I Grow (Some) Of My Own

I’ve enjoyed posts from participants of the “virtual garden club” Dear Friend and Gardener in recent months. Hosted jointly by Carol Michel of May Dreams Gardens, Mary Ann Newcomer of Gardens of the Wild, Wild West, and Dee Nash of Red Dirt Ramblings, this gardening club encourages gardeners who grow their own food and flowers.  The focus of Dear Friend and Gardener is on fruit, vegetable, and all manner of edible production, but can include ruminations on growing gorgeous flowers, nattering about native plants, or gabbing about garden design. By clicking on the badge to the right, you too can read adventures in edibles gardening and tales of culinary happenings.

My personal gardening interests lean primarily to learning about and experimenting with native Texas plants, water-wise landscaping, coupled with wildlife gardening. However,  I aim to produce some home-grown herbs and veggies.  It’s a mixed veggie bag for me because I don’t have many spots of full sun on my property, so my edibles real estate is limited.   This past year, I’ve experimented with growing vegetables, tomatoes, and herbs in a vertical garden, The Green Tower.  Click here to read about the design and building of our Green Tower (GT) and here, for a late summer update on how the GT worked as an edibles garden.


Currently, for the fall garden, I have planted one Cherokee Purple tomato, which has some blossoms,


and a cherry tomato,


which has more blossoms.  The basil is crazy gorgeous,


…I can’t eat enough of it. Really, I put those leaves in everything, it seems.  I think it’s way past time to make pesto.  Lots of pesto.

I left this pepper plant from last spring and it’s blooming,


…but I’ll be surprised if it produces anything this late in the year.   The greens seeds that I’ve sprinkled on the top of the GT haven’t germinated at the rate that I’d hoped.  My plan was to seed three types of my favorite greens, let them germinate, then transplant to the sides of the GT for maturity and eventual harvest.  The plan might still work as we segue into cooler/wetter weather patterns, but so far, the Red Sails, Lactuca sativa, lettuce seedlings are the most successful,


…and that’s not saying much.  The Italian Lacinato Kale, Brassica oleracea,  is a bit of a bust with a grand total of one seedling,


…and it’s a big zilch for the Bloomsdale Spinach, Spinacia oleracea.  Ever hopeful, I’ve seeded out more of all of the above and here in Austin, it’s now consistently cooler and wetter–I hope.  Time will tell whether these greens will germinate and grow, but I can produce cool season greens throughout winter and into spring.

Aside from the honey that my little bees make (which really, I can’t take credit for) and some other herbs in planted in the perennial gardens, that’s it for me.  I like the idea of sharing my harvest, such as it is, with others–even if it is through cyberspace.

More about the fall/winter greens fest, if there is one, another time!


6 thoughts on “I Grow (Some) Of My Own

  1. =) Wow. Your tower really filled out. Looks great. You do have an edible growing abundantly all around it. Turk’s Cap fruit tastes (to me) like a mild sweet cucumber and can be used to make a jelly or eaten out of hand. Quite yummy. And I saw on another Austin based blog that the flowers can be used to make a beverage a bit like hibiscus tea. http://avastdesert.wordpress.com/2014/09/20/turks-cap-tea/ But wait there’s more! haha The young leaves make a good spinach substitute.


    • I’ve always left the Turk’s Cap for the birds-n-bees-n-butterflies. I didn’t even know about all the edibles for people that it produces. The tower looks more filled out than it is–there’s lots around it and I moved my bougainvilleas to my front driveway because they were not getting enough sun in back and they are my favorite cheap thrill plant–and I’ve had them for years. But the tomato cages are great places for birds to land and survey and I had a decent spring/summer harvest. Onward to cooler temps and greens. And pesto.


  2. That reminds me – as soon as this last front moves through I have arugula seed to get out. I don’t know if we’ll get dramatic storms later this AM or not but it certainly LOOKS possible with the sudden appearance of that line of dark clouds!

    Now that’s what I’d call a Tower of Power! Your basil plants look so happy – I bet finches are loving the seeds as well. You can use basil flowers (best when they first appear) sprinkled on pasta, in salads, anywhere you’d use the leaves. They carry the same flavor, only they look a little more elegant doing so. Do you ever freeze pesto?


    • Arugula. I forgot about arugula. Oh well, until I have more germination from what I’ve seeded, it’s probably best. The basil is happy and I haven’t tried freezing basil, but I will. I like the suggestion of sprinkling seeds–thanks! I’ll try it. I need to do something long-lasting with the basil–it’s just too beautiful and lush to let it sit there, being gorgeous.


  3. Tina your veg garden tower is wonderful…and to have tomatoes growing now oh how I wish. You have lots of basil perfect for pesto still. And another native plant lover. Oh I am so glad to have found your blog through Wildlife Wednesday and now every day.


    • Awe, thanks Donna! Back atcha–I feel the same way about your beautiful blog. Whether I get toms this fall remains to be seen–theoretically, it can happen, but I’ve never been the best veggie gardener, but definitely pesto is on the list and will be on the table.


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