Another Spring Weekend in the Garden

Well, things seem to be humming along outside. I have strawberries, blackberries, Viva Italia tomatoes and broccoli all setting fruit (though, broccoli isn’t technically a fruit… a head or a crown instead.) The blackberries are unexpected because I was under the impression the fruit would develop on this year’s growth but next year. In other words, on old growth. The canes I planted this year, however must be considered last year’s growth, so maybe that explains it.

Stawberry on straw

Viva Italia tomato

Blackberry

Broccoli

Sunday I took the boy outside. He loves it. He’s a brave little explorer, and seemingly pretty tough, too. It’s not uncommon to find him bouldering over the various landscape features, carefully picking his way with huff-puffs of determination, and gingerly brushing the plants aside or avoiding them. So far he has not ripped any up. Most of the time, he dabbles in whatever dirt he can find, or waves sticks around. Sometimes he wanders, but he hasn’t gone too far yet. It helps that the back yard is enclosed.

Helper

While he explored, I modified my sprinkler system. I replaced one of the high-volume reciprocating heads with a drip irrigation tap and half-inch tubing. I also ran several eighth-inch tubes and spray heads to cover much of the former area of the higher-pressure head. One immediate and obvious benefit is decreased water consumption, and better-targeted watering. However, the nicest benefit so far is that the “chik-chik-chik” sound of the old head has been replaced by a gentle hiss. Watering just got a lot quieter.

My cutworm problems are in remission, and the green worms that were eating the lettuce are completely gone, too. Perhaps this was the application of Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki last week, the cooler weather, or the worms are just in natural decline having passed whatever their season is. This seems like a nice reprieve, though I know other pests will soon be along to fill the voids.

In non-food news…
I met with a group of Austin garden bloggers for the first time this weekend at the home and gardens of one of the group’s members. It was wonderful to meet all these dedicated gardeners and plant aficionados. Part of the fun was a plant swap. And although I was remiss in taking anything, I brought back several nice natives that I installed around my yard. Among the haul: Mexican buckeye, Hill Country penstemon, Gregg’s mistflower, and a tradescantia gigantea. I’m excited about all these plants, and hope they do well.

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