Tomatoes and Planting Seeds


My small varieties of tomatoes are kicking in. The larger red ones are called Juliet and they do really well throughout the hot and humid Houston summers. The small ones are called Sugary and yes, they are sweeter. Hopefully they will do well through the summer. None of large varieties have started to show color yet but, thankfully, even with the abundant rains recently , they show no signs of cracking or splitting. The 25 cent piece in the photo is for reference on sizes.

Juliet and Sugary bunching type of tomatoes. Both are yummy. The Brandywine, Cherokee Purple and Celebrity will ripen in the next week or so.
My cucumber support. I used 3 panels of 4″X7″ reinforcing wire used in pouring driveways. Cattle panels are used by some people but they are heavy and pricier. Market More variety planted here.
The fourth panel I used to create an arch entering the garden. I have planted Blue Lake Pole beans here and they climb like crazy. Should also make it easier for me to harvest. I will promise to provide some follow up as the grow.

I added 3 mounds for some Early Yellow Crook Neck squash. I haven’t had much luck with summer squashes in the past here in Houston but have not tried this variety. Also planted Mammoth variety sun flowers and they truly are Mammoth. Sometimes rising more than 10 feet and the seed heads are maybe 15-18 inches across. The bees adore them and our local squirrels do too…..LOL

I do have potatoes to harvest in a couple of weeks. Red potatoes and some Yukon Gold. I will clean out the beets…..some of them have become huge. I will see if they are worth salvaging. The sugar snap peas are done…..hopefully I will do better with the Fall plantings of them. The Meyer Lemon tree has set a good number of fruits and another round of blossoms has just appeared….not sure about them but we will see. Honey harvest is still 2-3 weeks away. We have a very long waitlist and they are our faithful buyers, I hope I do not disappoint them this year.

My Muscadine grape vine looks really healthy this year and as the grapes begin to develop and mature I will post photos. At this point in time the blossom heads are tiny, tiny and just now starting to open up. My other challenge with the Muscadine Grapes will be fending off the robbing birds and I suspect some squirrels get tempted. My wife won’t let me pop the squirrels with the BB gun but I do have bird netting as an option….time will tell.



What is in Season Now?

Leave a comment

Well, let’s fast forward past all the plants that have come into season, been harvested, been converted to compost or have graced my table……….March 8th 2022 was about Celery growing time LOL. Today’s topic class, will be about Muscadine grapes and the missed opportunity with the local close cousin, Mustang Grapes, that grow wild along waterways here in the Houston, area.

Vitis mustangensisn – A common and easily recognized grape with a white, velvety surface on the lower side of the leaves. A vine climbing over shrubs and into trees and often shading their leaves. Leaves in two forms: one form unlobed or shallowly lobed, and the other form deeply lobed, with the latter less common and on rapidly growing shoots. The lower surface of the unlobed leaves often concave. Grapes up to 3/4 inch in diameter, few to the bunch, ripening in August and September to dark purple, and usually bitter, even irritating, but popular with makers of homemade wine. Note; I will disagree a bit with ripening dates……here in Houston area it typically the last week of June and first week of July…….except, as always exceptions, this drought driven year, 2022, it was early June.

Distribution; – USA: AL , AR , LA , OK , TX
Native Habitat: Woodlands’ edge, Opening, Thickets, Stream, river bank, Fence rows. What is really crazy about the growth habitat it that the vines seem to grow wildly heaven bound……70, 80 and my guess is even 100 feet tall before making the turn and heading the other direction. It can be a challenge to harvest with out long reach pruning tools.

Today’s class though is for, Muscadine grapes (Vitis rotundifolia), which are native to East Texas. They thrive in slightly acid soils and have good disease resistance which makes them particularly suited to the humid climates of East Texas. My harvest is a mix of the native Muscadine grapes and a commercial variety that I have trellised along my back fence and over the entry into my garden. They can be grown commercially here it Texas, actually East Texas, but it is difficult.

At the entrance to my garden

As you can see they don’t grow in bunches like most grapes we are all familiar with. 2022 looks to be a great year for this variety that I planted 3+ years ago. That said, I am in direct competition with the local squirrels as they ripen…..a real challenge. Every day I make a pass along the vine looking for the hidden ripe ones before the squirrels indiscriminate approach…….Yes they knock an awful lot of green & unripened ones to the ground……unforfunately the green ones do not continue to ripen……dang squirrels – If my wife didn’t think they were so cute I would ……….. well, strongly encourage them to go elsewhere.

I do believe I will retrieve enough to make some outstanding jelly. I missed harvesting the Mustang grape which makes a to die for jelly…….there is always next year.

Cucumbers…..can’t ignore this year’s natures bounty…….It is nearly as bad as the gardening neighbor that looks to give away the their abundance of zucchinis! I always wondered why they planted so many….LOL…..Kinda like me and my cucumbers this year……neighbors lock their doors when the see me coming now……I guess I should make some cucumber Gazpacho…..hope it freezes well and I don’t run out of freezer space……



If I Am Lucky – Muscadine Jelly From My Garden

1 Comment

My vines are 4 years old now and put out a few bunches of grapes in 2020. It wasn’t enough to get too excited about so I combined them with the local Wild Mustang Grapes. I may not have quite enough this year for a discrete batch solely from my garden/backyard but it may be close. Timing may be an issue. ……. They may ripen when I am in Denver seeing my newest grandson.

Winter of 2021 I decided to learn how to prune the vines….my prior attempts were really just butchery. it was real actively simple if you follow instructions, not my long suite as my Goo friend John will attest too. If interested look into the archives for Goo Friend….. a typo that became a standard reference for my buddy, assistant beekeeper, beer drinking buddy, a long time ago mountain biking buddy and the list goes on.

Today June 11 marble sized
A few weeks earlier
Covering the new arbor, thanks Ashleigh for the construction assistance, and being trained along the back fence.

An FYI, I must be doing something right because I have captured 4 swarms in my backyard this Spring/Summer. I am hanging in there at 16 colonies now but……the rains have had a negative impact. In some cases lots of nectar but they can’t get it dried out enough for honey to be capped. I shoot for 18% water content or lower. Other wise the wild yeasts may begin to ferment the honey before it is consumed.

Bee swarm consolidating itself into one of my swarm boxes.



%d bloggers like this: