Movers & Shakers

Are you a mover and shaker? That is to say: you move plants around and shake your head that you didn’t do it sooner.

That’s me! In the case of this rock rose (Pavonia lasiopetela), I didn’t do a thing. It picked the spot to seed in front of blue plumbago where brief shafts of sun penetrate filtered shade.

Native rock rose pavonia and blue plumbago part shade garden austin

Even though November – February is the best time to move trees, shrubs, evergreen perennials, and roses, I’ve jumped the shovel gun a little.  I’d already bought replacements for things getting too much shade.  For now, I won’t disturb my Salvia ‘Silke’s Dream’, though it’s a bit skimpy, overcrowded, and stretching for light.

salvia silke's dream central texas gardener

I was shaking my head about my new raised vegetable bed. In its first winter season, it looked okay.

raised limestone vegetable bed austin te

Suddenly, everything cratered.  What did I do wrong?

Well by golly, Daphne’s heard from many gardeners with the same issue. Like me, they’d put in lots of compost and good soil and watered it well.

Not so fast, there, veteran gardener who messed up. Daphne explains what happened: new soil and compost can be dry, dry, dry. You THINK you’ve watered it, but even 2” down is still dry as dust.

Solution: water, mix, water, mix. I’ve been doing it for three weekends. Even after 5” of rain, I turned the soil to find it dry just below the surface. This weekend I’ll do the final turn and then plant lettuce, arugula, cilantro, parsley, garlic, and Swiss chard.

fall vegetable seeds and garlic austin texas

Get Daphne’s complete answer and how to include Plant of the Week Swiss chard among your ornamentals like Gomphrena ‘Little Grapes.’

Swiss chard with gomphrena grapes central texas gardener

Now, what about mulch?  Yes, we know it’s a good thing, but what is the best one?  Like everything, it depends on the plant. Andrea DeLong-Amaya from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center deciphers it for us.

what mulch to use Andrea DeLong-Amaya Lady Bird Johnson Wildlflower Center

Maybe you’ll run into Andrea at the LBJWC fall plant sale Oct. 11- 12 (members day Oct. 10). If you’ve admired my native Hibiscus martianus, I see that it’s on the list this year. By the way, that list is great reference!

native hibiscus martianus central texas gardener

And do check out the Wildflower Center’s Landscape for Life series that starts Oct. 15. This is a great way to learn how to transform your yard into a sustainable garden!

Bluebonnets are coming up, thanks to recent rains. To start your first patch, get seeds to plant in early November. Viewer Picture goes to Melinda McGowan and Leo’s bluebonnet selfie last spring!

dog selfie bluebonnets central texas gardener

Mover & shaker Red Dirt Ramblings author Dee Nash joins Tom to dish up the real dirt on gardening in her book The 20/30 Something  Garden Guide.

Dee Nash 20/30 Something Garden Guide Central Texas Gardener

Written for new soil grubbers, veterans will also whoop about her colorful graphic designs, DIY instructions, and plants from food to fragrance.

The 20/30 Something Garden Guide Dee Nash Central Texas Gardener The 20/30 Something Garden Guide Dee Nash Central Texas Gardener The 20/30 Something Garden Guide Dee Nash Central Texas Gardener

Along with plant tips & tricks, she makes it easy to visualize designs to shake up that dull yard—even in tiny spaces.

The 20/30 Something Garden Guide Dee Nash Central Texas Gardener

Dee sprinkles in lots of pictures, including her own deliciously beautiful garden.

On tour, meet the energetic young urban farmers shaking things up at Ten Acre Organics. Co-founders Lloyd Minick and Michael Hanan are joined by Michael’s wife, Marie Franki, and Grayson Oheim, Kimberly Griffin and Mike Jeffcoat.

Ten Acre Organics Lloyd Minick and Michael Hanan Central Texas Gardener

Oh, it’s not 10 acres of land either! It’s a typical 1970s suburban lot where food rules now instead of grass.

Ten Acre Organics front yard suburban food garden central texas gardener

Drip hose irrigation and lots of compost and mulch conserve water.

Ten Acre Organics drip hose suburban food garden central texas gardener

They didn’t forget to feed the pollinators.

ten acre organics native plants for wildlife pollinators

In back, two aquaponics greenhouses frame rotational ground crops.

Ten Acre Organics backyard aquaponics Central Texas Gardener Ten Acre Organics backyard aquaponics Central Texas Gardener

Happy hens in the TAO coop never lay down on the job, either.

Ten Acre Organics backyard aquaponics and chickens Central Texas Gardener

Even though it’s not 10 acres (yet), they’re supplying lots of organic food to restaurants and neighbors.

Ten Acre Organics backyard aquaponics Central Texas Gardener

Rob Nash at Austin Aquaponics launched them into this water-wise method to grow organic food.

To build up formerly lifeless soil for productivity and water retention, TAO nurtures several compost bins, filled weekly as a drop-off site for East Austin Compost Pedallers.

compost bin at Ten Acre Organics Central Texas Gardener

Watch the whole story now!

Thanks for stopping by! Next week, we celebrate Texas Native Plant Week. See you then, Linda