Fall is here.

Fall has started early this year here in Central Texas. Last year we didn’t see temperatures stay below 100 until October. We didn’t see rain until November. This year, the rain has already come. Today’s rain is a steady drizzle soaking the earth, enabling the oaks to soak up their thousands of gallons, the summer stresses to be washed from the shrubs, and the winter growth to start off strong. The rain earlier in the week came light and quick – just enough to wet the streets, muddy the gutters, and dust off the heat.

Fall in Texas is different from the Pacific Northwest of my childhood in many ways. One of the ways that I still am not used to, is the behavior of the trees.

Depending on variety, some trees behave as expected. They have bud break in spring, turn itchy green before summer, find their golden hues in the fall, and drop leaves to the floor with the frost. Others, behave as above with a second bud break. This tree already had its leaves, most of which were lost in the heat of the summer, but it is still driven by the need to put forth its progeny. This bud will break into a few itchy-green leaves, and one bunch of powdery seeds.

Speaking of fall, does anyone know of the best way and time to prune an overgrown sage?

This is a hybrid variety that is growing in maybe six inches of soil depth, with neglectful watering, and still managed to take over the sidewalk in its entirety. I had its twin in the front bed, pruned it back months ago, and it has since died for my efforts.

Also noted in this photo: the strawberries survived and I’m overdue on edging the lawn.

This earlier arrival of fall has helped make up my mind on sowing some cooler weather varieties. Earlier this week I made it into the backyard bed to sow some peas – Golden Sweet and Sugar Ann. The Golden Sweet claims to grow 6′ tall and have purple flowers. I’m looking forward to the little paintbrushes of color in the future. Sugar Ann claims to not need any structure, and I’m going to believe it. It took a few days longer to sprout than the Golden Sweet. Both were up within the week. Now to use the giant bamboo pole DH brought home for me to construct a climbing structure for the Golden Sweet…

Sown yesterday:

  • Garlic – Cheyenn Purple, Silver white, and California Select
  • Onions – Austrialian Brown and Violet de Gamme
  • Cucumbers – third year saved Marketmore 76
  • Beets – Detroit
  • Broccoli – Early Green Heirloom (I’m not sure this is the actual name…) both sown and transplanted
  • Kale – Lark’s tongue
  • Chard – Perpetual
  • Collards – Even’ Star Land Race
  • Lettuce – transplanted a few mysteries. They could be any of about eight varieties.

I was set to also transplant some Amazing Cauliflower…until I started working their bed and dug straight down into a giant fire ant nest. Escaping with a single bite (and no sting) I called it done for the day.


11 comments on “Fall is here.

  1. Alice says:

    Glad it is cooler…you should have a nice long fall then–lots of time for more yummies.

  2. Kevin says:

    That’s interesting that some trees would bloom twice. We only had that happen once a years ago when gypsy moth caterpillars went on a feeding frenzy and stripped so many trees of their leaves. We then had a second bloom. I wonder if two bloom cycles is taxing on the trees, or if that’s what they’re supposed to do. In any event, glad to hear you have rain and cooler weather.

    • plumdirt says:

      I’m not sure, I would guess it’s harder to do it twice, b I bet it does depend on the variety. We’re new to this house and after last year’s drought I didn’t count any tree’s behavior as “normal.” I’ll have to wait and see what it does next year.

  3. thebeadden says:

    The change in weather patterns have made gardening quite interesting this year. Some of our flowers bloomed so early they looked like we planted dwarf varieties. 🙂 Hope your new crop fares well!

  4. We coul ddo with some rain here too, the ground is solid, but then we haven’t had your heat !
    I have a Magnolia that puts out a few flowers every summer, just a few, and then it’s back to normal flowering time for the whole tree in Spring – never really understood that.

    I’m trying not be jealous that you are sowing marketmore and detriot – trying but not really succeding 😉

    • plumdirt says:

      I bet you will get more than your fair share of rain there soon enough though?

      I remember a tree on campus at my first college would turn fall colors in the spring, lose its leaves in the summer, leaf out in the fall, and stay green all winter (in the snow.) It took me a bit to figure out that its root system was right over the pipes that either delivered hot air (in the winter) or cool air (in the summer) to a rather large dorm. It always brought smiles to people’s faces as they passed.

      I’ve been jealous of your garden for the past few months! I believe we’ll simply continue to take turns having extra-green eyes 😉

  5. Having a great fall growing season is your reward for surviving a Texas summer…Good luck with all your experiments!

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