Autumn 2022

We’ve finally come into fall here in Central Texas. Its cooled down, for Texas. We now have highs in the mid 80’s, so we are out of the 90’s and triple digits. And the nights are finally cooling down, in the high 50-low 60’s. That’s quite a difference from what summer was, but its still not as cool as other places may be.

As for the garden, changes are afoot. I’ve been considering letting go of the garden beds I have and changing to elevated garden beds. I picked up an elevated garden bed from Home Depot recently, and a friend assembled it for me. While I was looking at them, I found one type of elevated garden bed that was for herbs. What was nice was it had pre-installed sections. Mine does not. But I was thinking I could use fabric pots inside the bed I have. I tried it out and found that I could probably put 8 fabric pots inside the bed easily. Doing that might make it easier. Its something I may give a try. It would allow me to put lettuce in one pot, carrots in another, peppers in another – kind of like square foot gardening, but in fabric pots.

The beds I have work, but I have some issues.They are on the ground, so there’s a lot of bending involved in taking care of them. Since the person that helped me install them didn’t put down weed cloth well, I tend to get a lot of grass growing inside the beds. That’s a constant problem. Also, the beds I have tend to be too much for me, I’m only growing for one person. I don’t need to grow 6 bell pepper plants for just me. One cucumber plant can be more than I need. And I will tell you that with the change in the weather my bell pepper plant (Wonder) is producing prolifically. I have an abundance of bell peppers this year – from one plant.

My cucumber plant looked bad, so I had cut it back quite a bit over a month ago. Well it is now producing well. The nice weather has helped that too.

But gardening is going on still. My pea plants never sprouted, so I think I just need new seed. Or I may try some different seeds that I have. With this nice weather it may be worth a shot.

Wish me luck. My garden continues.

Winter is not gone yet

Yesterday, actually for the past 2 days we have had lovely warm, 80 degree weather. This morning it was all of about 45. And we’re going for a high of maybe 50. Welcome to spring time in central Texas.

To give you an idea of how strange this is, tomorrow night our low should be 33, tonight’s low if 39. Then later this week, Friday we are due to get down to 30, with a low of 32 next Saturday night.

Just for reference, the average last freeze date for this area is Feb. 23, and that was a couple of weeks ago. I’m sure some people are very frustrated, they probably put out transplants figuring freezing nights were behind us. SURPRISE!!

I’m sure some areas are worried about losing crops with this unexpected upcoming cold. And I can’t blame them.

I’ve also notice that the birds are eating seed like its cold. They went through an entire bird feeder since this morning, after leaving it alone for a couple of days. That is what the cold has done to our feathered friends.

UPDATE: its after 4pm, but we made it up to 53 degrees. But make no mistake, the breeze outside has it feeling colder.

Another cold front

Today we have a love high of 85 degrees. Its was a warm day, no sweater needed. And yet tonight we should drop to 36 degrees. Here in Austin they are calling for a cold front over the next few days. Dallas, a bit north of us, is looking to get freezing rain. We don’t expect that here. Well, we are looking to drop down to 29 tomorrow, and dropping to 30 Thursday evening.

We are also looking at some rain possible tomorrow evening. It could start with showers around 4pm, and the temperatures will still be above freezing. But by 7pm, it may be down to freezing and turn to freezing rain. That is yet to be seen. But the precipitation shouldn’t last long, it should be over by 10pm.

Its possible Thursday early morning (think just after midnight) we could get more freezing rain. But my mid morning we should be back above freezing so any precipitation should revert back to liquid rain. Let’s hope they are right.

Indecisive weather

Well, yesterday (Saturday) we had wind. Lots of wind. Blow things down wind. And it was cold. Not freezing cold, but cold-in the 40’s cold. Walking my dog it was cold and windy. I know I get cold, but I even wore a down jacket to stay warm during the walk.

Today was actually kind of nice. It was much warmer, mid 60’s warmer. It wasn’t bad walking my dog. But now, at about 10 pm it is already down to 35 degrees. So even though we had a nice day, its time to cover plants for this evening.

The end of last week, on Friday we did some gardening work. We got both the new blueberries in, and got the Seedless Thompson grape planted too. We also dumped a few dead plants, think peppers I was tired of, and began figuring out what we want to do for next year. I’ve had to use some of the soil that we put into the raised beds to plant the new berries and grape. I still have some strawberries and a peony to plant sometime soon. The issue is this weather.

