Monthly Archives: March 2015

A Buckeye Update – They All Made It!

Upon closer examination of the 4 pots with buckeyes planted in them, I realized that they all did infact sprout.  The other 4 just hadn’t surfaced yet, but their roots were growing out of the pots.  I’m very pleased.  The buckeye/firecracker plant is a real gem.

Circled in red are the 2 buckeyes that sprouted first.  (Notice a sprouting pine in the pot on the right)

sprouting buckeyes

I had gathered 6 buckeyes, all from the same 3′ plant down the driveway.  It is said that the germination rate of these plants is about 50%, but it looks like I achieved 100%!!  These other 4 pots have not yet sprouted so I looked at the bottom of them and noticed these large roots growing out of the holes.  To get some of them out, I had to cut the bottom of the pots.  Oh joy, now I have 6 buckeyes to go plant in the woods, not too far from the house.  Now that I know what I am dealing with, I will be on the lookout for the buckeye seeds by next September.  I now know what to look for as far as the seed pods on the plants.
roots growing out of the bottom of the pots

Today is about 3 weeks since I have cut out and re-potted these seedlings and most have them are now popping thru the soil surface!!!  I’m really thrilled as this such an interesting plant although it has no food value.  The plant does well in full sun, but the ones in our woods are in mostly shade, as shall these be once I get them planted out in the next few weeks.

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A Final Peek Under The Hoops

Time to take the plastic off.

This pic shows kale on the left side.  My notes read ‘Vates Kale’, but I didn’t note the seed vender.  I like this kale.  A few carrots are in the very front right side.  The empty space after the carrots is where spinach was planted.  Under all 3 of my hoops this past winter, I had a real problem with aphids.  They, of course, never freeze out under the hoops – nothing freezes under the hoop.  A bit further back, with the red stems, are Detroit beets.  I don’t know if they will mature in a month – within a month I will be pulling out everything except some kale and chard so that I can plant my spring crop of squash and peppers.  These cool weather crops had their chance.  If the beets don’t mature their roots, I will at least be able to harvest the greens.

I am really having a problem trying to figure out how to grow under the hoop in Texas.  This past winter started out in October with a rough week or 2 of freezes, then it was very warm for a few months and winter finished with a few weeks of freezing weather.  This lack of consistency causes problems like early  bolting and stunting.  I’m going to have to think this thru for next winter.  I also learned this winter to NOT grow broccoli or cabbage under the hoop.  (The cabbage & broccoli grown outside of the hoops is doing great.) I also can’t grow spinach under the hoop.  I’ll also have to be more vigilant about the aphids.  Also, the cos lettuce didn’t need to be under the hoops – it didn’t do well.  I think that the main reason that I planted all of these things under the hoops was to protect them from rabbits.  Last fall the rabbits ate all of my lettuce and spinach.  This winter they didn’t even touch any of the cabbage or broccoli that was planted in the open.  The only rabbit issue I had was one blue berry plant eaten.

Some of this gorgeous kale is bolting and some isn’t.  While I like this kale, I don’t believe a few plants will be enough to save for seeds.  Also, I just don’t have the room to let this leaf crop sprout it’s seed heads – that takes a lot of space.
under the hoop

This is a close up of the kale and small beets.
under the hoop beets kale lettuce

There is no reason to show pics of the other 2 hoop garden beds – they aren’t this impressive.

Last winter this bed provided me a bountiful crop of chard that I spent weeks dehydrating in the food dryer.  Chard will be one of my main hoop crops next winter.

Again, my hoop garden is 5′ wide & 16′ long.  A 10′ length of gray plastic conduit fits perfectly from one bottom edge to the other, held in place by a 2′ section of 3/8″ rebar cut into 2′ sections with 12″ of each piece pounded into the ground.  I bought a $40 box of thick plastic.  The 100′ roll was cut into four 25′ sections.  The 12′ width fit perfectly over the hoops with a foot on each end resting on the ground, weighted down with old 2×4 pieces of lumber.  The extra 3 to 4′ of plastic on each end was gathered and weighed down with a few bricks or rocks.

I like the idea of the hoop gardens, but I need to rethink this and work it some other way next winter.

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My Baby Arbor Day Oaks

I couldn’t get these planted yet so I put them in these pots until I can find a place for them.  They are 10 oaks, 2 each of Red, Scarlet, Willow, Pin and Bur oaks.  They look like they are doing OK, the buds look like they are doing fine also.

Arbor day baby oaks

The instructions say do not plant these baby trees in potting soil, so I mixed up a wheel barrow of my own soil which I make from composted hardwood bard, compost, black cow compost, peat moss, perilite and sometimes some vermiculite.  That baby tree in the ground in front is an American Sweet gum.  Trees sprout everywhere here as we are surrounded by the woods.  Most of my oaks are White oak and Water oak so I really am excited about these other oaks.

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The Bluebonnets That I Seeded Last Fall Are Sprouting

Last fall I collected several dozen Bluebonnet seeds from 2 Bluebonnets that popped up in the yard last summer.  I watched the flowers and kept them out of danger until the seed pods turned brown and were safe to pick.  I planted half of the seeds around the giant Turkey oak that they sprouted by.  The other day I found 2 of the dozen and half or so seeds had sprouted!

sprouting bluebonnets

They’re tough little sprouts.  They survived the freeze, rain and whatever else.  Now I need to protect them until they grow up and produce even more seeds.

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