It seems vegetable-gardening planting is finally going on all over the US now. Aaaaaahhhhh the veggie garden – how I love it. Here in NE Texas (zone 8) I typically plant heirloom seeds in my ‘Indoor Greenhouse’ in February and transplant those heirloom seedlings into my garden after the danger of frost is done.
But this year I had a naughty bull jump our garden fence& decimate all of the tender seedlings. I had to start over. I did replant many of my heirloom seeds but I ended up buying a jalapeno plant. It was so small that the winds were pretty rough on it. So I needed to find a way to protect it from the wind. (and free-range chickens) Use Whatcha Got, y’all!
Y’all remember last month the bull hopped the garden fence & tromped around the wet soil decimating my newly-planted garden? Well I smoothed down the soil best I could and basically had to start over. Because of this damage my garden was now waaaaaay behind schedule! But I’m hopeful I’ll be still be able to harvest lots from my garden this year. Come see the damage recovery report for May.
Around the end of March RancherMan & I start thinking about splitting our beehives. Splitting a hive accomplishes 2 things – it expands the number of hives in your apiary. (yea!) But it also gives the bees a little elbow room by putting empty frames in each hive allowing for expansion.
You see, if the bees get to thinking things are too cramped, they’ll swarm looking for more space. And that’s something no beekeeper wants since there’s been lots of time & effort into managing their apiary. We did our splits by swapping empty frames for full ones. It was easy!
It’s true I have to grow a garden every year. I mean *HAVE* to! It’s something that’s in my blood and not having a veggie garden is just not an option for me.
But recently I got to thinking, there are several reasons I love to garden – it’s not just a hobby. It’s good for me in so many ways. I mean, flower gardens are beautiful and manicured lawns are lovely too. But I’d rather put my outdoor effort into something that will benefit me in 4 important life-changing ways. And here’s the good news – it can be life-changing for you too. Come see!
Here in Texas it’s typically very hot and dry during our summertime months. So I’m careful to mulch our garden heavily. Mulching helps the plants in many ways. It not only conserves that precious moisture, but it also moderates soil temps. I like to mulch with natural materials whenever possible. A typical gardening year will see me mulching with grass clippings, leaves or spent hay.
But I have a section of my garden that holds my Concord Grapevine. I’ve trained it to grow along the fence. It’s LOADED with grapes! But I’ve also vowed to keep the Bermuda grass from creeping into my garden. So all the walkways in the garden plus a wide perimeter swath is mulched with free wood chips.
But the grapevine is right at the fenceline. So to keep bermuda from creeping in around the grapevine I surrounded it with 3 bales of wheat straw. The purpose was just to deny sneaky Bermuda the sunlight as it attempts to grow beneath the bales to get into my garden.
But those straw bales are several years old now. They’re just spent and starting to deteriorate. I need to replace them.
Our apiary started out with two established single-deep beehives. That first beehive stand was built using repurposed 2″x6″ boards that were 6-ft long from raised beds that we tore out. We added a deep box to each hive last year & saw those bees safely through the winter.
This spring we split them into four hives. Now we needed another hive stand so we built another like the first from purchased 2″x6″ boards. Then we caught not one, not two, but FOURBee Swarms this spring! (I KNOW, how exciting!!)
But these swarms are being caught & brought to our fledgling apiary faster than we can build stands. RancherMan decided to change direction. He wanted to assemble the next stands using concrete cinder blocks and 4″x4″ 5-ft long wood posts.
Unfortunately our area of NE Texas has slipped into yet another drought this year. Oh there’s been plenty of rain in surrounding areas but it’s mostly managed to miss our homestead! What we have gotten is lots of the cloudiness associated with that precious rain. But so many cloudy days means my garden is really behind where it should be this time of year. My tomatoes are nowhere near producing yet and my peppers are all still tiny. But I’ve had some successes too. C’mon into my garden, y’all. I’ll give you the tour!