Edible gardens, Eastside Cafe, frozen plants return!

Look what’s coming up!

Frozen bamboo muhly returns

My bamboo muhly (Muhlenbergia dumosa) is already coming back from the roots. I’m not cutting the rest back yet. For now, the browned foliage is protecting everyone underneath, including a purple heart (Setcreasea pallida) that’s warm and comfy. His cousins are still underground, playing cards.

Although gardeners celebrate every spring when plants return, I suspect that this year we’ll have more champagne moments than usual: “Look who’s back after all!”

Thus it was last fall after the drought. “Look who’s back!” With the rains and cooler weather, my first heartleaf skullcap (Scutellaria ovata ssp. bracteata) recently showed up again, and it looks like it’s spreading. I wasn’t about to dig into its spot, since I suspected it was there, just hiding from me. Whew.

Heartleaf skullcap (Scutellaria ovata ssp. bracteata)

So, give your plants some time. It’s so early, and the warm weather guys aren’t going to peek out until it’s safe. And remember, some of our hardest hits can be in February.

This week, Daphne answers questions about when to prune. Since she can’t cover it all in one minute (though she crams in a lot!) get more tips at A&M’s Doug Welsh’s info for in-depth pruning tips.

Last weekend, I pruned the rosemary plants and dealt with Salvia greggiis and woody pink skullcaps (Scutellaria suffrutescens). This weekend, I’ll clean up my evergreen sumac and maybe prune the cenizo.  I’m not touching shrimp plant, gingers, thryallis or their kin. Also, please avoid pruning cycad fronds until March. If we prune, they’ll want to send out new growth and a late freeze could be very harmful.

On February 27, we’ll be dealing with freeze-damaged aloes and agaves. The word from future guest Jeff Pavlat is to wait on them and the cycads!

But we can get ready for warm-weather crops, like tomatoes and peppers. This week on CTG, Tom meets with Amy Crowell from Edible Yards to get you started.

kids love Edible Yards

I met Amy when she was at Sunshine Gardens (by the way, Sunshine’s spring vegetable sale is on March 6).  Later, she moved on to Green Corn. With the birth of her son, now she’s a freelance designer helping gardeners design, install, or maintain vegetable gardens. What a great idea! She also gives how-to workshops, and has lots of ideas for gardeners with small spaces, too. By the way, meet Amy in person and learn more about vegetable gardening on April 3 at the Mayfield Park Garden Symposium, “Trowel & Error.” Details on our events calendar soon.

Trisha shows us how to plant potatoes, even in a container. You won’t feed the neighborhood with a container planting, but if you’ve got kids, it’s easy and would be a real blast for them!

On tour, Dorsey Barger at Eastside Café shows us to how grow vegetables in small beds or containers, without a bunch of tools or a bunch of money! We also get a fun look behind the kitchen scenes with co-owner and chef Elaine Martin. I was fascinated to watch Elaine chop Dorsey’s garden harvests, her fingers curled appropriately. I cannot master that technique!

And, the Travis County Master Gardeners are hosting free workshops on March 12 & 13 for hands-on vegetable gardening.  Check their site for details, planting guides, and more!

If you have cold-hardy Queen Victoria agaves, here’s something to anticipate, thanks to viewer Sharon Nettle and her mom, who brought this plant to Sharon from her garden!

Queen Victoria agave flower stalk, Sharon Nettle Queen Victoria agave flower stalk, Sharon Nettle

You just never know what surprises your plants have in mind for you!

Until next week, Linda