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Pics of the garden 2012 - Dallas/Fort Worth Area, Texas  RSS feed

 
Noah Figg
Posts: 57
Location: DFW Area, Texas
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I live in zone 8a, Dallas/Fort Worth area, Texas. I put together a photo album of my garden from the beginning of the year to now. I was building new beds and planting in them -- 2 were hugelkultur beds, 1 herb spiral, 3 others.

Almost all of the beds have buried branches/logs/leaves from the yard, topped with native soil mixed with some composts, mulched with wood chips.

I would appreciate any comments, suggestions, etc. What functions am I missing? What plants would fill in the gaps for my climate?

https://picasaweb.google.com/EggMunkee/2012Garden?authuser=0&feat=directlink

Before planting:

Bed on right is empty except for overwintered lemon balm and parsley, in its second year. Left beds are in process of being dug/built. Mulched bush in back is a blackberry plant. Purple flowers are of the edible weed henbit.

Partial hugelkultur bed built:

Hugelkultur bed partially built at back. Front bed has potato growing, carrots, onions, mustard, lemon balm, and maybe a few others.

More developed:

Mix of plants in semi-hugelkultur bed. Most are planted, except for local edible weed henbit.

Second year bed somewhat developed:

Mixed planted bed of lettuce, arugula, cilantro, radish, purple osaka mustard, swiss chard, onion, lemon balm (bush in back) and unpictured parsley (behind lemon balm).

Most spring plants going to seed:

Front bed visible contains: lettuce (going to seed), radish (going to seed), cilantro (seed), swiss chard, purple osaka mustard (seed), lemon balm (herb, bush on right). Back left bed contains: purple osaka mustard, carrots, onions, lemon balm.

Herb spiral somewhat filled:

Top outside of spiral to center: stevia, rosemary, mullein, apple mint, stevia, oregano, cilanto(s), stevia, mullein, apple mint, mexican oregano.

Chopping and dropping:

I then planted more summer/fall crops underneath the plant matter from spring plants.

Summer crops coming in:

Red swiss chard (bottom left), radish (left), and cayenne pepper plant (center).

Volunteer Swiss Chard:

I hope this can make it to flowering this fall.

-Noah
 
Noah Figg
Posts: 57
Location: DFW Area, Texas
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Updated the photo album:
https://picasaweb.google.com/EggMunkee/2012Garden?authuser=0&feat=directlink

Some highlights:


Kentucky wonder pole beans


Herb spiral in development. It requires a lot of watering right now with 100 degree days. Shown are applemint, mullein, and swiss chard.


Full shot of lemon balm, carrots, sweet potato, basil and pepper plant in bed.


Lemon balm bush


Home-grown German Johnson tomato, mmm.

-Noah
 
Adam Stone-Dare
Posts: 2
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Howdy Noah!

Your garden looks great. Kinda motivating me to put up some pics of my garden as I'm in DFW as well(NE Tarrant).

It's good to know another North Texan is here to share their experiences in our tricky climate...at least for me

Cheers!

 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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making some good progress Noah. Are you letting your plants go to seed for the seed, or just to let them rot for roots in the soil? Did you harvest some of them? If so did you get a good harvest before you let them go to seed?

My swiss chard had returned in my greenhouse for 4 years and has now finally decided to go to seed and that thing is a monster !!
 
Noah Figg
Posts: 57
Location: DFW Area, Texas
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Thanks for the kind comments. To answer your question Brenda, I have been letting most everything go to seed in place and harvesting only a small amount of things, as I hope to allow most things to self-seed. Then once the seeds are drying up, I either chop and drop in place or distribute the seeds and plant debris around the other beds, so that it will come up in whatever bed it wants to.

So things like mustard, cilantro, and arugula, I harvested well until they went to seed. Radishes I didn't harvest much because I wanted them to go to seed and of course you have to pull the whole plant. Lettuce I didn't get much from but I did get a good seed crop from. Hopefully this fall and winter the lettuce will come up on its own.

