Blank Slate, Spring Garden Update

“No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

Thanks to the Deep Freeze of 2017, the 2-year old Jalapeno pepper and Eggplant plants — as well as a few other variety — finally bit the dust. They ain’t comin’ back, unless any of their volunteer seeds somehow make a stand through the thick leaf mulch.

Without the perpetual bushy-ness of these large plants, the garden now looks bare: a blank slate.

In removing the dead wood, I noticed a couple of other volunteers came up, notably a couple of heads of Romaine lettuce, and an Avocado tree, whose proximity to the remaining Brussels sprouts is a suitable location for them (for me) to grow. As a general rule, I don’t pull any volunteer plants, but it’s always nice when I don’t have to somehow trip and work around them as I plan for the coming growing season.

Avocado (foreground)
Romaine and sprouts (background)

The freeze nearly destroyed the Variegated ginger and the Pink jasmine, but they are showing signs of life from below. Thankfully, temperatures in the teens and twenties didn’t last for more than a couple of days, so the ground beneath the foliage stayed just warm enough.

But the normally beautiful white and pink flower explosion of the jasmine screen is now brown and dead. As it hides the serendipity garden and chip pile from the HOA’s prying eyes, it will have to stay as is.

Hopefully, it will green up quickly, before the violation notices arrive in the mailbox.

The Not-so-pretty Jasmine Screen

I spent exactly a half an hour flipping the compost pile for the first time of the year; it will get flipped again in the fall once the oppressive heat of summer subsides. More plants — probably fruits of some kind — will be placed into this 4×4 space, already infused with nutrients from the previous year’s compost.

As it’s looking to be a very hot summer, I purchased $30 worth of nightshade fruits, Tomato, Bell pepper, and Jalapeno pepper, each already 6 inches tall. ‘Plant deeply’ and using compost-able pots is the method for tomato transplants, as the deep taproot will help minimize transplant shock and the need for supplemental watering later on.

In the Houston area, it’s always good to get a head start on nightshades so we can enjoy the fruits before the triple-digit temps hit early summer. Mine is a drought hardy space: wimply plants need not apply.

Tomato and Pepper Spot
Garlic Chive and Leek,
Mystery Herbs and Milkweed Remain
Water for Birds

Fennel, Lemon Balm, Sorrel Survivors

Keyhole Gets ‘Plugged’
Cabbage, Kale, Tomato
Fennel, Sorrel, Garlic Chive (Survivors)

Once the rains subside, the soil for several randomly placed 4×4 beds will be exposed so that seeds for a variety of root and leaf crops can be dropped in and germinated. Once sprouted and thinned, the leaf matter will be re-spread over the area to conserve soil moisture, and my work in the garden is done until fall.

Finished, that is, except for picking fruits and veggies and looking out for cool critters to explore and learn about, because that’s what lazy gardening is all about, isn’t it?

What’s in your garden?

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