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.
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.
The Japanese painted ferns were giving me the itch to go buy new ones. But I waited them out.
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.
It’s March and it’s time to kick off yardwork projects. It’s slow going weeding our turf-free backyard, so I squeeze in 5-to-15 minute plucking sessions whenever I can.
First major project is to lay down pre-emergent and fertilize the lawn. Which necessitated a run to the big box stores.
Which meant perusing the garden center for any desirable plants.
In one instance, there were plenty of bargain bin plants that were hastily thrown onto the dollar shelves due to frost damage. I managed to snag 2 Autumn Twist azaleas for $2 apiece.
The Pink marguerite daisies and some purple spotted petunias also jumped into my cart, along with some bare root asparagus and 2 bags of gladiolus.
I ended my shopping spree with 3 succulents; I’ve been thinking of how I’d be populating my succulent planter, and these sedum and echevarria will fit the bill.
My Botanical Interest seeds came in, but apparently my order from Annie’s Annuals has yet to arrive (despite an ETD of 3/4).
Meanwhile, I continue to clean out the front yard, debating on what plants need replacement, what plants to monitor, what to divide and/or move and what to do with that zone 1 drip line that doesn’t seem to be doing anything.
There are still plenty of work to be done to clear the beds of storm debris and frost damaged plants. But the seed starting bug has already bitten me hard.
End of January, I had already started a batch of veggie soil blocks which include tomatoes, habaneros, bok choy, lettuces, spinach, bunching onions, and eggplant. I was lucky enough to source most of the seed from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, who had them in stock at the time.
I have perennial and annual flowers started in soil blocks as we end February in a flurry of garden prepping.
But of course, there are never enough seeds to start and plant.
I’m not the only one with a gardening bug. Seed companies and online plant purveyors have been hammered by the pandemic demand; most are advertising low inventories and out of stock items. My normal go-to vendors are struggling to keep up with the demand, I’m having a hard time filling out my wish list. Meanwhile, local nurseries are still recovering from the winter storm, so inventories might still be scarce as of this writing.
If I do find something I want, it’s usually through Amazon and I’m highly suspect of the quality. I’m still frustrated by the habanero pepper seeds I obtained through there; germination rates are very low, even after re-sow attempts as we are enter the 4th week since I planted them. I plan on moving them onto my growing stand with the powerful lights to see if that will spur them into germination.
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.
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.
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.