many benefits of cooking with garlic and we use a lot of it it is a very healthy thing to have in your diet.

Elephant garlic is our favorite type to grow. It makes this beautiful flower then when it dies it is time to pick the garlic. When you dig it up you will find the bulbs of cloves and seeds for the next year.

I truly love photographing these blooms, especially in macro.

Garlic

Heirloom Tomatoes

We love gardening and trying new things but we only stick to Heirloom varieties for vegetables.

These yellow/orange tomatoes are called Persimmon and they are a meaty tomato. The taste is wonderful and it will wake up your taste buds.

The big ones average about 1.25#s each. They are huge.

We have them in the greenhouse in dutch buckets using gravel no dirt, the no-till garden and in pots.  We were experimenting to see what works out best and produces the biggest and most fruit.

The largest tomatoes were grown in the no-till garden. The temperatures have gotten so hot we have added 40% shade cloth over the outside vegetables.

Our greenhouse is getting up to 97 degrees and the plants are paying for it. Even with fans, shade cloth at 40% the sides rolled up and the front and back doors opened we can not seem to get the temperatures down below 90 degrees. The auto drip system for watering is set for 5 x a day.

The joys of gardening are figuring out what works best and enjoying what you have grown.

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Calibrachoa hanging baskets

A few years ago I found a hanging basket of flowers at Lowes called Calibrachoa and I fell in love with them.

They are also known as silver bells and as many articles on the internet say they are like a tiny petunia on steroids. I prefer two colors mixed and the colors really do not matter.

This year I have seen them at several places but the average price is about $12.00 for a gallon pot of them.

They need full sun and water every 3-4 days they will bloom their hearts out for you

I had found the wire baskets and coco liners at Walmart for $10.87 and that was just what the Calibrachoa needed to really stand out.

I have 3 baskets full of these little beauties two of the yellow and red and one of the purple and yellow placed near our pond on the post.

Nature can always put a smile on your face surround yourself with the great outdoors and plenty of things that bloom.

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DIY – Succulent table

Recently I was on an auction site that had the baby change table tops that go on top of a chest of drawers.

I started bidding and believe it or not these things are $150.00 – $200.00 each. I ended up winning 4 of them for a grand total of $22.00 for all of them.

After staring at them a few days I came up with the idea to use to some table legs I already had and make a succulent table.

I had my husband put the legs on the table and reinforce it then I mixed up some grey chalk paint and painted it all. We then lined the inside with some of the leftover greenhouse plastic.

It was starting to look pretty good. I went to Lowes to check out the clearance rack and low and behold there was a large pot of succulents piled in this container that would be $12.00. Well, that was a bargain because small succulents are generally $3.00 each this was about $75.00 worth of stuff.

We added some soil and I planted it and I love the way it turned out. It sits on our back porch and really seems to like the area.

As far as the other 3 changing table tops I gave one to my sister, and we are making the grandkids a lego table with the biggest one it is a foot longer than the others. That leaves me one to do something with and I am thinking it might make a good potting table.

Use your imagination to figure out how to repurpose something into something new you never know what you might come up with.

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Tiny little details

When using a macro lens you have to have steady hands or use a tripod.

I tend to try to take the pictures by hand and lately have had a little less success with this. It might be time for me to drag out the tripod or monopod.

This shot shows off the tiny details of a knockout rose bloom. These roses start blooming in early March and bloom their hearts out all year long. They require very little maintenance and I truly love them.

Closeuprose

Hydroponic Gardening

I have planted the first seeds in the rockwool that are for the inside plants.

This time of year it is so hot for lettuce, spinach, cabbage and swiss chard but if you grow them indoors hydroponically it is a win win situation. Those are the seeds I just planted.

I have ordered many supplies for the big greenhouse outside we are waiting for the plastic to arrive. The kind I ordered is 10 mil. woven clear plastic it has a longer life span than the regular clear in fact I think it is 7 years compared to 4.

We are also doing shade cloth since Texas is so hot it will allow for better ventilation. The shade cloth will go first then the woven plastic and we can raise the plastic up and open the screen doors to ventilate the greenhouse.

We will be doing several types of hydroponics the dutch buckets and the Kratky method are two and we may even do a third.

I have to get a load of sand delivered and then the pond liner that is 22 mil. will go over that because this hydroponic set up is a sterile environment there will be no dirt inside of this greenhouse. Only water, buckets, container, plants grown from seeds, and nutrients.

I will post pictures as things start happening hopefully in the next few weeks.

The colors of Crepe Myrtles

Here are some of our crepe myrtles.

We only have one purple one and one red one we have numerous of the pink fushia ones and one white one.

I really do not know how many we have but I think it is around 10 -12 of them. Some are big as a tree because they are much older.

I love crepe myrtle time.

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Watermelon time

Do you know how to pick out a good watermelon?

First of all, thump the melon you want to get sort of a hollow sound from the thump.

Secondly look for one that has a creamy beige underside this means it was on the ground long enough to ripen. You do not want it to be white it must be cream colored.

If the watermelons still on the vine look for a curling of where the vine is attached.

We do not plant our watermelons we have a dirt pile we toss them on upside down this keeps the birds from eating the seeds and allows the melon to rot and create mulch for the fallen seeds. I only buy Texas watermelons at the store because they seem to be the best to grow in our area.

This is our first year to have watermelons during the right season most of the time we have them in December.

Our biggest watermelon so far weighed a whopping 32.6 pounds it is the one in the pictures below. This watermelon had just been picked so it was not washed off yet it still had some dirt on it.

As you can see when it was cut the color was a bright red and it was sweet.

This was watermelon number 2 and Sunday we picked number 3. So far number 1 and 3 have been the sweetest and they came off the same side of the dirt pile but we are not sure it if was the same vine or not. Watermelon vines grow like crazy and can spread as much as 10 feet or more from the actual start of the plant.

We cut them up and put them in ziplock bags in the refrigerator they stay good for 5 or 6 days and they get ice cold which is my favorite way to eat watermelon.

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Silvery wandering jew

Silvery wandering jew is by far one of my favorite plants.

You can have it in a hanging basket or a container and let it cascade over the side and crawl to the ground. It can be planted directly in the ground and it spreads really fast.

The leaves shimmer in a silvery purple stripe on the front and solid purple on the back and many times there will be leaves turned both directions which only adds to the beauty of this plant.

I planted some in the ground last year in a few different spots in the backyard and we had one freeze so it froze but I noticed it is already coming back.

To make a new plant you can pinch off a piece and stick it in a pot or the ground and it takes off no roots are needed. I really love that. I find it prefers morning sun, evening sun or partial shade rather than full sun.

I went to the local nursery and bought two hanging baskets of it this past week for $9.00 each. This plant is a big bang for your buck.

It actually looks quite beautiful mixed in a container with something taller and some flowers.

Towards the end of March, I decided to fix a tall container of begonias and silvery wandering jew for the front and it turned out quite well.

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