A Gardening Jones……….. And Other Craziness!!!!!

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An obsession; a burning desire. The undeniable passion or love for someone or something.

"Basketball Jones, I got a basketball jones, I got a basketball jones ooh baby…"
Well, I got a gardening jones and just gotta have it, ooh baby…..!

The picture looks out of place relative to the title…. but just keep reading!

I have been traveling and have not been able to get my hands dirty in my little patch back home in Kingwood TX. I have called my wife to check on the plants, worms, rain/weather and – oh yeah – how she is doing and how the soccer match went and to tell her that I love her and miss her!

I spent a couple of days with my mother in Los Osos CA doing a few honey-do's around the house and in the yard. I trimmed some run away ground cover, repaired some sprinkler heads and tried to unclog the rain gutter conduit out to the street….. got some flow but it needs to be pulled up and properly flushed and reset. As I was working I couldn't help but notice some wonderfully bare ground ……….. That bare ground, let me tell that story and then I will get back to my jones for this bare ground.

June of 2009 my mother had a wonderful  80th  surprise Birthday party that she had spent months planning – LOL – Her children attended with spouses, her grandchildren (15) and two of the three great grandchildren were in attndance. And yes, there were a few great grand children in the oven. She invited 100 or so of her friends from the park she lives in….. great bunch of friends that will always take a free meal and hope that Grammie Glo will entertain them… Well the family provided a very large work crew to do some clean-up at Grammie’s place the next day. Now the story….


My brother-in-Law Bill was on a chain saw massacre mission. I thought that maybe the nieces and nephews would get a chance to witness how badly flesh can be damaged by a chain saw… no such luck for flesh but before the chain bound up there was considerable damage to vegetation and the drip sprinkler system (well maybe he just added more drip locations????). Several months later the remnants of once healthy plants were removed, eg. The lush green juniper to the left of the chainsaw in the picture.


There is now a bare area just begging for seeds and transplants. It is deep sandy loam. I wanted so badly to get some carrot seeds and create an edible border coming up the walk. Those carrots would have had lush green tops and nothing to put those ugly forks in the roots like I have with the Houston clay that makes it so hard for me to grow carrots…( run on sentence). It just screams at me to create an edible landscape…. But, I left jonseing for a chance to give that bare spot some love – Mom said no and like a good son I resisted the urge. She said something like the deer would eat it…. I would share… wouldn’t you?


OK – next I stopped at my daughter Melissa’s house and she shares my jones….. I felt better after getting some Camarillo dirt on my hands, seeing the berry plants, checking out her new raised beds and the veggies taking root. I feel better now!!!! I may be able to hold off until I get back to my little patch now.


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The first berry of Spring 2010!!!!!!

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Wow! The first berry of spring and I picked it the day before the official first day of spring. I was not expecting a ripe berry so early because of the wet and cool spring we have been experiencing. I noticed lots of blossoms in my sunniest patch but this was an early surprise.

I noticed something else after I picked it and took a closer look. See the heart shaped image of the berry. Pretty cool huh! I wonder if there is a message here? Hmmmm……

As with any good berry it meets the same fate. I did offer the first bit to my wife Kathy but she deferred that honor to me. – Thanks Hun…… it was so good. The home grown berries just have so much more of the "real" Strawberry flavor. It compares well to the wild strawberries I used to pick in the fields surrounding Fort Lee, Virginia.

Here is the first berry of the spring nestled in amongst the leaves, blossoms and the early berries that have set. It looks like it will be a good and sweet spring. I have found a good organically safe slug and snail deterrent so I hope to share fewer berries with the slimy little buggers. 

On another note….The new June bearing varieties are doing very well. They are establishing themselves well and looking very healthy. The garden is beginning to hop now… The pole beans are up, potatoes looking good, the lettuce so good and lots of snap peas to munch on. The cucumber plants were slow showing through the layer of leaf mulch but I see they are now breaking through. My asparagus, first year, is spindly and needs staking – next year I may be able to get some spears!

Get out and grow something…..

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Redfish and Salad

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Ben's Redfish March 13, 2010
Fresh from the Garden Salad

Ben, my oldest son, went off fishing on Saturday the 13th and landed this very nice Redfish. He is using the fisherman's trick of extending his arms to highlight the size ( I coached him on that). It was right at the upper slot limit of 28". Very nice fish. He also brought home a nice speckled trout so we will have several fish meals this week. Cooked up one of the fillets last night along with garden fresh steamed Swiss Chard and Snap Peas. What a real treat.

Today I built a very nice salad featuring 4 varieties of lettuce and some fresh snap peas  from the garden. Bell peppers are store bought….. I am 5-6 weeks away from harvesting my own and by then the lettuce will have bolted. The freshness just can't be beat.

A little rain today for the garden but not so much that it turns to a quagmire. The hanging tomato plants seem to be looking good so my experiment for a cheaper "topsy turvy" planter may be successful.

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Tonight’s Fresh Salad in the Making

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Fresh picked today…. It doesn't get any fresher than that. Romaine, Red Leaf and Butter Crunch lettuce. I will add some store bought cucumbers, onion and bell peppers… as much as I would like to be perfect I will have to settle for close! I have also gathered in some Swiss Chard, Red and White(green) as well as some snap peas.

They are still a few weeks from really getting going. I have two varieties….. in non technical terms – the flat and the more robust meatier type. If I was better organized I would have a plot plan listing the variety by genus and species. But, alas, I am just a good ole boy that just enjoys seeing it grow and getting some real flavor from my little patch. I do keep most of the seed packs and could probably match them up from the "purty" little pictures.
The cucumber seeds are in the ground but yet to emerge as well as the pole beans. I am getting anxious but will be patient for another week before I reseed. I have some melon seeds but will hold off a little longer for them….

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Early March Gardening

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Back into the garden today… wet and sloppy but I put my poorboy topsy turvy style tomato planters together. I bought two determinate patio style plants, cheap two dollar buckets and a left over bag of potting soil. The plant hanger is a bit wobbly so I will need to stiffen it up or secure it better.

I will provide some updates as the season progresses. I shot a picture of one of my mixed beds. The Swiss Chard is doing well and the Romaine is really starting to get big. The garlic is looking good but I have never been able to get good bulbs here in the Houston area.

What isn't seen is a few spindly spears from the asparagus crowns I put in last fall. I have heard they can grow here and do fairly well. I see three of the 4 crowns have put a spear up. The new blueberry plants are leafing out now. The new June bearing strawberries are taking hold so it should be a good berry season. Some of the ever bearing plants already have berries. The buds are swelling on the blackberries so I will soon see if I managed the canes properly last summer and fall.

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