Miracles

So it only took me four years to finally learn how to grow a full-sized tomato in a container, but I did it!

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December 16, 2015

Yikes!

I can’t believe its been three weeks since my last post! So many things going on with the holiday season gearing up, so I’ll give you the highlights! And try to get some photos in here soon!

  • IMG_0693The tomatoes I direct seeded during the summer are doing super! The plant is heavy with fruit and I’m still panicked that we’ll get a freeze and I’ll lose them all, but it’s 75ºF out today so I guess I’ll try to relax. If they’d just hurry up and ripen!
  • I’m still picking cherry tomatoes. They’re actually doing a ton better than they did all summer.
  • I’ve got broccoli, beets, collards, kale, mustard, lettuce, and baby bok choy looking happy as clams in the garden!
  • I’m finally getting delicious and crispy radishes!

And now for the bad news …

  • IMG_0453Property management is cracking down on what they’ve termed “excessive plants.” I don’t know if my little garden will be around come spring. I’ve talked to management, but it looks like two different managers are at odds about what is deemed acceptable and what is not.
  • The skinny, little, white cat someone dumped near our building is now fat and healthy … and using my garden as her own personal litter box. Except for the wooden box filled with bunching onions. She sleeps there.

Who knows what spring will bring? I’m still anxiously planning what to grow in next year’s garden even as this years continues to thrive. I’m thinking about growing a lot more tomatoes. Maybe I can hide them on the roof.

Don’t Fall Down on the Job – Spring Starts with Autumn Soil Care

Sharing this from Dirty Little Secrets. It’s probably not exactly the same for container gardening, but definitely something I think I’ll look into. For the area along the back fence I’m guerilla gardening (until management finds out) I think I’ll try a cover crop of daikon radishes. Hopefully, some of those roots can break up the clay to make room for a sunflower garden next spring! We’ll see how it goes…

Get spring gardens off the ground with simple autumn soil care. Soil building starts in the fall.

Source: Don’t Fall Down on the Job – Spring Starts with Autumn Soil Care

CaptureYay for rain! My plants are thrilled… that is if they haven’t blown or washed away!

We just can’t do anything in moderation here in Texas.

Prayers for those in Texas and Mexico dealing with flooding right now.

Late night visitors

Raccoon.
Possibly the raccoon’s cousin… in daylight.

Got to see a little raccoon looking for snacks on the fence line tonight. Actually, what I heard was crunching in the dark and then saw two spooky little reflectors that gave away the masked bandit’s location. I stared at him. He stared at me, but kept eating the whole time. “Crunch, crunch, crunch.” It sounded like he was eating Frito chips! I watched him for a bit and then let him be. When I poked my head back outside to see if he was still there, I saw a second set of “reflectors” and assumed he had family come to join him; then I saw the tail. I guess I wasn’t the only one who heard crunching because right next to the little raccoon was an even smaller skunk! Well, everything was small except for the tail. That was big and, thankfully, distinctive. They ate together peacefully for about a minute, then came the chittering. Mr. Raccoon carefully grabbed the last snack he thought he could snag and reluctantly headed back into the woods. Though, I swear I could hear him calling that skunk every name in the book on his way out.

Ten World Cities at or about 30°N Lattitude

For all the complaining I do about how warm it is in Hellahot, Texas, I thought I’d look up other places around the world that are just about as close to the equator as we are. Here are ten:

Good morning from the garden of Eden
Good morning from Basra, Iraq
  1. Basra, Iraq – This port city has a reputation for being one of the hottest cities on the planet. With summer temps regularly exceeding 113°F and high humidity, sometimes exceeding 90%, this seems exactly like the entire month of August here at home. Thankfully, just the month of August.
  2. Jacksonvile, Florida, USA – Another port city, Jacksonville, nicknamed “The River City,” has a humid, subtropical climate with summer heat indices sometimes reaching over 110°F. Like Hellahot, TX, they seem to average one snow day every thirty or so years.wheat-fields-762213_1280
  3. Multan, Punjab, Pakistan – An important agricultural center, Multan produces wheat, sugar cane, mangoes, pomegranates, and citrus. The arid climate makes for very hot summers and mild winters. Average high temps for May through September are well over 100°F.
  4. Cairo, Egypt – Average high temps from May to September run in the 90’s, but record high temps for the area have run well over 100°F from March through October. With the exception of frequent windstorms, and occasional flooding, it doesn’t sound half bad. Actually, it sounds like west Texas.lhasa-479693_1280
  5. Lhasa, Tibet, Peoples Republic of China – A beautiful valley with a semi-arid climate, Lhasa is one of the highest cities in the world at 11,450 ft. Sometimes called the “Sunlit City” by Tibetans, Lhasa gets about 16 inches of rain annually mostly in June, July and August. Cold winter temps in January average 29°F and summer highs in June average about 60°F. It may be a little higher and a little cooler, but it reminds me a bit of Mesilla Valley in southern New Mexico.
  6. Chongqing, Peoples Republic of China – With a “monsoon-influenced, humid, subtropical climate,” Chongqing is known as one of the “Three Furnaces” along the Yangtze River. Average summer temps are in the 90’s, but relative humidity seems to keep above 80% year long, with wet and overcast winters. Wow! Just makes me wonder how big their mosquitoes get!dead-sea-107944_1280
  7. Eilat, Israeal – This looks a bit familiar: 360 sunny days a year. As a native Texan, I long for cloudy, overcast days and the smell of raindrops on dusty earth. I’ll bet a few people here do also. Average high temps in the summer months are over 100°F. Winter brings those daily average high temps only to about 70°F. The awesome part? Water temps in the Gulf of Aqaba in this port city are pretty warm, ranging from 70° to 80° year round.
  8. Kuwait City, Kuwait – Super hot summers with average high temps over 100°F from May through September with temps over 120°F not uncommon. Super, painfully dry, summers and slightly less dry winters contribute, or fail to contribute, to the 4.5 inches of annual rainfall. And wouldn’t you know it… someone’s gardening in it!texas-physical-map
  9. Chihuahua, Chihuahua, Mexico – I’m so used to thinking of our border with Mexico being south of us… and it is, but it is also west of us. A semi-arid climate in the Chihuahuan Desert, they experience warm, wet summers with about a foot of rain each July and August during the monsoon season. Winters are dry and mild with average lows above 35°F. Chihuahua City is know mostly as a manufacturing town, the state of Chihuahua, however is a large producer of agricultural goods such as nuts and apples.
  10. New Delhi, Delhi, India – A humid, subtropical climate, New Delhi’s hottest months are May and June, with the average high temp during these months over 100°F, followed by the hot and wet months of July and August. The average high in winter is still in the 70’s and the average lows in winter never seem to get anywhere near freezing. I know south Texans break out that one sweater they own if it falls below 65°F here, but when do you get to wear a sweater in New Delhi?

So, why does all this matter? Well, this was just for fun, but there is a gardening lesson to be learned here. When looking through seed catalogs or online for new vegetable varieties to try in your garden, pay attention to the regions that the seed variety originates from. Those that come from regions with a climate similar to yours might have a better chance of succeeding in your garden. Then again… don’t be afraid try anything. This is a learning process!