Before I go into our gardening, let me tell you what happened to me this morning…well as you all probably know, I’ve been having a rough go last month.  So, naturally, I have been really mentally exhausted which leads to pretty extreme physical exhaustion.  SO this morning, I was trying my best to sleep in a little, and our youngest was in bed with us (she has a cold and woke up really early).  Jason moved onto the couch as her feet kept digging into his back, and shortly thereafter, so too did Zoe follow suit.  I naively thought that she was with her daddy, and I dozed back off. 

Just as I was catching some more zzz’s, I hear a little voice say quietly, “Look, Mommy, look at the little squirrel.  He’s so cute and tiny!”  I opened my eyes, and mind you, I am half blind anyway, but here is this huge mouse stuck to a glue trap about 5 inches from my nose with my tiny daughter holding the whole shebang.  I nearly fell off of my side of the bed trying to grab this totally pissed and angry mouse stuck to an industrial strength semi-super glue from the tiny hands of my child.  Well, there’s one way to get me out of bed in the morning! Here is a photo of something similar.

Now, on to gardening.  We have put in our mini-orchard, consisting of  2 plums, 3 peaches (2 Redskin and one Luling), and soon to be 2 dwarf apples.  Also we put in a “Wonderful” pomegranate tree, 2 Arapho (thornless) blackberry vines, and i have already set out some strawberries, even if it is a little early.  As far as our veggies go: onions were set around Jan 20th.  As of this month, we have set out asparagus, carrot seed, spinach seed, 3 kinds of lettuces, 2 kinds of cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and some green onion seed.  I also bought 2 more blackberry vines. On the 14th of this month, we’re setting out our potatoes, and I am going to plant my peas ASAP.  That isn’t your “southern” peas (like crowders sp??? and black eyed peas), these are your English, sugar snap, and  snow peas.

 Today, Jason set the posts for our fence around the garden…I’m really stoked about getting up a fence!  We also bought an irrigation kit with the mini-sprayers and drippers, to conserve water.  We haven’t put that in yet, but we will soon. 

So, if you live in Zone 8, where I am, February is the time to plant many things! Check your hardiness zone here: Texas Zones

Also, here is the method we are trying this year:  French Intensive gardening.  This means that plants are packed very closely, just like ‘cottage’ gardening to crowd out weeds as well as conserve water.  You plant the plants very close together, semi-ignoring what it says on the package.  Also, “succession planting” is something I’m going with, where as soon as a crop is done you immediately plant with another type of crop.  You can even interplant plants in some cases.  We have 16 beds right now.  Now, it is wise to not plant the same crop in the same place for at least 3 years.  So, we are going to rotate the beds every year.  What happens is that if you do plant the same thing in the same place, host specific diseases and pests build up in that soil year after year, reducing your harvest if not ruining it altogether.  By rotating where I plant what, it will help me to achieve the best possible harvest.  That being said, on my asparagus and blackberries, they will not come into the rotation as asparagus produce for about 20-25 years (!) and you plant them very deep.  Also, you don’t rotate berries and things of that nature, just seasonal crops.

Well, I’m sorry that I don’t have pictures for you today, but I promise to put some up soon!

Today’s favorite:  Cello brand Silke pens. 

I admit it, I’m a total pen junkie, so when I find a pen I really like, I have to brag about it!  I am assuming that you pronounce it like “silky”, as the exterior of the pen has a matte, silk-like finish.  Writing is super smooth and there is no skipping.  This pen is very light and best of all, CHEAP.  You get a big package of like 24 or something for a few bucks.  I found these at WalMart, and honestly I bought them because they come in nice pastel colors (the ink is black), and I was sick of the men at work running off with my pens.  Now I arm my pen arsenal with pink, purple, and yellow pens and haven’t had one walk off yet.  ;0)

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