The Big Freeze

I have been making progress removing the summer jungle growth from the garden. My eggplant plants (is that redundant?) looked healthy but the blossoms were not setting so out they came. The bed they were in was in pretty good shape and not overrun with Bermuda grass. I spent the morning getting it “really” weed free and water saturated, preparing the bed to receive two new tomato transplants. I selected a grape tomato and a beef master to place in the ground after sundown tonight. This bed has never had tomatoes so I am hoping that they take off. To help them along I put about two cups of worm poop at the bottom of each hole prior to dropping the plants in.

Worm poop! During my month in California the worms were left unattended in the garage. I had placed the top bin on the nearly finished bottom bin just before I left. They had no food, no visitors and no monitoring…… I expected the worst! I was pleasantly surprised when I began the poop harvest yesterday. Both bins looked rich with dark black worm poop, odor free and no apparent food scraps available for the little guys. From what I had read, the environment could become toxic – killing the little guys. They were absolutely thriving! As I dug into the bins there were still remnants of newspaper and cardboard…they still had some food! I wound up with about 15 lbs. of the richest looking fertilizer that the little guys have ever produced for me. Oh yes, odor free means that  it has no offensive odor…. really it just smells like damp, rich soil. The Meyer lemon barrel with surrounding strawberries enjoyed a worm poop banquet tonight as well as the pepper plant in the other barrel.

My last task this evening was removing this year’s dead blackberry vines. This year’s growth is starting to kick in nicely. I am being a little more diligent in pinching off the terminal growth as the new shoots hit 3+ feet or so. This forces lots of lateral growth in hopes of an abundant 2012 berry season. I hope to make my wonderful blackberry jam before the December 2012 Apocalypse! The photo on the lead-in is from the February freezing rain followed by an extended few days of bitter cold ( at least bitter for Houston). I am convinced that the lingering freeze hurt my harvest. For whatever reason only the terminal buds produced. Go figure.

Tomorrow or Thursday is tilling day. I will take my most Bermuda grass laden bed off line for 6 weeks. I will attempt to solarize it under a clear plastic sheet to kill the roots, rhizomes and other bad weed seeds. Three t-shirts today and it looks even uglier over the next three days. Yes, I hear all y’all, drink lots of water. I will!