Friday, March 08, 2013

Spring Gardening Update...

Back in November I announced that I'd be taking an “indefinite break” from blogging. Now that spring-like weather is in the air, I’ve decided to revive GG with the occasional post. Especially since there’s so much going on in the garden…

First of all, let me say thanks to the many folks that said they missed Galveston Gardening during my hiatus. I was surprised and humbled by your comments. 


Infrastructure Additions…
These past few months have been busy ones in the garden. The addition of 3 new 4’ x 10’ x 10” raised beds almost doubled the growing area. The hardest work was wheel barrowing 5 yards of soil, delivered from El Jardin, in to the beds. It required a double round of ibuprofen. A 30’ ground bed, along the fence, was also added for cucurbits. The soil in that bed was amended with our own compost, made from garden plant debris and a few leaves. All these beds are drip irrigated using the battery operated, DIG timers/solenoids. 


Side Rant…
BTW – during a recent trip to our Home Depot I found out that they will no longer be carrying DIG irrigation products. That’s just one more thing that pisses me off about HD. They get you hooked on certain brands and/or products, then change suppliers, leaving the customer holding the bag. I have cordless tools (requiring batteries they no longer stock) an RO water system and other HD purchased items that they no longer carry or support. Now add irrigation components to the list. I’d shop on the mainland if I ever got off Galvatraz.

New Water Meter…
Last year’s water bill was painful. The cost of being an avid gardener on a small island with limited supply. Upon careful inspection, it became apparent that the sewer part of the bill (based on how much water you use) was equally expensive. Back in October I read a small blurb in the paper (before they started charging an arm and a leg for the on-line version) that said the $$$ charge for new water connections was going to double effective January 2013. So, right before the deadline we paid the city to install a separate meter for irrigation. That way there’s no sewer charge and theoretically the bill should be reduced. Having a meter installed wasn’t cheap but we somehow “rationalized” the $$$ and luckily, since the garden is on an old home site, there wasn’t much to it. An annual inspection is required and I’m sure that won’t be cheap either. Will keep you posted on whether this was a good decision or not. 

Fall Veggie Update…
This was one of the best fall garden years we’ve ever experienced. Lots of lettuce and greens and the broccoli just kept producing week after week. The only disappointment was the brussel sprouts. The plants were huge but not a single sprout. We tried juicing the leaves – producing some of the nastiest tasting stuff ever. Also discovered a love for Swiss Chard, which too had a record producing fall.

Spring Garden Update…
The tomatoes went in the last week of February. A little earlier than usual but we’re gambling there won’t be much cold weather left this winter/spring. Sweet 100’s, Sweet Millions, Celebrity and Roma round out our variety selections. We eat a lot of cherry tomatoes and hope to dry some of the Roma’s. Celebrity is the only slicer. Also planted peppers and eggplant. The new ground bed is planted with zucchini, crook neck squash and cucumbers – again, planting this early is a gamble but what the hell…

We’re trying potatoes for the first time and set out Yukon Gold along with 2-3 other gourmet varieties. There’s also a new asparagus bed. I have doubts about the wisdom of this decision since the plants get pretty tall but we love asparagus and planted 10 nice crowns in one of the raised beds. 


KIPP Coastal Village...
In addition to our garden, we’ve started helping out with the garden at KIPP Coastal Village elementary school. They have 15 raised beds and use the garden for teaching everything from literature to science. This was a group of volunteers that came out to help whip the beds in to shape prior to planting. Don’t worry – they’re not letting me work around the kids. Something about influencing their young, impressionable minds. Go figure…

Galveston Island Chicken Shack Strut...
Hold on to your hens! The first ever Galveston Island Chicken Shack Strut will take place on Saturday, March 30.

This one-day self-guided tour of coastal chicken coops, hen houses, mobile tractors, and crazy shacks will showcase island chickens and their keepers and demonstrate how more and more city dwellers are incorporating chickens into their gardens and lifestyles.

Tour tickets can be purchased from The Kitchen Chick (Alicia), located at 528 23rd Street, Galveston, TX. Click here for more info.
· Adult: $8
· Youth 6—12 years: $4
· Kids 5 & Under: Free

Flowering Tree???
Lastly - I spotted this unique species of flowering tree during the first weekend of Mardi Gras. Notice the delicate, bead-like flowers. This wasn't the only strange thing I saw during the 2 week Mardi Gras celebration!!!

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