Will It Live: Fern Edition

I’ve been fretting about the ferns in the shade bed. Since nearly everything but the ferns and hostas have emerged, I’m getting a little anxious to see if they made it through the freeze.

The ferns in question are of three varieties: two specimens of Japanese painted fern, Anisocampium niponicum, and two specimens of Silver Brake ferns, Pteris argyraea (?), and a clover fern, Marsilea macropoda,

The marsilea overwintered in the garage, but perished when I moved it inside in March. But I had already anticipated getting another specimen from Painted Flower Farm.

Clover fern in the garage bottom styrofoam container

The Silver Brake ferns were marked for zone 9 hardiness according to the Lowes plant tag, so they could have been misidentified/mislabeled. Instead of Pteris quadriaurita argyraea, these may actually be Pteris cretica, at least based on the image lookups I’ve performed. Regardless, I didn’t expect them to resurrect. But I potted up the rootballs anyway to make room for an assortment of new plants.

Ejected the silver brakes from the shade bed

The Japanese painted ferns were giving me the itch to go buy new ones. But I waited them out.

First sign of Japanese painted fern

Will It Live? Veggie Edition

Finally got around to cleaning out the stock tank beds of dead plants and withering leaves/stems. It looks like some veggies are extending their stay.

Brussel sprouts, red russian kale, kohlrabi, some Parris cos and red lettuce are being joined by some broccoli specimens. The wasabi radish turned out inedible, soft and mushy after sitting out on the counter. I’m not sure if the remaining specimen is salvageable, but I will leave it in-bed for now.

I lopped decaying tops and removed decaying leaves/debris to give the new offshoots some space and light.

In addition, I installed seedlings in the vacant square foot spaces, mostly lettuce starts and 9 chinese broccoli seedlings. I had to throw out my spinach and bok choy seedlings due to heavy infestations of aphids.

Instead, I direct sowed all my bok choy seeds into the stock tanks, along with some Tokyo White bunching onion seeds. Let’s see how these do.

Next time, I may have to buy a bag of ladybugs and a fine mesh cloth to clean up my beds, as suggested by my instructor from StartOrganic class.

Another useful tidbit I learned from garden class: certified organic means no applications of fertilizer/compost within 90 days of harvest.


As evidenced on my Instagram feed, my garden experienced the worst temperature extremes that Texas endured in the new year. We saw the lowest temperature I’ve ever witnessed in all the years I’ve lived in North Texas: -1F.

The historic winter storm knocked out power, water and cell data for 2 days. Our yard was buried in snow for at least 4 days. The community pond was completely frozen over.

Feb 16 Tannery Lake completely frozen over

The outdoor greenhouse tent could not sustain the plants housed within especially with no power to heat the space. Similarly, my garage was plunged in cold and darkness, freezing the most sensitive plants.

I’m still tallying the losses. The weekend following the storm, we set about to pruning the roses, and removed some dead branches and debris from the front yard. Most of the snow had begun to disappear by this time.

Feb 19 snow slowly melting away from front yard path

Frost hardiness for some plants seem hit or miss. I had put out some nasturtium seedlings earlier in the year; those were a loss. But I also planted out some romaine lettuce seedlings, and they seemed to have survived.

Needless to say, this means more seed starting and emptying pots to make way for new plants.

Looking ahead at the forecast, it seems that we will be seeing highs in the 70s and lows in the 50s beginning the second week of March. I’m already thinking about all the gardening tasks I have to do to prep the beds to receive new plants.