Radish Stew

A Central Texas Gardening Journal

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Okra Texas Style

Another summer staple around here is okra. We have been growing this variety, Texas Hill Country Red from Seed Savers for several years now. The plants and the pods are short and fat. They turn red where exposed to sunshine. One of the best qualities of this okra is that they have less of the slimy quality of other okras.

One of the problems of growing okra in this area is that fire ants love them! This year I grew a row of traditional okra next to the Texas Hill Country Red. The fire ants loved the other kind more and mostly left the Texas Okra alone. I actually gave one plant to the ants and they went after those okra pods for weeks, until they turned brown.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Sweet Potatoes

Ready for Sweet Potato Pie? We are. The sweet potatoes have grown all summer. They are so easy to care for; not needy at all. We dig them up at the end of the summer and let them cure for a couple of weeks. We will have sweet potatoes for months. What a great choice to grow during the hot hot summer. Next year, I plan to give each "slip" more room to grow and hopefully dig up more of the big one pictured.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Back to the Garden

I recently had to repair this rock walkway that leads from the house to the garden and keeps us from getting muddy shoes after a rain. The reason? It finally rained! During the month of October, 2013, we were blessed with rain every week. The rains in our gauge totaled 6.9 inches.

This walkway reminds me of the one at our family's lake cabin when we were kids. It was wider and more like a city sidewalk, but it was rough (and hot) on the bare foot. I still loved that walkway.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Ahhh October

We finally made it through the very long, very hot, very dry summer.  Temperatures have cooled. While some areas in Texas have been seeing some rain, we have only had .1" to enjoy. We were so happy, but then it was gone.

During the last 12 months we have only collected 7.85" rain! This total is about 20 inches short of our average yearly total!

We still have a different vegetable for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

AND we may have lots of peppers soon. We shall see. We shall not give up.
See you soon!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Out of the fryin' pan

Sunday, September 4, we were excited about the approaching break in the weather. The wind was out of the north! After the hottest 3 months on record, we needed some cool. The temperatures topped out about 90 all week, which is cool for us, but what a price! Fires surrounded us! Fueled by the strong winds, they burned out of control for days.

Only 4 miles to the east by the flight of the mockingbird, 23 homes were destroyed by fire. About 22 miles to the west, 67 structures were burnt. And 50 miles to the east, in Bastrop, almost 1,400 homes were lost to the blazes which destroyed 36,000 acres of beautiful Lost Pines forest. 

Next week, the temperatures will again climb to 100. Still no rain is predicted. But things will not be back to normal.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Small Accomplishments

During this very long, very hot, very dry summer, I have especially been aware of small accomplishments.

We added two very small pear trees to the garden months before the summer started. Both trees now have new growth! I call that a miraculous small accomplishment.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Very Long Very Hot Very Dry Summer

Less than half of the garden is occupied by plants this summer, so we have lots of opportunity to work on the beds. As you can see from this picture, we can locate areas of white chalky limestone soil we call caliche. It is very dense and can be dug out in in chunks and layers. 

The other day, I was digging some caliche and out fell a fossil! It was embedded in the layers and had not been exposed to the air for many years. I looked in my Texas Fossils by William H. Matthews III and found that it is called a Texas Cretaceous Gastropod. It is actually an internal mold of the shell of an animal which was on the ocean floor during the age of dinosaurs.