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Tag Archives: dallas gardens

Made For The Shade

Have you always wanted to grow a passion vine but have too much shade to grow the showy purple Passiflora incarnata?  Or perhaps you have a butterfly garden and are interested in providing one of the host plants for Gulf Fritillary, Julia and Zebra Longwing butterflies?  Well, if you don’t mind having a Lilliputian passion flower that is only about an inch in diameter, then Passiflora lutea is for you.

Passiflora lutea is also known as yellow passionflower, though the color of the flowers may range from chartreuse to off-white.  It is a native plant in Texas that blooms from May through September. In Dallas it is considered a perennial herbaceous climbing or trailing vine that can reach 15 feet in height.  Here it will loose its wide shallowly-lobed leaves in the winter but it comes back reliably in the spring.   The fall leaf color is a shade of yellow. Though considered somewhat drought tolerant once established, P. lutea prefers moist, rich soil.  Its flowers are followed by small black berries, which some say are edible but not very tasty.

 

Tiny Yellow Passionflower and Leaf From Carolyn’s Garden

I have P. lutea growing wild in my shady yard near White Rock Lake.  If I don’t keep an eye on it, the vines can grow rampantly in some spots.  However they are very easy to pull off from wherever they are growing.  I also have one pot of purple Passiflora incarnata and have noticed that the Gulf Fritillary butterfles tend to prefer to lay their eggs on P. incarnata rather than P. lutea.  However, one of my neighbors had P. lutea growing in her yard and had many caterpillars feeding on it.

One of the historic uses for the berries has been to make ink.  A recommended recipe is:  ½ cup of P. lutea berries, ½ tsp. salt, and ½ tsp. vinegar.  Crush the berries, and then strain the liquid through a fine sieve.  Then add the salt and vinegar.  Though this ink is not archival, the deep purple-black color is pretty

Yellow passionflower  is not often found in most garden centers. However,  Roseann Ferguson says that the annual plant sale at Texas Discovery Gardens will carry it.  The dates for this year’s fall sale are September 15-16 with the member-only sale taking place on the 15.  Many of their unusual plants sell out quickly, so get there early and consider becoming a member.  Further information about the plants that will be for sale will be posted on Texas Discovery Garden’s website (www.txdg.org) closer to the date of the sale.

Carolyn Bush

 

Arugula Has Its Day

Tuesday at Raincatcher’s we noticed that the arugula was bolting. Lovely little white blossoms crowned the tops of all the arugula plants in our raised bed.  The bees couldn’t have been happier.

However, it also reminded us that the time had come for one final harvest. Carefully we clipped our way through the plants with bees buzzing all around us.  A very generous amount of arugula, at least 6 pots full, was harvested and shared with our volunteers.

Here is a delightful recipe for using fresh, peppery arugula brought in straight from the garden. A nice addition to the salad would be 1 bunch fresh roasted beets.  Be creative, arugula supports a variety of many different ingredients.

 

Arugula Growing at The Raincatcher’s Garden

Arugula Salad

Ingredients:

¼ cup sliced natural almonds

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon minced shallot

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 ½ tablespoons red-wine vinegar

¼ teaspoon sugar

½ teaspoon salt

3 cups baby arugula (about 3 ounces)

3 or 4 radishes (thinly sliced)

Directions:

  1. Cook almonds in oil in a small skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally until pale golden. Cool almonds in oil, (nuts will get darker as they cool). Transfer almonds with a slotted spoon to a small bowl and season with salt.
  2. Stir together shallot, lemon juice, vinegar, sugar, salt and oil from almonds in a large bowl.
  3. Using a mandoline or very sharp knife, thinly slice radishes.
  4. Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle dressing over the top and toss well to coat the leaves.

Yield: 4 servings

Note: Freshly “pulled” radishes were added to the salad, as well.

 

 

 

 

Linda Alexander

Find out more about arugula here .

And here’s another way to use harvested arugula.

Raincatcher’s Fall Veggie Garden

Please take a minute to go to this link to see information about our fall vegetable gardens. This link contains names of varieties, spacing information, and you can enlarge the plot plan for easier viewing.  Thank you, Dorothy, for setting this up for us! https://www.growveg.com/garden-plan.aspx?p=777788

Don’t forget tomorrow’s garden tour and sale of our cookbook, A YEAR ON THE PLATE, at 5030 Shadywood.

