Garden

Garden Fridays: How to Almost Kill a Pomegranate Tree

by Shawnda on April 5, 2013

in Garden

Pomegranate

Are you guys still shoveling snow? I lit the fireplace yesterday evening. In April. In Texas. So weird. Our garden is completely confused by the weather, too.

This is our third spring with that pomegranate tree. And the fact that it’s still alive means that it’s either one hardy plant or that a higher power has bigger plans for it.

I’m kind of leaning towards the latter.

The first spring we brought it home, we moved it to the same 20-gallon pots that we were using for our citrus trees (good deal – $6 and only needed a few holes drilled in the bottom).

Pomegranate

We were in the middle of a drought and even though I was watering everything semi-religiously, the pomegranate looked sickly. I chalked it up to the use of tap water since that claimed our first avocado tree. Months went by and finally we had one of those monster gully-washer rainstorms blows through. Every person in Texas and every plant in the backyard rejoiced… except the pomegranate. The pot was full to the brim with water.

I HAD FORGOTTEN TO DRILL HOLES IN THE BOTTOM OF THE POT.

Lady Bug

The year-long suffocation-drowning combination almost worked. Holes drilled, and suddenly there were green leaves again! Our first bud showed up… aaaaand then a hailstorm knocked that single bud off the tree.

This year, we excavated the neglected bed at the deep end of the pool (the one where my daughter dumped a full feeder of birdseed and grew hay for most of last year) and transplanted the pomegranate, the blueberries, a key lime, and the avocado (which died and was replaced by the fig).

Now? There are nearly a dozen little pomegranate buds and they all survived the wicked storms that blew through here this week!

What else is going on in the backyard?

Peaches

PEACHES. The white peach tree has several dozen peaches and so far (knock on wood), has been completely ignored by the squirrels. Maybe all this unseasonably cold weather has an upside. I am so excited. (About the peaches, not this crappy 40-degree low in April.)

Peaches, Part 2. The other peach tree put two flowers out and then stopped. It appears to be even more confused by the weather than the eggplant and tomatoes.

Strawberries

STRAWBERRIES. Good production already! Also, knock on wood, ignored by the squirrels. Or maybe I’m getting lucky and there’s a squirrel shortage. I’ll take it over a honeybee shortage!

Grapefruit

Far fewer blooms on the grapefruit tree fertilized than I expected – they fertilized (or didn’t) in clumps. So half of the tree is loaded with the future fixins for margaritas and the other half, sadly, is not. I’m going to have to make some difficult decisions soon and thin some of the fruit out. But for now, I’m leaving them alone.

Blueberries

The lemon tree was disappointing – it bloomed and only a single lemon showed up. But new blooms appeared this week so I’m keeping my fingers crossed. I’m pretty sure this same thing happened last year, which is why we had one lemon the size of a softball when the others were more normal.

Blueberries

The blueberries are happy with their new digs, the berries on the 4 bushes now are enough to easily triple last year’s production – and new flowers are popping up every day still.

The greens – loving the weather. Kale has been the easiest thing to grow. The hardest? Basil. I have gotten 3 seeds out of 30+ to germinate. I finally broke down and bought a few small plants to supplement. I guess not everything can be as Me-Proof as pomegranate :)

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Garden Fridays: Now with room for more citrus!

by Shawnda on March 22, 2013

in Garden

Garden

That was where the red plum tree stood until last weekend. I pollinated every single bloom by hand that I could reach (I think I counted ~20 baby plums already), and then we dug it up and gave it away.

Because space is limited back there and we decided that we really wanted another citrus tree. Maybe blood orange. Or a navel orange. Or a tangerine. Or clementine! But we can’t decide between transplanting the grapefruit tree and potting the new tree for a couple of years… or just planting the new tree in the ground straight-away.

Decisions, decisions.

This week, we picked our first strawberries (36 hours between those photos and it was ready to pick the next day) and rearranged some things to squeeze in two more pepper plants (poblano and yellow bell). And a tomatillo.

Mint

And a cantaloupe. And a red grape vine :oops:

Sorry, spinach and kale. Hope you like your pots!