I didn't know chard could live so long! Cool. I've thought of tying a rope to the top of the chard and up to a tree above it, because the staking is barely holding it up, but not sure I should go so far. I guess I may have to wait a few years for it to seed possibly.

-Noah
 
Noah Figg
Posts: 57
Location: DFW Area, Texas
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Btw, Adam, please do put up some pics of your garden. I would like to see what you are having luck with here! I'm in NE Tarrant, too, NRH actually.
 
M Taylor
Posts: 8
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Glad to see some North Texas folks on the forums. I'm in Ellis County myself. Bought a couple of acres a few years ago. Half wooded and half open. Terrible soil, and worse water (super high salinity). Previous owners managed to kill just bout everything and ruin the soil. Lots of potential, but lots of work needed as well. Keep us updated on your garden. I need all the good ideas and inspiration I can get!
 
Nathan Wrzesinski
Posts: 79
Location: Austin Texas
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M Taylor wrote:Glad to see some North Texas folks on the forums. I'm in Ellis County myself. Bought a couple of acres a few years ago. Half wooded and half open. Terrible soil, and worse water (super high salinity). Previous owners managed to kill just bout everything and ruin the soil. Lots of potential, but lots of work needed as well. Keep us updated on your garden. I need all the good ideas and inspiration I can get!


Have you seen "Greening the desert"? They had the same problem in the middle east with too much salt, they layed down tons of mulch and grew lots of plants and mushrooms grew and secreted a wax that acted as a barrier for salt.

As for salt in the water, use a parabolic trough mirror to distill the water, harvest the salt and use it to make lots of homemade ice cream I dont know what to do with it but you have to do something with it. There is gonna be alot of it.

You can start a vermicomposting bin and keep it moist, use the liquid at the bottom as awesome nutrients in your now distilled water and your plants will thrive even in gravel [ie:hydroponically] so as long as you build a healthy plant base your soil will do nothing but improve as it absorbs all the extra nutrients washed out from the plants, from decomposing grass clipings and plant trimmings. Everything can be turned into healthy soil with enough time and enough bugs
 
Laura Wilson-Anderson
Posts: 1
Location: travel for work - planning to buy land in TX
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M Taylor wrote:Glad to see some North Texas folks on the forums. I'm in Ellis County myself. Bought a couple of acres a few years ago. Half wooded and half open. Terrible soil, and worse water (super high salinity). Previous owners managed to kill just bout everything and ruin the soil. Lots of potential, but lots of work needed as well. Keep us updated on your garden. I need all the good ideas and inspiration I can get!


My sister lives in Ellis County. I used to live in Arlington, but ended up in Oklahoma due to a job change a few years ago. I've looked for land down by my sister, but I guess I'm cheap and greedy - I want ten to twenty acres a lot cheaper than I see down in that area. I've been looking over in northeast TX the last few days (online, that is) - there's a lot of land in Cass County for sale that looks tempting... now I just want to know why so much is for sale.

Laura (wannabe-homesteader)
 
Noah Figg
Posts: 57
Location: DFW Area, Texas
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I thought I would post a partial update. I haven't gotten around to uploading my later pictures, but this represents up until late October.

Late July:

Sweet potato vine, basil, swiss chard, jalepeno, tomato, carrot, lemon balm, and cayenne pepper.


Sweet potato, peppers, onion, chard, etc.

Building a new buried hugel bed:

Starting lower, outside ring.


Filling higher, inner ring.


Fitting wood to last section.


Better view of the slope of the bed.


Checking water flow in bed. Each troph is supposed to feed down into the next lower level of the bed, as well as soaking into the edge of that level.


Trophs are filled with gravel and beds will be topped with mulch.


Finished bed. All the wood came from trimming some non-useful shade trees in the back of my yard.


The new bed is behind this my oldest bed.

