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May Harvest At The Raincatcher’s Garden

A wheelbarrow of leeks, onions, garlic. Bush beans are growing in raised bed behind the harvest and our mulch piles are in the upper right corner.

Blackberry Pickings; these will make delicious jelly or cobblers.

This is a view of our raised beds brimming with healthy veggie plants and bordered by grapevines. You can see Dorothy and Syann measuring tomatoes in Bed #1.

Ann Lamb

Why would you measure tomatoes plants and weigh harvest? 

Growing blackberries in Dallas

 

 

Garden Bloggers Tour Austin Gardens

Garden bloggers from all over the United States, Canada and England gathered in Austin in early May to tour the finest and best gardens.  The Lady Bird Johnson Wildlife Center, the Zilker Botanical gardens and fourteen private gardens were viewed over three days. The first night’s event started at the Austin Central Library where we enjoyed their rooftop sustainable garden with a view of Shoal Creek and Lady Bird Lake. This eco-friendly building and its landscape were a perfect start for the Garden Blogger’s Fling.

Rooftop Garden of Austin Central Library

We saw many garden styles from large estates to cottage plots. All of them shared a fondness for yucca and agave (I have never seen so many different kinds), deer resistant plants, water-conserving methods, and phenomenal hardscaping (usually using rocks from their own property.)

Yucca baccata in front of sun-baked limestone wall

What we didn’t see in Austin is a story in itself: no bedding plants and hardly any bushes because of deer pressure and no weeds because of the true grit of the owners themselves or in some cases, staff.

I am awed by my fellow Texas gardeners.  We say gardening in Dallas is tough but Austin gardeners may be tougher!  Less water, rocky soil and more critter problems (deer bedding down in the garden, eating the garden and rutting in the garden.) In the truest sense, they turned problems into brilliant design.

Starla and I want to share pictures from the Garden Bloggers Fling 2018 over the next few weeks. We think you will be inspired, learn and renew your commitment to good gardening.

Ann Lamb

April Box Lunches

Hungering for the what was in the box lunches at the April Master Gardener meeting?

April Box Lunches Prepared by Master Gardeners

Here’s our menu:

Three finger sandwiches made with jalapeno pimento cheese, salad burnet spread  and almond chicken salad,* marinated vegetables and *snicker doodle cookies and *apricot bars.

 

Marinated Vegetables

Trio of garnished finger sandwiches!

Almond Chicken Salad

6 cups cooked chicken breast, cut into ½ inch cubes

2 cups celery, thinly sliced, about ¼ inch

1 cup red onions, finely chopped

3 green onions, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup mayonnaise (good quality prepared)

¾ cup sour cream

Mexican Mint Marigold, garden view!

1 tablespoon fresh Mexican Mint Marigold, finely chopped

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon pepper, freshly ground

¾ cup golden raisins

1½ cups sliced almonds, toasted

Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Toss lightly until combined. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

Yield: Makes 12 cups

Linda Alexander

*Marinated vegetables, Grandmother’s favorite snicker doodle cookies, and apricot bar recipes are available by asking Linda or leaving a comment and she will contact you.

 

Harvest It and They Will (be) Come(ly)

One of the concerns about edible landscaping is that if you eat your edibles, you’ll lose your landscape!  That’s a valid concern.  So here at the Edible Landscape of Raincatcher’s garden, we have pictorial proof to poof away your fears!  We planted our circle of greens in our shade bed about two months ago from 6-inch transplants.  The bunnies in our neighborhood really liked the swiss chard, so we added a little fence to discourage their visits.

Our bed of greens this morning when we arrived.  Full and lush and beautiful.  Can’t you see that gracing your front yard?

Our bed of greens this morning when we arrived.  No, wait!  This is After we harvested from it.  Can you tell the difference?  Maybe it looks even a little more neat and tidy.  I guess maybe we didn’t harvest too much from it.

Our harvest.  Really!  How many people could you feed with all these lovely greens?  We’ve got kale, mustard greens, French sorrel,  parsley and spinach and we can use them raw in a salad or steamed, tossed in a little cream sauce over pasta, or chopped up and thrown into a soup.  If you like a little challenge, how about juicing them and using the juice to make a green pasta?  Or chopping  and mixing with bread dough for rolls?  If this was in your yard, you could harvest a little every day and no one would know you’ve been eating your landscape.

There’s going to be a talk on Edible Landscaping at 11001 Midway Road on Thursday, June 28 at the June Master Gardener meeting. Lecture starts at noon.  Come join us and see our edible landscape in person.  Or stop by any Tuesday morning, we’ll be out there, harvesting our greens.