Questions? Leave a comment, we will answer or call the Master Gardener help desk at 214 904 3053.

Ann

Buy Discounted Tickets Now for DCMGA 2016 Fall Garden Tour

alexander yard

Five spectacular gardens by members of the Dallas County Master Garden Association will be featured on the 2016 Garden Tour set for Saturday, October 1st.  Visitors will see formal English gardens on Swiss Avenue, edible landscaping in Preston Hollow, a buzzing pollinator garden in University Park, native perennials and ornamental grass in Old East Dallas and landscaping for gracious entertaining in Bluffview.

Make your tour complete by enjoying a seasonal Garden Brunch featuring recipes from A Year on the Plate, the new master gardener cookbook.  Guests will be treated to a menu chosen from fall produce, including Iced Herb Gazpacho and Artichoke Bites.  Brunch will be served on a lovely Bluffview patio shaded by live oak trees from 11am to 1pm the day of the tour.  Visitors can also preorder a copy of A Year on the Plate, the new DCMGA cookbook, at the same location.

Presale tour tickets will be $15 and on the day of the tour, $20 each. Tickets for the Garden Brunch must be purchased ahead at $15 each.  A limited number of brunch reservations will be taken.

Presale tickets for the brunch and tour will be available soon on the dallascountymastergardener.org website using PayPal. North Haven Gardens and selected Calloway’s Nurseries locations will sell only tour tickets in September.

Your ticket purchase will support a major fundraiser for the Dallas County Master Gardener Association. The 2016 Garden Tour is the first time DCMGA has opened its members’ gardens in three years. Please help make the tour a success by asking friends and neighbors to attend and by publicizing the tour in venues like Next Door. All profits go to fund the DCMGA educational programs and more than 30 community and school projects.

Elizabeth

GardenTourLogowithDate001

Gardening By The Yard

2016 FALL GARDENING SERIES

9:00 AM – NOON

  Raincatcher’s Garden Midway Hills Christian Church

 11001 Midway Road, Dallas, TX 75229

Cost: $15.00/session or $60/for all 5 sessions

 

July 23        Fall Into Gardening

Stephen Hudkins, County Extension Agent/Horticulture Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Dallas County

  • Establishing the raised bed garden- construction, soil, irrigation
  • Square foot garden design
  • Selecting the vegetable varieties
  • Planting dates for successful fall harvest

August 6     Water Conservation in the Home Landscape

Dr. Dotty Woodson, Extension Program Specialist – Water Resources Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

  • Rain Water Harvesting – Rain barrels and cisterns
  • Drip irrigation for landscape beds
  • Calculating needs and programming your lawn sprinkler system

 

August 20            The Earth-Kind® WaterWise Landscape

  • Dr. Steve George, Extension Horticultural Specialist Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service
  • Fall is the best time to plant shrubs and trees in your landscape. Come and learn what are the best proven Earth-Kind® plants to have in your landscape that will stand up to the tough soil and weather conditions that we have in the Dallas Metro area.

September 3                   Establishing a Backyard Vineyard

Michael Cook, Viticulture Specialist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

Come and learn the art of backyard viticulture production

  • When do I plant
  • What varieties are best for our area
  • What soil conditions do I need
  • What about frost
  • What do I need to have for support
  • When do I get to have my first glass of wine from my grapes

September 17       Healthy Home Lawns

                   Stephen Hudkins, County Extension Agent/Horticulture Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Dallas County

    • Fall maintenance- fertilization, aireation, weed, insect and disease control
    • Maintaining the lawn during the winter
    • The pros and cons of over-seeding
  • You will also have the opportunity to see five turf grass types which are growing in the demonstration plots as well as view the drip irrigation system that has been installed under each plot.

Reservations not required, pay at the door. Master Gardeners can receive CEU credit. Public is welcome!

Some Like It Hot!

It’s that time of year again when it is too hot to do anything, much less garden in the full sun.  Cool weather crops of greens, lettuce, cilantro, and others have either withered away in the heat or gone to seed.  Even tomatoes, as the temperature climbs up into the high nineties, are beginning to get stressed.  Somehow, at this time of year, purchasing bags of pre-cut and washed lettuce and spinach at the grocery store doesn’t seem so bad.  Yet there are some green leafy vegetables that not only like the heat but thrive in it.

