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Tag Archives: Dallas County Master Gardeners

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

 

 

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

2018 Summer Garden Plans

Raincatcher’s Garden Plots Spring 2018

Several weeks ago I was the fly on the wall listening to the greats of our garden map out future garden beds.

As you know from our last post, our 3  trial beds will have Celebrity tomatoes. One bed will be fertilized with chemical fertilizer, one with organic and one will receive compost.  Tomatoes will be weighed and plants measured to determine which method of fertilization is best.

Jim has started Black Krim and Purple Cherokee Tomatoes by seed.

We will also grow San Marzano tomatoes at Linda’s suggestion. These are the only tomatoes we will grow without a cage. Linda had great success letting her San Marzano sprawl across her garden bed rather than being contained in a cage. Linda says the thick cover of the plant kept the squirrels away. Really, Linda? I am going to give that a try.

Pepper plants will be in #3.  Poblano, Serranos, Hot Boss Big Man and Sweet Gypsy are on our list. Sue savored the Sweet Gypsy peppers.  And yes, Hot Big Boss Man is the name of a hybrid pepper, a cross between an ancho and  poblano.  More info here.

Cucumbers and Eggplant to be planted later in bed #5 and notice long beans will also have a home there.

Contender and Goldmine beans will be planted April 1st.

Okra will be planted  in 6 when the onions and garlic are pulled.

Blackeyed peas will grow on a trellis all summer says Dorothy.

We are out of room! What about pumpkins you say? Jim suggested planting them around the fig tree in the field.

If you need a vegetable planting guide, here are two we have relied on:

North Texas Planting Guide by TAMU

NHG Planting Guide

Be sure to tap our new Master Gardener website for a wealth of information.

Ann Lamb

Plot Plan by Dorothy Shockley

We Are Serious About Homegrown Tomatoes!

Every year at Raincatcher’s Garden we have had a bumper crop of tomatoes.  Not so last year. Not enough water and too much fertilizer caused the problem. Well, we are not going to duplicate that this year.

Jeff Raska, our horticulture program assistant, has put the “R” back in our Research, Education, and Demo title. We are embarking on tomato trials with the goal of higher and better tomato production. Jeff reminds us that his tomato plants at his home produce 40 pounds of tomatoes per plant. Ok, Jeff! Game on!

Fertilization Comparison Study 2018

Week 1-March 20, 2018

Celebrity Tomatoes

Protocol:

  • Prepare three raised beds and plant two tomato plants in each. Fertilize each bed with a different fertilizer (compost, organic, chemical) following label directions.
  • Each fertilizer is slow release and requires re-application every eight weeks.
  • Each Tuesday, measure the plant heights and weigh and record any tomatoes that are harvested.

    Syann dutifully measuring tomato plants last year. She has agreed to help with our 2018 study.

     

Bed #9- Compost

Week 1 – 1 Tbsp Epsom salts, 1 cup Miracle-Gro Compost (1-0-0)

Week 2 – Plant tomatoes

Week 8 – 1 cup  Miracle-Gro Compost (1-0-0)

Week 16 – 1 cup Miracle-Gro Compost (1-0-0)

Bed #1- Organic Fertilizer

Week 1 – 1 Tbsp Epsom salts, 1 Tbsp  Blood Meal (12-0-0), 2 Tbsp Dr Earth (4-6-3)

Week 2 – Plant tomatoes

Week 8 – 1 Tbsp Bone Meal (6-9-0), 2 Tbsp Dr Earth (4-6-3)

Week 16 – 1 Tbsp Bone Meal (6-9-0), 2 Tbsp Dr Earth (4-6-3)

Bed  #2- Chemical Fertilizer

Week 1 – 1 Tbsp Epsom salts, 1 Tbsp Vigoro, Tomato & Vegetable (12-10-5)

Week 2 – Plant tomatoes

Week 8 – 1 Tbsp Vigoro,Bold Flowers (15-30-15)

Week 16 – 1 Tbsp Vigoro, Bold Flowers (15-30-15)

 

Celebrity tomatoes characteristics: All-American Winner Selection, 7 oz, determinate, harvest 70 days. Tom Wilten calls Celebrity the preeminent mid-sized tomato.

 

Fertlization Comparison study write up by Jim Dempsey.

Picture by Starla Willis

Ann Lamb

Read up on tomatoes by using our search box. We have recipes, growing tips, and advice to produce tons of tomatoes.

 

 

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