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yay fall!

Posted by scorpionis on 2009.10.11 at 09:57
Current Location: Austin, 78704
Tags: , , , , ,
Been pretty quiet around here since Spring, but that'll happen when you're dealing with the worst drought since the 50s. Which the climate folks say has eased considerably with our recent rains!

So how did everyone's gardens fare this year? My herbs did well but only because I built raised square foot garden beds last Spring so the plants weren't subject to my yard's horrible clay soil. I swear I could make bricks out of that stuff! A few pepper plants survived the summer and have rejuvenated. And the tomatillos, OMG! As soon as the temperature dropped into the 90s they exploded into blossoms, many of which are now making tomatillos. Yay, salsa! And I have to give a huge thumbs-up to lemongrass. It grew massively while everything else stunted for a couple of months. I'm thinking of using it as a landscaping plant since it doesn't flower so won't be invasive. And it might keep bugs away: lemongrass oil is a major component to most herbal bug repellents.

I also had good luck with a partially shaded butterfly garden I started with a seed packet and a milkweed plant. Only the Mexican sunflowers and purple verbena lived through the summer but the bright purple and orange flowers made wonderful landing spots for Monarch and swallowtail butterflies as well as a few hummingbirds. The bees enjoyed them too! Right now I'm tending a number of Monarch caterpillars in a ten-gallon fishtank. Four have changed to chrysali and the rest are growing quickly. I can't wait until the butterflies emerge! That was an end-of-year surprise: I thought that only happened in the Springtime!

Right now I have some cauliflower and broccoli in the beds and one remaining lettuce plant: snails ate the rest. :( I still want to plant some carrot seeds but I may be too late. And the herbs that survived the summer are doing really well: Greek and Sicilian oregano, marjoram, lemon verbena, winter savory, lavender and English thyme, and my *six* basil plants: African Blue, green globe, Mrs. Burns' lemon, Thai, 'holy', and ruffled purple. African Blue basil cannot be beat for even the hottest summers: it grows strongly when all the others begin to wilt.

So what's up in your garden?


lucyloveslave at 2009-10-11 16:10 (UTC) (Link)
I didnt plant much this year. I have several lantanas that lagged all summer that have exploded since the rains started.
nosce te ipsum
scorpionis at 2009-10-11 16:41 (UTC) (Link)
So did mine! It's twice the size it was just a couple of months ago.
Joe D
pasketti at 2009-10-11 16:12 (UTC) (Link)
Despite the rains relieving the immediate need for water, we're still in a drought.

See the lake levels here:

We went on the water rationing at 900,000 acre-feet. Today, it's showing 810,000 acre-feet, which is the highest I've seen it since the rationing started. But we're still under the 900K threshold. For comparison, 2,000,000 acre-feet is when the lakes are considered "full".

Unless we get serious amounts of rain this winter and spring to make up the shortfall, it's going to be a long hard summer next year, water-wise.
nosce te ipsum
scorpionis at 2009-10-11 16:40 (UTC) (Link)
Absolutely. We need a long wet winter to fill the lakes or next year will suck. I notice the City has not lifted Stage 2 water restrictions, so that says something right there.
gryphynshadow at 2009-10-11 17:11 (UTC) (Link)
We're in Byran, midway between Austin and Houston...

The summer was hard on our poor garden. Nothing produced, and everything was stunted and sad looking. Keeping things watered enough to thrive was really really hard to do, without making our water bill go through the roof.

Once the rains started, everything started doing much much better. I've been getting a nice constant crop of okra, and the beans are starting to make pods for us! I've got actual tomatoes on the tomato plants, and the pepper plants are looking good, too.

With the cooler weather of the past few days, the broccolis are doing fabulous! I swear they've grown overnight. :)

We didn't water the lawns, and have learned some interesting things from that... If you mulch heavily over the winter with dead leaves, and then don't mow all spring and summer, the grass will survive, and even thrive, even if you don't water it. However, if you mow it, and don't mulch it, the burmuda grass takes over, and you'll have big dead patches, too. Luckily, that's in the front yard, where we plan to pull the sod and put in raised beds for more garden space. :P

I've been trying to figure out how many water barrels we would need to catch enough rain in the rainy seasons to tide us over the dry summertime... it looks like we'll need four or five per downspout! (or more) eep.

While I don't like the colder weather, or the rain, because the light levels affect my moods, I appreciate both for the plants. Okra from the yard tastes so much better than any other okra, ever!
Mr Biggles
cavorite at 2009-10-12 15:03 (UTC) (Link)
I lost a few things to the summer, including most of my tomato plants and a few other things, but much has survived, including a number of my peppers, a few of the heirloom tomato varieties, almost all of my herbs (and a ton of new basil plants coming up after the spring plantings seeded out over the summer). The best hanger on this year is the eggplants, which are thriving.

Lots of new cold weather stuff in the ground, we'll see how it all does.

cyruslandsc at 2009-11-28 04:23 (UTC) (Link)
I like this posting about garden. This is informative posting, thank you.
Pool Landscaping Ideas
tim_11 at 2010-03-19 10:34 (UTC) (Link)
Great Posting. We desperately need a good rainfall for Grass Supplies as it will be the basis for many supplies like milk and fodder for human beings even drinking water will be dependent on rainfall.
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