DIY Seedling Pots

Beth passed on a great article from Green Daily about DIY seedling pots. I love the idea of making little seedling pots out of newspaper. Then when it comes time to put them in the garden, you can stick the whole pot right in the ground! Brian helped me make a bunch yesterday so that I could attempt to not kill more seedlings.

Didn't they turn out great? I love the flags with masking tape and a toothpick; Brian made those. I put the pots in pie pans so that I can put water in the bottom and they can soak up water from the bottom. Does anyone have ideas on how much to water? I put enough so that the newspaper is wet all the way to the top. When I tried growing seedlings a month ago, I overwatered and they all died. :( I'm hoping the bottom watering will help me not kill them. Hopefully this will go well, and we can start our garden in a few weeks!
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Our rosemary plant!

A few weeks back we visited the Round Rock Gardens, which turned out to be a pretty neat nursery. We met some people who knew a ton about gardening, and we will probably go back to buy compost for our garden. In the meantime, we went ahead and bought a rosemary plant since my attempts at starting my own from a sprig didn't turn out so well. We got the upright version instead of a trailing plant; I like that you can shape it into whatever you want! We had to buy a pot for it also, and I'm sure in a few months we'll have to get a bigger one again. We used some rosemary yesterday to make some turkey and wild rice soup (along with garlic from the garden), and that rosemary sure is more fragrant from the plant than from the grocery store!
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Spring Garden Plans!

I am SO excited to have my garden plan for the spring season finally written up for everyone to see. I worked out how much space each plant needs, and when to plant compared to the final frost date, so I've already started a few indoors in an egg carton. If anyone has advice, or if I put two plants next to each other that shouldn't, feel free to leave a comment! My garden is a raised bed in my backyard that is 5' by 15', and each block on the diagram represents 6". I can't wait to see all of the veggies we get!

The last day of the fall garden

After I planned out our garden for the spring, I realized that we are going to be able to start planting some vegetables in the next few weeks. Because of that, we need to get the soil ready in the garden! Since it got cold, I haven't done anything to it, and it is completely overrun by weeds. We went to a nursery in Round Rock and were advised to cover the dirt with black garbage bags to kill the weeds and their seeds, so we did that today, but we had to pull out everything that was in the garden. The onions were larger now than at Thanksgiving, but still didn't grow big bulbs. I think that part of the problem was that I planted them too close together. For the spring, I will plant them further apart.

Our garlic didn't turn out too bad! One of them rivals the size of grocery store garlic. The others are a bit small, but they were so easy to grow that I will definitely do these again next fall. Garlic turned out to be a very low-maintenance crop!

Some of the garlic plants had what looked like a second bulb growing above the first bulb. Has anyone seen this before?

I washed and cleaned up the garlic and onions, and here is what they looked like afterwards. Nice and clean and ready to eat!

I also cut off what was left of the bibb lettuce and had a salad with dinner.

Before we covered the garden with plastic bags, I transplanted the lettuce plants into pots indoors to see if they can make it until the spring. They haven't had a single problem growing in the cold, so maybe I'll get to plant these outside again in a few weeks!

I'm pretty excited about gardening in the spring; I have so many different vegetables planned! I bought some seeds online that should be getting here soon, and we are working on getting the soil into good shape, adding compost and mulch and whatnot, so hopefully this spring and summer we will have a large yield.

The vegetables are still growing!

The plants have survived into December! A few of the bell pepper plants look close to death, but the rest are doing really well. Here are a few of the peppers that are growing. Still small, but very cute!

My tomatoes are huge! I wonder when they will turn red.....
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Fresh Lettuce!

For our salad for Thanksgiving dinner, I cut some lettuce from the garden. I even found some caterpillars on it (yes, I washed them off)! Now I know what was eating holes in it. Guess I need to find an organic bug killer, unless someone knows how to get rid of caterpillars.
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Onions and Garlic

Yesterday I decided to pull out an onion and a garlic bulb to see how they were doing. They aren't ready yet! The garlic has formed a bulb but it is tiny, and the onions haven't even started to swell yet. Looks like I won't have any before it gets cold. We are going to eat some lettuce from the garden today, though! And the rosemary in the water glass died. I will just have to buy a plant in the spring and get a big pot to put it in so that it doesn't take over the garden. HEB has rosemary shaped like a Christmas tree; I might get that one. It's so cute!
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I have tomatoes!!!

The flowers on the tomato plants have fallen off and left little tomatoes! Yay! I wonder how long until they grow and are ripe....

The onions and garlic look great! I think I planted the onions too close to each other, but they seem to be doing alright anyway. The garlic looks like it will be ready in a few weeks.

Although the lettuce I planted indoors died, some that I planted into the garden is growing. It looks like I have 4 plants, and one of those just popped up this week, so maybe I'll have even more. Looks like we might be able to have our own lettuce for a salad on Thanksgiving after all!

The bell pepper plants are getting close to having peppers too! This one had the first flower, and now the flower has fallen off and has left a tiny pepper (I guess, it's really small!). The stalks of the plants are getting much thicker and stronger. I'm not sure if they will grow fast enough before it gets too cold, though.

Rose Bushes

I've been wondering for a while what is going on with my rose bushes out front. The last owner of the house planted them just before putting the house on the market, so they are only about 4 months old. The one on right right side of the garage is nice and full, and the flowers are beautiful!

The one on the left side, however, not so much. Some of the leaves are turning brown near the bottom of the plant, and it just hasn't had much growth at all. I noticed when it poured a week or so ago that it bloomed again, so I have been watering it every day to see if that helps, and it has a bit of new growth but it is still slow. I wondered if being inbetween sidewalk, a driveway, and the house meant that it wasn't getting enough water. I have also fertilized with some Miracle-Gro pellets that time-release fertlizer for up to three months, and some of the pellets are still there. But then, when it bloomed again, I noticed something - it's a different variety of rose all together!

These are the blooms on the right side - round and different colors of pink.

On the left, the petals are much more pointed. I haven't done my research yet, but maybe this variety doesn't do as well in Texas weather and/or soil. If so, maybe I should swap it out with one of the other kind so that it can catch up in size. Anyone have any ideas?
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So that’s why the lettuce died!

I read some in a book that Brian got for me from the Round Rock Library, "Rodale's Vegetable Garden Problem Solver" (which by the way, is an awesome book), about planting seeds. It warned against planting seeds in potting soil, which has a lot of nutrients. Since the seed itself contains all of the nutrients it needs, the extra nutrients from the soil may overwhelm it, cause the inital sprout to shoot up high, and then it may fall over. Sounds like my lettuce! It recommends using a "sterile germination mix especially designed for seed-starting." Guess I'll have to do that for the spring!