But to give an idea of what we are dealing with, Tuesday is supposed to be 74 and 54, yet Wednesday we will be 76 and 32. Then Thursday its 40 and 26, Friday is 42 and 24, and next Saturday its 36 and 28. So we have more cold coming in. Anything that I was thinking of direct sowing is out of the question. I can start seeds inside, its warm enough inside. But outside we are due for cold.

One issue I do have to be aware of is is last Friday to be exact, I had to call 911. Some how after having a fire in my fireplace for almost 4 hours my flue closed. The good news is that the fire alarms worked and began screaming. I opened the back and front door, grabbed Linus my dog, put my purse by the front door, put on a jacket, and walked out with my cell phone and called 911 – not quite in that order. I am happy to say fire and EMS showed up quickly. Cute firemen I do have to say. But now I’m a bit leery of using my fireplace. I will, but I’ve taken the damper pull off just in case that was part of the problem.

But with all the warm weather we have, we are due for more cold on the way.

More cold

Yesterday we had warm 70+ degree weather. Tonight we have a cold front. Its now 11pm and 32 degrees already. We are forecast for a low of 26, and we might just make that. And yet, tomorrow we should be a high of 52 and low is in the 40’s. And possibly Saturday we may actually get rain. Which mean any plants that are covered need to be uncovered and be allowed to get some rain. Next week we should be back into the 60’s during the day. With any luck we might even get rain a few days next week.

Let’s hope for good weather, even if somewhat warmish weather for January. December was warm, about 11 degrees above normal warm. We’ll see how warm January ends up being.

Warm with cold on its way

It’s just a couple of days after Christmas, and we still have warm weather. Today is going to be 75 degrees. Austin itself is forecast for 79, matching its record. By Wednesday we (Driftwood/Dripping Springs area) should be almost 80. To help put it in perspective, we may hit 75 degrees, but we will also be 75% humidity. No rain, just humid. And our normal temperature should be a high of 62 degrees (that’s what the weather forecaster just said).

But just wait, by this weekend, New Year, we are due for a high of 79, but with a low of 33. That is the forecast for Saturday. And on Sunday, we will drop down to a high of 50 with a low of 27. But yet no rain in the forecast.

I’ll do my best to make sure my plants get covered in time for the cold. I don’t want to lose my seedlings in this new cold front.

Happy day after Christmas

True to Texas weather, it was in the mid 70’s yesterday, and its been warm today. But also in Texas weather fashion its humid. Its now 7pm, 60 degrees and 98% humidity. We’re expecting the same mid to high 70’s for the next week. Even our nights are only in the mid 50-mid 60’s. Maybe we’ll get some cooler weather next weekend, but I think that is a wait and see.

The weather has been so nice, my helper and I fixed the drip water system and put in new seeds. We also put in about 5 bags of soil into the raised beds. Over time as you pull plants up out of the raised beds you lose soil. So over time you may find you need to add soil to the beds. That is what I ran into. But it didn’t take as many bags o soil as I thought it might. But once we got the bags of soil in, it made sense to fix the drip water system. We had a leak at the connection where the hose meets the main piping. It was a pretty big leak. So we cut the leaking part off, took it to Home Depot, and found the necessary replacement. We also picked up some spare parts, and a separate hose, and watering/timer unit. The decision is to add a second line, with hose, watering/timer system, tubing, etc. for the pots. This way the beds have their own watering system/timer and can be watered fewer days, but longer time. I figured that made more sense in the long run.

And that’s also why new seed went in. We added a bit more tubing and sprayers so that the beds have better coverage. With the warm weather I figured putting in seed wasn’t a bad idea. So I put in carrots, lettuce, bak choi, beets, and arugula. More peas were also put into the pea pot. I call it the pea pot since that’s what I actually grow there. It actually seems to be a good spot for peas – that spots produces well when it comes to peas.

Now we just need to see what the weather will bring. Because this is Texas and we never know what we’ll get.

First freeze

Today we hit a lovely 77 degrees. Though it was a bit humid, it was overall not a bad day outside. I even took my dog out for a nice walk outside.

Tomorrow should be another similar day, warm with a high of possibly 80 degrees. And the evening will be a cool low 50’s.

But typical Texas Saturday we expect a cold front to come in. The daytime temperature will drop to just below 60, with a low expected to be 32. It will be our first freeze of the season here in this area.

Now part of what makes this one of the joys and challenges of gardening here, is it was just the other week I turned the raised beds outside. Why turn them, because the weather had been warm. After turning the beds I sowed seeds. The bak choi and lettuce are already coming up. The bell peppers I transplanted (moved) and the bean plants I moved have taken well to their new homes and have been flourishing. Since I still have pepper plants, and tomato plants in pots and in the ground outside, I will need to see about covering them somehow. I will also plan to move those potted plants on my deck to a more covered area.

