Category: Homesteading

Fall Planted Garlic in North Central Texas

After posting pics of planting garlic in my garden in the fall, I had a number of people comment and message me asking for information, so I figured I’d share about my garlic growing experience.

I’ve always read that you shouldn’t use grocery store garlic for planting. Well… In the past, that’s all I’ve used. I did get organic heads, at least. This was my first year to order from a garlic nursery, so hopefully it grows as well as my grocery store garlic did!

The are actually two types of garlic: hard neck and soft neck. It’s my limited understanding that which one you grow depends on your climate. Here in North Central Texas, I went with a soft neck garlic called Texas Rose.

In October, I ordered from The Garlic Store, though I don’t see Texas Rose listed on their website at this time of this writing. It arrived quickly and I planted on October 27.

I planted one clove about every four inches, then recovered the soil with my wood chip mulch. And that’s it!

 

Update: Late Winter, February 15

Garlic has been growing well! My fall garden produced well and became chicken feed in January (thanks to a hole in the fence that was made by the goats, but not big enough for the goats). Because of the strong flavor, the garlic survived just fine.

It’s about two feet tall, which I think is probably about full height.

I’ll update again as the garlic progresses! Now it’s time for me to cut back the asparagus and perennial flowers to prepare for the spring growth!

 

Resources:

My favorite flowers for the sweltering Texas summer heat

I am one of those people who have favorite words. Plethora, for example, has always tickled my fancy. And sweltering. Living in Texas, I get to use those magnificent, king sized words quite often!

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But y’all, this is a bit much! We started out with heat indexes around 105° in late June, then had a little relief the first week of July (when I was gone), and it seems to be climbing since! This is the external temperature recorded in my minivan last Wednesday… while we were moving! (photo by my son in the passenger seat)

So what’s a Texas gardener to do?

Well, not much right now, if your garden is in full sun.

So I’ll back up to last month when our temperatures were only hovering around 100°. The heat baked or stunted most of my vegetables, but a few bloomers have risen to the top of my list for their high heat, low water tolerance, and beautiful display.

The Belle of this year’s garden has been the lovely zinnias.

I had some zinnias from seeds saved in previous years. They originally were given to me by a gardening friend. There used to be several colors, but over the years, only pink lasted. This year I added more seeds : Purple Prince (of course) and a mixed pouch.

The tiny red spider zinnias have reseeded themselves for about three years now. The heat did cause many blooms to be to be smaller this year, but these are always that tiny.

The next superstar has been my sunflowers.

In the past, I stuck to the Skyscraper sunflowers because I liked having the giant bloom. But that was so much growth and just one bloom per plant.

This year, I tried Lemon Queen and Giant Primrose, from Baker Creek, for multiple blooms and I found a new love!

And look how lovely they are together!

Of course, I also have one “weed” aka a native sunflower that is found in our pastures, that I allowed to grow in my garden space. Here’s why – when the temp is soaring well over 100, nothing phases this natural beauty!

Is big and gangly with many spent blossoms and beauties at the same time. And my bumbles love it.

What’s your favorite flower for summer?

 

Resources:

Heirloom Seeds – This is the first company I ever used for heirloom seed and they’ve always been excellent seed source!

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds – This is the second year I’ve used Baker Creek.  I didn’t have much success with this year’s seeds, but that is probably largely due to the extreme weather we’ve had this year.

The beautiful hair clip my daughter is wearing in the big sunflower picture, is from the wonderful company I represent!

When life gives you zucchini

My kids’ favorite vegetable is zucchini. Yep, all of them just LOVE the stuff!  They’d eat it morning, noon & night!  Here’s the recipe I use that got them hooked on this amazing vegetable:

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

  • 1 1/2 c shredded, raw zucchini
  • 1 c whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/4 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t pink Himalayan salt
  • 1/2 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 t ground allspice
  • 1/2 c applesauce
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1/2 c dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 3/4 c chocolate chips (I mix milk chocolate & semi-sweet chips)

Preheat oven to 350* and grease or spray loaf pan.  Grate zucchini and set aside.  Does not need to be squeezed dry.

In mixer bowl, beat together the applesauce, sugars, eggs, vanilla until well blended.  With mixer running, add in the dry ingredients, starting with the spices first, then cocoa, then flour.  Slow mixer, or fold in grated zucchini.  Fold in chocolate chips.

Scrape into the prepared pan and bake until tester comes out clean, about 55 minutes.  Of course, if you hit a chocolate chip, your tester will not be clean, so it may take several tests. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to cool on a rack.

So, that’s why zucchini is my kids’ favorite vegetable.  Go figure.

Photos possibly coming soon…

Why do goats have those weird rectangular pupils?

We have a couple of crazy goats here on the homestead. And one very inquisitive thirteen-year-old boy. Yesterday’s question of the day (ok, one of the many!):

Why do the goats have such weird eyes?

So we did a little supervised googling.

Yes, I said that. My teen’s online activity is supervised.

Anyway. We learned a few interesting things about goat eyes, and other pupils, as well.

Thorin, our Nigerian Dwarf

Turns out that the horizontal, rectangular pupil of a goat, and other animals, allow them to see a wide range around itself (up to 280° around themselves), but they have limited vertical range. This extended range of horizontal vision helps them protect themselves. They are also large enough that aerial predation is not really a problem.

We also learned that the narrower the pupil is, horizontally, the greater the accuracy of depth perception in the peripheral vision. So they can see more around them, with greater accuracy. What an ingenious design!

Rectangular pupils are most often found in animals that are considered prey, such as goats, sheep, octopuses, toads, horses and even hippopotamus. (The vertical slit pupil is usually predatory.)

See if you can identify these eyes…