“This post comes from The  Edible Landscape team at Raincatcher’s,
Lisa Centala
Pictures by Starla Willis

Poppies In My Garden And Bees

Like the title of the book All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten, I could say all the plants I really need  to know came from  Master Gardeners. For example, these beautiful poppies.

 

They self seed all over my garden and at Raincatcher’s.

A close up tells the story: bees also love poppies!

This loaded honey bee is happy about the choice of flowers in my garden, which is something to consider! Note, bees prefer these single petal blooms rather than double.

Load up on information about poppies. Remember to sow seeds in the fall.

Poppies

Poppy and Larkspur Planting

Ann Lamb

Wildflowers at the Farm!

First of all, I need to confess this is not my farm and these are not my pictures or Starla’s.

Patti Brewer from the Master Gardener class of 2012 took these pictures and runs the family farm pictured below with her husband and family.

Patti, where is this crazy beautiful place?

The farm is in Lone Camp, Palo Pinto county, Texas.   Palo Pinto county is the beginning of the northern hill country.  I am not sure of our farm’s exact date of purchase but my mom who was born there would be 100 years old this year. Land was purchased at different times and some of it was owned by my great grandparents. Some of the land was partitioned to their sons and daughters including my grandfather.

Your farm is meaningful to your family but also important in terms of habitat. Who shares your farm?

Wild life on this farm include turkey, dove, deer, aoudad-or Barbary sheep, coyotes, cotton tail rabbits, roadrunners, hawks, buzzards and skunks. Of course, we have rattlesnakes and copperheads.We occasionally see horned toad lizards and have a decades old hill of red ants that stretches as wide as my outstretched arms reach. Red ants are  #1 on the diet for horned toads. We have Texas spiny lizards too. Birds we see are hummers, house wrens,  cardinals, blue jays,tufted titmouses, chickadees, meadowlarks, whippoorwills,  and owls. We have once or twice seen painted buntings. In the area are habitats of golden cheeked warblers, an endangered bird.

We have 5 tanks on the ranch and seasonal creeks and a rocky canyon area where the aoudads hang out.

 Patti,  Could you tell us about the barn?
The barn used to hold livestock feed bags.  A hand cranked dried corn shucker driven by gears was in barn until it was stolen. Field corn was grown by my grandfather for supplements for cattle and chickens. It was fun to crank that old thing. The corn shuck was ejected when the kernels all popped off!

What about the wildflowers. We are drinking them in!!! Just gorgeous!

These pictures are from March/April 2017, when we had a trifecta of blooms at one time.

Bluebonnets, pink phlox, orange Indian paintbrush and crossvine on the fence.
This year we only had phlox and bluebonnets at the same time, but amazingly thick stands of bluebonnets.

Bluebonnets, we can’t get enough!

 More about the wildflowers:  we do not mow any bluebonnets until seeds are thrown out. The first mowing of the bluebonnets occurs usually right before July 4th. Mowing continues through about late August if  needed. Texas heat burns everything up by August.  Harvested bluebonnet seeds are given to friends. If you have never been in a field of bluebonnets that are throwing off their dried seeds, then you are missing something to behold.  What you hear sounds just like popping popcorn on the stove.  The first time I heard this I thought a rattlesnake was very close to me in the knee high bluebonnets!

Indian Paintbrush blazing!

The Indian paintbrushes are mostly in pastures that we don’t mow. Unfortunately, our cows  eat the Indian paintbrush that grow in their pastures.  About May or June every year we have another field that sprouts  Indian blankets and then that field is not mowed until the seeds are dried on the plants.  We  have an abundance of antelope horn milkweed and some butterfly weed and I have planted frost weed for years.
 We  see a tremendous variety of butterflies including Monarchs.  Bumble bees and honey bees are busy at our farm. Sitting outside on a summer evening listening to the hum of the honeybees is one of my favorite things to do.

Patti Brewer

Wildflowers at Raincatcher’s

 

Raincatcher’s Plant Sale, April 26, 2018

Our annual plant sale will be held in conjunction with the April 26, 2018 meeting of the Dallas
County Master Gardener Association. Before the meeting: 10:00 – 11:30 After the meeting:
1:00 – 2:00

 

Come shop the great variety of plants we have to offer!! We have divided our perennials,
potted volunteers, started seeds, taken cuttings, dug bulbs..

We have herbs, succulents,
bulbs, houseplants, Louisiana iris, annuals, perennials, natives and adapted plants as well as
ornamental plant markers and other garden items.

 

Don’t forget our tomato and pepper plants, ready to go home with you!

 

Cash or Check preferred….Credit Cards accepted

11001 Midway Road, Dallas, Texas

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