Malabar Spinach (Basella albra and Basella rubra) is an edible vine in the family Basellaceae.  It features dark green, glossy, thick leaves. In its native habitat of the Indian Subcontinent, New Guinea, and Southeast Asia it is a perennial plant.  Here in Dallas it dies in the winter but will often come up readily (occasionally too readily) from seed as the weather warms up in the spring.  It goes by several common names such as vine spinach, Ceylon spinach, and climbing spinach among others.  From its name you can see that it needs something to twine around.  Even an upside down large tomato cage will work, though a large trellis is better because the vines grow quickly and need to be constantly “put in their place.”

Malabar Spinach

Malabar Spinach at Hope Community Garden

There are two varieties of Malabar Spinach. B. alba has green stems and B. rubra has red stems and is quite ornamental.  Though both are called “spinach,” they are only distantly related to spinach and have an entirely different texture and taste.  In general, only the leaves are eaten, though in Africa the stems are cooked too.  Younger leaves have a very mild taste, though larger leaves, especially if not watered well, can have a peppery, astringent flavor.  When harvesting, it is recommended that about every other one of the small to middle sized, younger leaves be picked.

Malabar Spinach,Basella rubra

Malabar Spinach,Basella rubra

Malabar Spinach, like okra, is known as a “slippery vegetable” and some people find the mucilaginous texture of the succulent leaves takes some getting used to.  However, Malabar Spinach is high in Vitamin A and C, iron, and calcium.  It is also high in protein per volume and is a good source of soluble fiber.  It holds up particularly well in stir fries, egg dishes and curries.  Many recipes can be found on the internet for ethnic dishes using Malabar Spinach.  It is also good raw mixed with lettuce and other vegetables for a nutritious summer salad.

Growing Malabar Spinach is easy—just wait until the ground temperature is 65-70 degrees (like okra) since the plant thrives in hot and humid temperatures.  White flowers produce black seeds that will often readily reseed themselves.   Some internet sites recommend scarifying the seeds to help with germination or soaking them but often this is not necessary if the soil is kept moist.

Humans are not the only “animals” that enjoy Malabar Spinach.  Dallas County Master Gardeners who volunteer at the Dallas Zoo have helped grow Malabar Spinach in the past for the Zoo’s animals.  Aaron R. Bussell, Animal Nutrition Supervisor at the zoo, says this about the role of Malabar Spinach at the Zoo :

We had a great crop of Malabar Spinach last summer from the Green Life Education Garden, and it lasted into winter.  It was a great source of “Novel” greens for our primates that can get bored eating the same greens on the market.  Novel foods are rotated into the diets to provide nutrition and enrichment.  The diets we produce at the Animal Nutrition Center for over 2000 animals every day are tailor made for 400 plus species at the Dallas Zoo.        We substituted the Malabar Spinach into our Mixed Greens Salad which is shredded for birds, mammals, and reptiles throughout the zoo, and our full time Nutritionist evaluated it as an appropriate substitute for spinach or greens for our primates like chimpanzees, gorillas, and monkeys.  Having more variety of greens to offer these sometimes picky eaters is a great way to provide enrichment for their daily routine.  Malabar Spinach was grown not only for its nutritional value, but it provided natural stimulation when our Western Lowland Gorillas striped the leaves from the vine when served.  It continued to grow much further into the fall and winter as well.  We ended up serving the last of the harvest still entwined onto the bamboo trellis it was grown on.  Great vegetable.  We look forward to growing more again.”

So…. if you want to grow a spinach substitute and a plant favored by both man and beast, try growing Malabar Spinach. You may discover you like it.

Carolyn

 

 

 

Revised Onion Harvesting at The Raincatcher’s Garden 2016

Onions have been harvested at the garden during the last two weeks.

They are now drying in our storage shed.

Fantastic Haul of Onions!

Fantastic Haul of Onions!

Harvest Onions when the tops begin to naturally fall over and turn brown. Dig the onions from the ground up with tops intact and to keep the bulb from being damaged. We used a garden knife or trowel to get them out of the ground carefully.  Onions that have bolted are past their prime and can be left to reseed.

As a reminder, here’s how to braid onions:

and here are notes on storing, eating, and lots of other onion thoughts in these articles: The Lowly Onion and Beginnings

Ann

 

 

 

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