Late August:


Herb spiral going pretty strong. Mainly apple mint (a mistake, I now know), stevia, mexican oregano, rosemary, purslane, oregano, and thyme.


Jalepeno pepper plant.


This is one German Johnson tomato plant that really took off. I didn't have the time to keep it contained and it toppled over two cages I had overlapping to support it earlier on.


This is what a bindweed seedling looks like.


Swiss chard and tomatillo growing interspersed. Lettuce seed head on left. I should have harvested to reduce crowding here.


Sweet potato vine meets tomatillo vine. In the middle is supposed to be a path, but as it is next to the porch it's easy to step over.


The herb spiral. And my dog Roscoe running by really fast.

Early October:


My main, oldest bed. Intermixed swiss chard, tomatillo, mustard, and carrots. Also some onions are surviving within this, but aren't visible.


Swiss chard, parsley, cayenne pepper, and mustards.


Is this goldenrod? I just let it grow into a colony once it showed up. I observe first, then remove if really necessary (bermuda grass and bindweed make up my bad guys list).


Newest hugelbed (shown being built above) with Satsuki Madori Cucumbers (Seeds of Change), tomatoes (small varieties), a canteloupe melon vine.


A photo of the other side.


I inherited this bed of perennial onions and garlic chives. I haven't had to do anything but harvest from it. I plan to add diversity and structure into this area over time, though.


A bindweed plant dug up (although I'm sure there was root left in the ground).


I'm not sure what this perennial/biennial plant is but I have been letting it grow. Any idea? It looks similar to this photo of sorrel I found:


Reference photo for sorrel.


Some canteloupes are on the way. I eventually ate about 3 or 4 grapefruit-sized canteloupes. They were very tasty.


Chard were getting really big. This often led to collapsing under the weight, as seen in the plant to the back-right. I should have harvested them all more. Or grown less.

Oct. 19th:


The several beds as we are getting into fall.


I created this bed really quickly, it is meant to be less tended, more wild, like the bed behind it.


Some carrots.


The carrot greens went into the new bed as some green mulch.


I guess I am a pacifist. I let this little guy go along his way, but I didn't really have a shortage of tomatoes, so I don't regret it.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9740
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Looks great! That sorrel plant is probably sorrel's wild relative, Curly Dock, quite edible. I eat it frequently. http://www.eattheweeds.com/rumex-ruminations/

 
Noah Figg
Posts: 57
Location: DFW Area, Texas
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Thanks, Ludi! It took me a little while to find similar enough pictures of curly dock that I am more confident that is probably what I have growing. Here is the best matched picture I have found:



It is the wavy edge type, whereas some are heavily curled. Mine has not ever flowered though for the last year and a half that it has been there. I suppose it could just be my climate or it isn't mature enough yet. I will see if the taste is palatable cooked.
 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
Posts: 1318
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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Noah Figg wrote:
I'm not sure what this perennial/biennial plant is but I have been letting it grow. Any idea?


This is indeed a rumex, so just try it for the taste!
I find them bitter, and this one with some red tint especially, and not tender. I am almost sure there is something "not good" in it. Any more information welcome about it.... Might be edible only after boiling and quiting the water, I don't remember well.

This is perennial and with a long tap-root (well, my fennels' roots are bigger than my rumex roots here!).

I also have another variety of rumex here, that is running underground, and having much resistance to drought, and that is very palatable to hens.
So I am not fussy with it, as it does not grow in my veggy garden.
 
Noah Figg
Posts: 57
Location: DFW Area, Texas
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Thanks for the confirmation. It has since gone to seed and it has these dry reddish seed pods very similar to this picture I found online:


It is not in a great state right now, so I probably won't eat it for now, but I am distributing the seeds to new areas that need deeper root penetration (formerly grass). Even if not palatable, in my area it is a good producer of biomass and it required no work. That's the kind of plant I want to have around.

The bitter/possible anti-nutritive thing rumex crispus has is oxalic acid, similar to purslane, swiss chard and lamb's quarters.
 
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