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Messages - OrangeTxn

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General Discussion / Re: What did you do in the garden today ?
« on: November 09, 2017, 05:39:34 PM »
The first Black Krim tomatoes of the fall season. Yes, I picked them a few days early - I didn't want to risk losing them. That's okay. I'll let them finish ripening on the counter. It's a good day in the garden :)

General Discussion / Re: wood chip gardening (bte gardens)
« on: November 02, 2017, 04:36:37 AM »
On several occasions, I've thought about what a great gift a greenhouse would be.  Of course, I'm the one who wants to be the beneficiary or receiver of the gift.  LOL.  Here on the gulf coast, a greenhouse would only help for about 3 months of the year, but that's long enough to grow a LOT of microgreens and to get tomatoes started early.  Best of luck with your gift, and keep us posted on your progress. 

General Discussion / Re: Feeding your cabbages
« on: October 29, 2017, 06:44:53 AM »
Okay, I better add weekly "feeding" to my to do list.  I'm growing a few broccoli plants, and I have to confess, I've only given them Miracle grown once, right after transplanting the seedlings. 

General Discussion / Re: What did you do in the garden today ?
« on: October 25, 2017, 08:03:47 AM »
They don't wear a watch or have a calendar, but as the days get shorter and fall progresses, the mustard greens know it's time to grow. Like myself, they thrive in the shorter, cooler days. As you can see, I sow the seed on the thick side. I do thin them some to feed the chickens, but I tend to eat the greens while they're smaller - they don't quite have the heat they get as they get bigger. There are some collard greens at the far end of the row, too. They're not as visible, but they're chugging along as well. It's a good day in the garden 😀

Recipes / Fried Okra - Thanks Double B
« on: October 21, 2017, 08:11:56 PM »
Okralicious - when you have to make up your own word to describe something, you know it's gotta be good. My goal tonight was to bread some harvested okra for freezing. On the advice of Double B, I used mostly cornmeal with only a little flour and added cajun seasoning for the breading. It provides a lighter batter with a better okra taste. Of course, I had to fry-up and sample some. Definitely two thumbs up. And, yes, I ate it all myself. That's what happens when I'm left without adult supervision in the kitchen 😀  The remainder was placed on a cookie sheet then put into the freezer for overnight.  I'll bag it in the morning. 

General Discussion / Re: A summer time experiment.....growing under roof!
« on: October 21, 2017, 05:38:26 AM »
That's a great setup, and as others have mentioned, I like your recycling approach.  Thanks, too, for sharing the results.  Your objective and honest assessment of the process is appreciated.  Keep us posted on the spring garden.

General Discussion / Re: What did you do in the garden today ?
« on: October 21, 2017, 05:29:44 AM »
"It'll do." When things get busy and I'm running behind, that's my fallback philosophy. It certainly applies to my gardening. I started broccoli seed back in early September, then work, storms and bouts of laziness hit. Amazingly, the seedlings survived my neglect, so I finally felt obligated to plop them into the ground. And, plop, is an accurate description of the process. With no other options readily available, I unceremoniously stuck them into a portion of flowerbed I was planning to use for bulbs. Oh, well. "It is what it is," - another good operating philosophy. We'll see how they do.  Oh, and I'm going to go ahead and put in some of the bulbs.  The broccoli should be long gone by the time the bulbs start coming up.

Flowers / Re: What is Blooming?
« on: October 17, 2017, 07:00:08 AM »
To say that I'm simple minded is like saying Mount Everest is just another hill - it's a gross understatement. My appreciation of plants is reflected in that. I like bright colors and novelty. That's why I like Peruvian Purple Peppers. Of course, the alliteration and the fact that it's fun to say, helps. The purple hued leaves and stems accompanied by the multi-colored peppers give the impression of an oddball, Christmas tree. And, if you're one of those "interesting" individuals who's always wanted to fart flames while your mouth is on fire, you can nibble on the peppers, too. As for myself, other than a single, trial experience, I'll pass on that. I just like to pull up a chair and watch the grass grow while I admire the peppers' transition from purple to red. It's a beautiful thing 😀

Fruit Trees / Re: Banana Bonus
« on: October 16, 2017, 06:43:44 AM »
It's that time of year again - time to collect the fruit. I harvested several clusters of bananas from the banana trees a week ago. I then put them in the garage, and promptly forgot about them. Their change in color caught my attention as I walked by today. Two were ripe enough to eat, so I obliged. Not too bad. They taste like.....well.....a banana. How about that 😀 

As I've mentioned before, I like the banana trees for their tropical look.  Getting fruit is an unpredictable process, so I consider it a bonus when it happens. 