Peach tree bud

The white peach tree is in full swing with over 2 dozen peaches and the other peach tree just put out its first sign of life this week.

Everything else is moving along nicely. Including the blueberries. They survived the transplant, bloomed slowly at first but now the bees are doing their job – we have tons of baby blueberries!

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It’s going to be 78 degrees today (!!)

by Shawnda on March 4, 2013

in Garden

Bees and Blueberries

And it will be 40 tomorrow night. Typical. But then we’ll be done with “winter” weather and it’s all dinner on the patio and backyard strawberries from here until August when the oppressive heat sets in and I wonder why the heck we stayed in Texas when we could have lived somewhere not as Seventh-Circle-of-Hell hot.

But I’ll have plenty of time to complain in August. And right now, I’m far too excited about spring to think about it anymore. So… green stuff and sunshine and bees!

Lady bug and peach blossom

That’s a lady bug. And a peach blossom.

Peach blossom

And less than a week later, that blossom is a baby peach! And when she grows up, she shall be peach cobbler. Or a peach margarita. I’ll support her in whichever delicious path she chooses.

Right now, our garden is shaping up like this:

Patio/Backyard
2 Peaches
Plum
Celeste Fig
Rio Star Grapefruit (pot)
2 Key Lime (1 potted)
Mexican lime
Pomegranate
Meyer Lemon (pot)
Lemon (pot)
4 blueberries

Last year, we had everything in pots except the plum and peaches. That looks like a lot of trees – and it kinda is – but growing citrus in pots is a really great way to maximize garden real estate. They do really well as long as you keep them fertilized and trimmed to a manageable size. And they make your patio look really nice. And when your grapefruit tree blossoms open, they’ll make your patio smell insanely nice.

Grapefruit Blossom

Vegetable garden
In the ground already
Serrano
Jalapeno
Red Bell Pepper
Zucchini
Juliet tomato
9 green beans
~25 strawberries

Strawberry, kale, and plum

Seedlings
Kale
Spinach
Broccoli
Basil (purple and green)
Cilantro
Oregano
Green onions
Eggplant
Tomatillo
2 San Marzano tomato
Yellow Pear tomato
Beefsteak tomato

Grapefruit Tree

I think that’s it… for now. I have my sights set on a Tangerine tree and a 5th garden box for more tomatoes. But those dreams might have to wait another year!

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Garden Thursday: RIP Avocado Tree

by Shawnda on February 7, 2013

in Garden

Green Bean Seedling

Last weekend, I spent a little quality time in the backyard, de”winter”izing the garden. Because it was 80+ outside and minus one more late season cold snap that I know is coming, Texas is surely finished with “winter.” But in true Texas fashion, that last cold snap will be during Spring Break. (Sorry, kids.)

February Garden

Our garden is composed of four 4×4 raised beds, 3 large fruit trees planted against the back fence (plum, white peach, something else peach), and a collection of in-ground and potted plants (citrus do well in pots, if you’re short on real estate) around the pool: blueberries, key lime, lime, meyer lemon, lemon, pomegranate, Rio Star grapefruit, and fig. The avocado tree, it did not survive transplanting after The Great Back Patio Dig of 2012.

February Garden

This is our 3rd spring here and our 3rd spring garden so we don’t have any big changes planned… except I’d like to add a 5th raised bed. We had such awesome production out of a beast mode San Marzano tomato plant last year that I want to squeeze in another two. Those tomatoes make the world’s very best marinara sauce. And I would like an entire freezer full of it. Forever and ever.

February Garden

What are you guys planting this year? This is what we have for our boxes:
Last Year’s Leftover Plants
Serrano (quite possibly the most prolific pepper plant in the history of the world)
Jalapeno
Strawberries (we have an entire box devoted to strawberries… and 2 large planters devoted to the runner plants I transplanted for giving away)
Chives
Green Onions
Oregano

February Garden

This Year’s Seedlings
Broccoli
Zucchini
Tomatoes (yellow pear, cherry, beef steak, and San Marzano)
Green beans
Basil
Cilantro

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