28. February 2024 · Comments Off on In the Garden – Spring 2024 · Categories: Domestic

So I am going to try again in the garden this year, since I have the greenhouse that I purchased and assembled last year – too late in the year to do vegetable starts from seeds in a sheltered environment, but this year in the nick of time. The last predicted freeze in this part of Texas is for mid-March, and I have a whole specialty scrapbook of seed packets assembled from various sources. The last couple of winters – cold, frozen and miserable – and summers (boiling hot and dry) have done a number on a lot of gardens. I think my back-yard Santa Rosa plum is entirely dead, and so are all three of the potted citrus plants. But this year, the local HEB chain has favored us with a nice assortment of roots for things like rhubarb, potatoes and onion, so I am having a go at the first two. I may go back and try a crop of onions – the trouble is that onions are so very inexpensive that it’s hardly worth the hassle of making garden space for them.

Rhubarb, on the other hand … I love fresh green beans and peas, garden cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers of various sorts. And I’ve had excellent luck getting them started from seed, as well as herbs of every description. Nothing beats having fresh basil, thyme, sage, parsley, chives, and cilantro instantly on hand. When I was just newly established in San Antonio, I regularly went to the yearly Herb Festival, when it was set up at a local park pavilion and bought a small potted bay tree one year. That sprig in a small pot graduated to larger and larger pots, until I finally planted it in the ground out in the front yard – to my recollection, I have not bought dried bay leaves in years. Neither, I don’t believe, have any of my neighbors. The tree itself got to be thirty feet tall, until nipped by Snowmagedden – but it bounced back and now is about fifteen feet and densely packed with leaves. The birds love it, for the shelter thus provided. As for other herbs, I once had a parsley plant establish itself so firmly that the stem became the size of a small pinecone. The pot of chives comes back, year after year – maybe the thyme will. If not, I have seeds for it, and for sage.

On the other hand, depressingly – growing zucchini escapes me entirely. Which is exasperating, because that is one of those vegetable garden plants which is legendarily supposed to over-produce, to the point of stories of gardeners abandoning sacks of zucchini bounty on the doorsteps of strangers, ringing the bell and running away. But I am going to try it anyway. Costco had super-big bags of raised-bed/container garden soil at a very reasonable price, and I bought two of them. I’d have been out planting zucchini, cabbage and squash seeds today, but I had to spend some time securing and closing up a gap in a corner of the Amazing Catio, where a large racoon was getting in and raiding the cat’s food dispenser – a gap about six inches wide near the eaves, where the bugger was getting in, and sending Benji the dog absolutely spastic in the middle of the night. Sigh. Renovation of the house three doors down has been going on for nearly a week, now, and a whole colony of racoons and other rodents were evicted from those premises – and obviously, they are now looking for alternate digs.

And there are no citrus plants anywhere but Costco, and those are big ones, at a price that I am reluctant to pay, especially as none of them were lemons or limes, which is what I really, really want, in order to replace the ones killed by winter. Sigh – perhaps a visit to a local nursery – but they might be even more expensive there. I swear that Snowmagedden a couple of years ago must have demolished the plant nursery business the length and breadth of South Texas, and prices for potted plants almost immediately doubled – well ahead of the price of everything else doubling as well.

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