Flowers / Re: What is Blooming?
« on: October 12, 2017, 06:41:19 AM »
In southeast Texas, waiting for fall to show itself is a patient process. It doesn't arrive with any fanfare. A few of the trees change color, but it's subtle. Cooler temperatures? Don't hold your breath. The only dramatic cooldown you'll experience is if you lie down between the Oscar Mayer bologna and Kraft cheese slices in the Walmart deli section (Note: This is evidently frowned upon. What's up with that?) If you look carefully, though, fall is slipping in - and it's yellow. It shows itself in the many sunshine-hued wildflowers that beckon the pollinators to slow down and feast on the season ending pollen before winter arrives. These swamp sunflowers are an example. Accompanied by shorter days, they signal that cooler weather is on the way.....eventually. I just have to be patient.

General Discussion / Re: What did you do in the garden today ?
« on: October 10, 2017, 05:25:42 PM »
Double B

In the last week and a half, the tomato bushes have started loading up with blooms.  Some have dropped off, but most seem to be staying on the plant.  I even see a few tiny tomatoes that have set.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I will get a few ripe ones.  I just need a little cooler weather to help out.

General Discussion / Re: What did you do in the garden today ?
« on: October 10, 2017, 06:18:24 AM »
Its a race against time for the fall tomatoes (Black Krims). Things were going well, then Hurricane Harvey put a dent in the process. The plants survived, but struggled to bounce back. Now, even though were in the middle of October, the temps are staying at the 90 degree mark which doesn't help the set and development of fruit. Dang. We usually get our first frost around Thanksgiving, and that puts an end to the tomato party. My fingers are crossed that I at least get a few green tomatoes. Well see if Mother Nature cooperates. In the meantime, Ill count my blessings - its amazing that the plants survived at all.

General Discussion / Re: What did you do in the garden today ?
« on: September 14, 2017, 06:25:26 AM »
Due to limited space in the garden, I improvised. I planted cucumber seed in two 5-gal buckets, then surrounded the buckets with a contraption of fencing wire. If I'd only managed to use duct tape somewhere, I'd have earned my masters degree in hillbilly engineering😉. Afterwards, I stood back and let Mother Nature take her course. So far, so good. The vines are climbing the cage; the bees have found the blooms; and we have cucumber production in progress.  It's actually a good thing I planted the cucumbers this way.  I doubt they would have survived Hurricane Harvey if they'd been in the garden.  Instead, they were in an area relatively protected from the wind, and the buckets kept them above the water and saturated ground. 

Flowers / Re: What is Blooming?
« on: September 14, 2017, 06:15:24 AM »
A name can say a lot. Sometimes it's not just a means of identifying someone; it becomes an adjective or descriptive stereotype: the Fonz, Gilligan, Dumbo, Madonna, Elmer Fudd, Colonel Sanders, Harley Davidson, etc. Each illicits distinct images. Plants are that way, too. A example is the Spider Lily. It's also known as a Naked Lady, or a Hurricane Lily. It's that last nickname that sticks out so clearly this year. After the heavy rains associated with Harvey, the lilies have started making their annual, surprise appearance. Almost overnight, the bare bloomstalks sneak up on you and terminate in their amazing spider-like blooms. You have to look fast, though, because, like a cupcake sitting in a fat man's pantry, they disappear fast leaving only their ground hugging foliage behind. They're one of my favorite heirloom plants, and they're an automatic excuse to stop and turn around when I see their distinct burst of red color. Yep - they're showstopper in my book. in Orange, Texas.

