Author Archives: blcookadmin

Johnny Jump Ups from Monticello

I have Johnny Jump Ups, originally from Monticello's collection of 'Tri-Color" variety.  In the picture below, I have circled one flower that is closest to the original coloring - dark purple top petals, white enter petals and yellow bottom petal.  I have had these things seeding themselves all over my yard and gardens for about 5 years.  I got them from my mom's place where she had them growing for years after bringing them home from a trip to Virginia and Thomas Jefferson's Monticello.  This Read more [...]

Kale and the Cross Striped Cabbage Worm

Kale dries so nice and dark green.  This is a tray of end of season kale that I have been drying.  I then crumble it and put it in glass jars to add into whatever I can when I cook.  Just a pinch equals a large fresh leaf.  I dry them at a low temperature for a few hours so I am assuming that most of the nutrients are still in there. As previously posted, worms devastated my fall garden.  Very few kale plants survived the worms after numerous re-plantings.  This kale plant grew to almost Read more [...]

Be Sure You Are Growing the Proper Onion

Here in Texas, SHORT day onions are the proper onions to grow.  Short day onions will bulb here where the days are shorter than in the north.  Northerners grow long day onions.  There is also an Intermediate onion for central states. This is the bag of onion bulbs that Atwoods sold me.  I closely examined the label, but nowhere did it state whether these were long or short day onions.  I figured that surely the garden supply buyer for a big outfit like Atwoods would have a basic understanding Read more [...]

Boysenberries Finally Taking Off

The Boysenberries have finally taken off this spring.  I planted them in this narrow strip 2 years ago.  Last spring I had a few berries - they were very good.  But this spring, I am seeing all sorts of growth and numerous new shoots.  I am really pleased.  I am going to let them spread all over for a while. The bushy, green berries in the front are the boysenberries.  The plants toward the pack of the row are a thornless blackberry.  I didn't know how to properly prune them last year because Read more [...]

Single Digit Temps Did Severe Damage to My Aloes

Aloes produce many pups during a good growing season.  Last summer I re-potted dozens of pups into larger clay pots.  I like to put pea gravel on top of the sandy potting soil. I had about two dozen good sized baby aloes that I planted in clay pots ranging from 6" to 10".  I put them in the greenhouse before the first frost, back in October.  We had a second polar blast a week ago.  The first blast gave us 20 degree nights.  My aloes made it thru the nights with just a coal oil lamp burning Read more [...]

Re-Growing Celery from its Base

Ok, for funsies I decided to try to re-sprout/re-grow celery cores, just to see what would happen. Here in east Texas, celery will not grow properly.  We just don't have a long enough time of cold weather.  It can be below or at freezing for a few days, but before the week is out it can be back into the 60s.  This fluctuation just wont do for trying to grow celery from seed. I left more of the baby stalks at the center core than others do.  The one on the left is a half week older than Read more [...]

Sweet Potatoes Didn’t Do That Well This Year

Last year I planted a few sweet potato slips for funsies. Some store bought sweet potatoes had sprouted and I decided to root and grow the sprouts. The result was impressive, to me. I found that each slip grew 3 large (about a pound each) potatoes. They were good and actually tasted better than the store bought ones.  This picture shows a small part of the harvest.  These potatoes are nice, rounded and large.  The meat was rich orange. With a big, easy harvest in mind, this year I planned Read more [...]

Turmeric Is Interesting To Grow – Try Some

I am always looking for something new and interesting to grow, so I got some from the grocery store.  I bought several plump chunks and started several plants. This is my first season to grow grocery store turmeric.  This is my best plant - I'm pretty impressed with the results.  I made a mistake though, this pot is about 12" high and almost 12" across.  I think it might be too small.  Next spring I am going to use larger pots and plant more.  A pot should be at least 12" deep and 12 Read more [...]

Army-worms Devastated My Winter Garden

Army worms have been brutal this fall.  I never saw it coming.  The summer garden came and went and I then planted my fall garden.  The first planting grew nice and the seedlings grew to an inch or two, then overnight - yes, overnight, the seedlings were gone.  It took a few days of research and observation to realize it is army worms eating and destroying my garden. When I realized it was army worms, I knew to watch for them early in the morning and later in the evening because they usually Read more [...]

Blanching & Freezing Overgrown Zucchini

Somehow I carelessly missed about a half dozen overgrown zucchini. Since it is early in the season and the weather is still wet, I hoped that they would not be seedy and that I could freeze them. Yes, that is how it worked out. I had put black several gallon nursery buckets sideways under the enormous zucchini plants that are spreading over the sides of my raised beds.  These zucchini were hard to tell apart from the black pots in the shadows under the leaves.  By the time I realized they were Read more [...]