Friday, January 23, 2009

Winter or not? Texas Gardening and an Essay on the Hose

This is a confusing time for gardeners in Texas. My mother said this week, I just want to get out and buy some seeds and plant some plants. Yes, it is the middle of January, but with all the nice weather, who can blame her. It will be 80 degrees again today....BUT, then the winter wind will kick in and it should drop to 37 tonight and only get up to 45 tomorrow (Great weather for R's soccer game! Brr.)

Rapid changes and temperature drops notwithstanding, there are still some things that are doing great in the garden through the winter. The fennel is still growing, and we have carrots in the ground that we go out and pull as needed. We have Swiss chard, a little romaine, a few tiny mixed lettuces whose seeds were evidently taking their own time to sprout and several herbs that are thriving through whatever January throws at them, even the ice storm. Earlier this week I planted arugula, and we won't have to wait long for the tender young greens to come up. Arugula is the most instant gratification a gardener can get.

The one unexpected gardening problem is that I have to water, in January. I believe this is the driest fall and winter I have ever encountered. But, on the subject of watering, while going through documents on the computer yesterday, I ran across this little essay R wrote last year:

My Favorite Garden Tool

Every day when I get home from school, I run to the end of the hose to turn on the presser. Then I dash to the other end and point it at the beautiful birdbath in the middle of the garden and fill it to the brim. Then I direct my tool towards section one filled with lettuce, spinach, and cauliflower. I spray until the vegetables and their roots are completely moist. When I stand back and marvel at the work I do every day, I am pleased with the marvelous outcome of my work every day.

It's kind of funny, but you know, she's right. If you garden in Texas, your hose or water barrel IS your most important tool.

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