Thursday, July 19, 2012

Red Hot Pepper

Sure tomatoes are everyone's favorite red hot veggie fruit of the summer. But don't forget about sweet and spicy peppers! Now is a great time to put in pepper transplants. Spicy peppers are very easy to dry and can be used all year long.

Why do people enjoy spicy foods in hot climates? NPR has the answer: "These TRPV1 receptors respond to hot heat, but they also respond to chemicals in chili peppers, which is why chili peppers seem hot. "That's probably why chili peppers are so popular in hot countries because they cause sweating and activate a whole raft of mechanisms which lower the temperature," he says."

Guess What Came in the Mail Today? Peep Peep

The dark ones are silkies and the big yellow ones will be broilers. They are a bit too cute to be dinner but I will try not to get too attached. I will not name the broilers...I will not name the broilers....I the... broilers?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

How to Get A Deal at the Soil Yard

If you are your regular garden variety gardener, maybe you have never been to a soil yard. If you are about to attempt a big project or are planning to compost a large area- a soil yard can be worth the travel time.

How does it work? You can buy gravel, sand, soil, compost and mulch at most soil yards. We love Fertile Gardens. I think they have the best quality compost. I'll walk you through the process because I know it can be intimidating to go to a business that you have no prior experience with. Don't worry- you'll be a pro in no time.You drive up, go inside, say hello, (they are very friendly there), if you are not sure what you need - check out the price list behind the counter, then order, pay and get a ticket. It is also helpful to look online before you go:fertile gardens.

If you are going to get a jumbo bunch (1/2 yard or more) loaded into your truck, you drive up to the stop sign, give them your ticket and they dump it in with a tractor. If you are worried about some flying out of the back of your truck, they have a hose so you can spray down the top layer.

If you are buying a small amount, you order how many bags you need. You can buy bags to bag your own for about 25 cents if don't have any. Take your bags outside and there are 5 gallon buckets with the bottom cut out, you fill up the bucket twice, tie up your bag and Viola! 10 gallon bag of compost. This will be about as big as a large prepackaged bag you can buy at any nursery, big box store,Whole Foods Market, etc. But! And here is the whole whiz bang bo! It comes out to less than half the price per bag.

Now some soil yards sell junk so you need to make sure you know what/where you are purchasing.  We are really picky about compost but less picky about mulch or gravel. Use your best judgement- you can even go look at the actual pile of compost before purchasing. Fertile Gardens specializes in organic and natural so this is the really good stuff. When you see an * by any product there, that means it is weed free. Weed free means they heat the piles up enough to kill any weed seeds or bad bugs. You can also get a steal on DE by bagging your own. It's really worth a go-see.
Hot tip: Our favorite compost is the turkey, horse, molasses. It is more expensive but worth it.

If you are in Austin- you are in luck- you can do the exact same thing at Natural Gardener. There you can basically bag your own Ladybug for half price! Love Natural Gardener.

So go pick up your sweet deal on mulch, gravel, compost, soil! More on mulch coming soon. I know you are waiting with baited breath. MULCHAPALOSA 2012!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sowing San Antonio July

A Man, A Baby, and A Machete
What vegetables can you plant in San Antonio and Austin in July?

Now is the time to get those tomato transplants in! You may still have Spring tomatoes but you will want even more in Fall! Think of canning some fresh tomato sauce for winter. Yum Yum Yum.

You can also plant corn seeds, eggplant transplants, warm season greens, and pepper transplants. This is the very end of the time to try Okra if you haven't put any in yet.

DHITW dug up our Saliva bed in the front and replaced it with a corn field. Good thing our neighbors are really fabulous. Here are some hot tips on planting corn, you know, in case you want to plant a corn field in your front yard too.

Aren't These Seeds So Fun?
"It would be a lot easier to do this if you would hold the baby."

We plant at least two or three in a hole. Then you are more likely to get one growing where you want. It is also better to plant corn in a square clump instead of rows. If your corn plant is growing tall but not getting any corn- it is usually because they are not getting pollinated. The back of our package of seeds said something about planting two long rows- I don't recommend that. Better to plant three or four shorter rows- then it is easier for the corn to be pollinated.
Ornamental Corn- The Decor Options are Endless

We planted some of this decorative colored corn because DKITW loved it. When I told her it was for decorating but not eating she laughed hysterically and said, "Mama who would decorate with corn??" I guess we will in the fall...?

"One for the rook, one for the crow, one to rot and one to grow."

What the heck is a rook?

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Sustainable Book Club


Even as much as I love to read- I have never been in a book club. But no time like the present eh? I love reading all these sustainable living books and they inspire so many ideas in me and I want to talk to everyone about them. What is feasible here in town, or in my backyard? How can we adapt these ideas for Texas? So I am starting The Sustainable Book Club! A few old friends and new friends will gather in real life to discuss the monthly books and share ideas. If you are here in town, I invite you to join us.

I will also be hosting The Sustainable Book Club online on this blog so I hope everyone who wants to will read along with us and share their ideas and inspirations. I promise to look into how to run a book club... you know...sometime soon. I would love suggestions of books or topics you want to find out more about for next month.

In the mean time- I have picked our first book! It is one of my favorites- Farm City by Novella Carpenter. I haven't read it in a few years so it will be new to me all over again. I'm letting everyone know now- so they can go about finding the book while I work out the book club details. I just checked and the San Antonio Library has 10 copies and; if you don't know about this, I'm about to blow your mind, you can also e-check it out for your e-reader. (Isn't that so cool?!) You can also purchase it from your friendly local book seller- say The Twig in San Antonio or Book People in Austin. (You will want to call ahead to The Twig. As the name suggests, they are petite and might need to order it for you) You can also click this link: Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer
 or the photo above to order it from Amazon.* I changed my mind- I am no longer using Amazon affiliate links. Or any affiliate links. I want everyone to be assured I am only recommending products or services I really use and enjoy.

Can't wait to discuss this book with you online and in person.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Sowing San Antonio July

A Plant by Any Other Name: Southern Peas, Cow Peas, Black-Eyed Peas

What vegetables can I plant in the beginning of July in San Antonio or Austin?

Right now you can plan Warm Season Greens, Okra, and Southern Peas.

What are warm season greens? Some ideas: Amaranth, Malabar Spinach and Purslane.  Purslane is often considered a weed-we don't plant any but it grows anyways and you can eat it. You probably have some growing in your yard right now.

In about a week you can start planting eggplant transplants and tomato transplants.

A brand new gardener asked me what transplants are. They are just the plants you buy at the nursery. Basically, plants as opposed to seeds. Check back with us July 17th to find out what you can plant during the middle of the month. Happy Gardening Texans!