General Discussion / Re: TROPICAL STORM HARVEY
« on: September 14, 2017, 05:36:38 AM »
From the heart, thank you for the expressions of concern.  Yes, Orange and the surrounding area were hit hard by Harvey.  We received roughly 30 inches of rain during a 36 hour period, but at least half of that came down in 8 to 10 hours.  There was standing water everywhere, including areas that have never flooded before.  My family and I were very fortunate.  We had water lapping at our foundation, but didn't get any in the house or cars.  Many others weren't so lucky.

Midmorning on Wednesday the 30th was my defining moment.  The storm had finally passed, I was standing shin-deep in water in the front yard, and I could hear helicopters start to come in low and slow.  It was the Coast Guard - I stood there incredulous and stunned.  They were looking for people signaling for help or stranded.  It was hard to process that it was really happening.

The greatest hardship my family and I had to endure was 5 days without power and the stress and strain from the process.  That's trivial compared to so many others who lost most of what they owned.

God Bless the Cajun Navy and all the other emergency response organizations who brought essentially anything that would float or fly and rescued those in peril.  And God Bless all those who have donated emergency supplies to help those in need.  It's greatly appreciated. 

Now that things are starting to slowly normalize, I'm starting to think about gardening again.  I managed to salvage the okra plants and some of the tomatoes.  Frankly, it amazes me that they survived the inundation of water and wind.  In fact, I had to stand the okra back up and secure them with fence posts.  And, so far, they've bounced back.

Thanks again for all the thoughtfulness and prayers.  It was appreciated.

God Bless.

General Discussion / Re: Rattlesnake pole beans
« on: August 28, 2017, 05:46:29 AM »

I plant my Rattlesnake pole beans similar to Donald.  I use fence posts and run wire fencing down the row as a trellis.  While not precise, the bean spacing is roughly 8 inches apart. 

Surprising, at least to me, is how high the beans will climb.  The top of my trellis is 7 ft, and the vines will outgrow that and start running horizontally.  I also learned the hard way that the vines on a trellis will catch a lot of wind, so your fence posts need to be securely set or the trellis can start leaning over.  If you're using a tee-pee setup, that shouldn't be an issue. 

Whatever the case, and however you grow them, the Rattlesnake beans are one of my family's favorites, so I grow them every year.

General Discussion / Re: TROPICAL STORM HARVEY
« on: August 28, 2017, 05:36:09 AM »
God Bless Gymgirl and all those who've been contending with Harvey since Friday night.  We're 100 miles east of Houston and the long arm of the storm reached us yesterday morning.  It started as intermittent, heavy downpours, mixed with moderate levels of rain and occasional dry spells.  It's now progressed to a steady downpour, and the accumulative amount of rain coming down is hard to appreciate.  And, unfortunately, it isn't predicted to stop for several more days.  Harvey will be one for the record books. 

General Discussion / Re: Paddle the Okra?
« on: August 25, 2017, 05:01:39 PM »

I want to wish you and your family the best.  We're expecting 15 inches of rain here in Orange.  In fact, I went out and took a pic of the garden just in case it floats away before Harvey moves on.  And God Bless all who are in the direct line of the storm.

General Discussion / Re: Paddle the Okra?
« on: August 25, 2017, 06:32:34 AM »
All those important "firsts" in life: your first best friend; your first date; your first marriage (let's hope there's only one); your first child; your first okra pod of the season. Okay - admittedly there's a pretty big drop-off between the last two, but the the okra pod is still in the top ten 😉 And, yes, I ate the pod shortly after taking the pic. Even raw, they're pretty tasty. Yep - the okra is finally producing.

General Discussion / Re: Paddle the Okra?
« on: August 18, 2017, 01:33:35 PM »
Evidently the okra was listening.  Threats of being swatted with a broom or having appendages chopped off evidently motivated it to finally bloom.  The first opened this morning.  It's been 65 days since it was planted. 

Granted, when my wife threatens to chase me around and swat me with a broom, I tend to motivate and get more done, too, so I can't blame the okra.  It's still interesting to me, though, that the plants are as large as they are before they started to produce. 

Oh, and the good advice award goes to Monroe, who told me to just be patient.  His guestimate of two additional weeks before the okra started to produce was very close. 

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