But don’t worry. In typical Central Texas style even though Saturday will be cool, by the following Tuesday we will be back into the high 70, then 80’s on Wednesday.

I expect the quick cool down then lovely warm up will lead to some lovely cedar pollen counts. Gotta love Texas.

Weather again

Yesterday was cold, hardly making 60 degrees. They did warn of warmer weather, with storms today.

Here at the house I’ve had all of 0.24 inches of rain so far, but even now, at almost 6:30pm its 72 with 93% humidity. That’s Texas weather. But some areas have had 5.5″ in two hours, and that’s south and east of where I am. One person in Blanco Co. say they got maybe a couple of drops. Maybe! So what I’ve had here is not indicative of what other areas received.

But some areas of Texas look like they have experienced, or are still getting much worse weather. The weather service had even warned of hail and tornadoes, possibly later this evening. And the storm is working its way east. Parts of Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma are still in the path of the storm. And tomorrow it will be areas like Atlanta that are expecting thunderstorms.

So where we got rain, not all areas got much, yet some areas got a lot of rain. We did have hard rain for a while, and we heard thunder, and I got reports of lightning. And yet now its just warm and muggy outside.

Tomorrow we can look forward to warm sunny weather. Saturday should be 81 and sunny, Sunday 88 and sunny. But by Tuesday we will be 86 with strong afternoon/evening thunderstorms. Such is weather in Central Texas.

Spring has sprung

Good news, I’ve finally got a new weather station up. I purchased a weather station (off Amazon) that has temperature, humidity, rain, wind, wind direction, and barometric pressure. The nice thing is this one has a sealed temperature gauge so it can go outside and doesn’t need its own separate housing that I don’t have. It was a bit more expensive, but I like it. The old one has a temperature gauge, but I had no place to put it but on the back patio. That isn’t ideal as its placed close to the house and doesn’t get an accurate temperature. The new weather station, a single larger unit with everything attached to one main unit, is out on a post in the yard.

One problem with the smaller unit is that the wind gauge is in a pot on the deck. The rain gauge is a separate unit that had to be removed when the deck was put in. But because those were close to the house before, they were both affected by wind, which can be blocked by either the house, pots, or a grill. Consequently even now I realize how different the temperature and wind are between the two places, close to the house, and farther out in the yard.

Its hard to imagine that just a month ago we were dealing with snow. But now we are warm, today was in the 70’s and we are due to reach the 80’s in a few days. We haven’t had much in the way of rain, much needed rain. So I would have to say we have definitely left the cold behind us.

As much as people felt we lost a lot of plants in the cold most, by a very large degree, are coming back. For example:

roses, have some dead branches but new growth is already leafing out

blackberries, new leaves already out

swiss chard, ends are freeze burned and dead (it was covered) but it is coming back with a vengence

strawberries, not covered and acting as if nothing happened – they are growing

tomatoes did die

asparagus, already coming up

blueberries, not covered and leafing out now

carrots, still fine, covered loosely and acting as if nothing happened

lettuce, like the swiss chard covered and any place the planket touched is burned and dead, but the rest is growing

grapes, covered with a pot and growing again with new leaves already unfurled

sorrel, did lose some leaves initially but now looks better than before

fig tree, has new growth.

The citrus trees took the hardest hits. They were all covered, two of the groups had Christmas lights around them for warmth. But all took a hard hit with the cold and snow. But nobody seems to be dead. They do have dead leaves but when I bend the branches, they bend they don’t break. When I’ve cut some of the branches it is obvious they are alive, not dead.

As for my succulents, that is where I seemed to lose the most. Some look like they may survive, but they have a large amount of lost leaves and frozen stems. Those may be a total loss. That is where I need to wait and see what might survive.

Today I took a Home Depot run. They had a lot of new products – lots of plants, vegetables, trees, flowering annuals, pots, etc. I picked up some of their veggies, not something I usually do. But they had some veggie basics, for example the tomato was labeled salsa tomato. No other information given, no idea what variety. But they also had heirlooms and other plants. So I picked up tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, and some squash plants. After losing the seeds I had started I felt it was worth it.

After bring the new plants home I immediately put the into their new homes, pots. Some of the little pots I bought have more than one seeding, so I actually gave some of the spare seedlings to a friend.

I believe in sharing the plant love.