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We live real near the southwest corner of Loop 610. We have a fancy raised bed garden in our front yard that we built out of the Trex decking material. It has a center square bed on point with 4 rectangular arms that make an X and then inset triangle beds. The triangle beds are supposed to be wildflower/perennial beds, but are often home to stray food plants (like the grape vines we got as cuttings a few years ago as well as the bird-planted forest of chiltepins). The center bed is an herb bed and the 4 arms (4 x 8 ft) are our veggie production areas. We filled the beds with a custom mix of high sand, sugar cane residue, etc., from Nature's Way up in Cut and Shoot. Our yard soil is the gumbo clay found throughout this area. We amend regularly with purchased manures, etc.

In 2001, we built a 750 gallon in-ground pond with liner, complete with a gravel bog acting as a natural filter, a waterfall, 4 kinds of fish (fancy-tail goldfish, shubunkins, sailfin mollies, dace, and plecs) and then plants in the pond and bog. (2003 update: those pesky herons ate our shubunkins!)

We love tomatoes and try new varieties every year and sell the extra transplants to friends and a local store so others can try new varieties, too! We've found some great new varieties this way and hooked others, too.

We also each have a vermicomposting system: Shelly has a Worm-a-Roo and Roy has an Eliminator. And the Bio-Blender to make worm compost tea. (The worms died off in 2003 due to neglect and pest invasion--not sure what we're going to do for vermicompost this coming season.)

We're pretty much straight organic, but are going to try helping the tomatoes along with some commercial foods in 2003. (Worked just fine as part of the aerated tea, though I'm not sure there was any significant difference in yields, honestly.)

Roy has done some hybridizing of daylilies in the past and come up with a few we really like, including one we call Black Cherry since that's exactly what it looks like. He also hybridized some amaryllis (hippoeastrum) which are finally getting to blooming size. 2003 was a great year for amaryllis seedlings to bloom and there is one we named Peppermint that is just stunning. We're hoping it will make lots of pups over the next several years. Most were uninteresting, like most hybrid x hybrid crosses are.

We have finally removed all of the trash trees from our yard (Chinese tallows and Arizona ash) and will be putting in various citrus (Republic of Texas orange, Meiwa kumquat, unknown sweet orange that we grafted in a class many years ago now, and maybe a Thomasville citrangequat) when we get around to it (they currently live in pots on the driveway, bless their souls). We were finally able to acquire Roy's Tennessee pear tree last year at the Urban Harvest sale. The Hood pear is still languishing in its pot on the driveway. We should be grafting a branch of Hood onto Tennessee one of these days (to act as pollinator). We also have planted a Mexican plum as Shelly loves the way they look throughout the year.

I live in: United States

My zone is: z9b Houston TX

My favorite forum 1 is Growing Tomatoes.

My favorite forum 2 is Vegetable Gardening.

First registered on February 23, 2002 .