Garden soil is something most people don't think about. Honestly, we never thought about it when gardening until we moved to Texas. We have sand now and we did in El Paso as well. In New York, Michigan, Coleman, Texas and Leakey Texas, in Colorado Springs and Arkansas, we had rich soil that we could grow anything in. In San Antonio, we had hard, rocky clay. There, we made raised garden beds and grew things that way for 18 years. Now, we have sand and we use both the field and raised garden beds.
Interestingly, almost everything grows well in the beach sand. The prohibitive thing here is the summer heat. In 2022, the temperature hit 100° plus every single day until sometime in September and we were in a drought. Even though we watered a lot using our well water, we lost crops because once it gets that hot, things stop growing. The okra and zinnias kept putting out with no problem.
Garden soil is important. You are not stuck with the dirt in your yard. If it is not good, you can build raised garden beds and bring in a good garden soil to grow plants in.
I read that there are about 20,000 varieties of soil across the world but the most common soils are clay, sandy, loamy, silty, chalky, and silty. There are websites listing the best plants to put in your garden for each type of soil. You should try to amend your soil so you can grow many vegetables and fruits.
Good Monday morning! We had no rain overnight and they are saying again today we will get rain. It has not rained here since before 7am on Saturday morning. Yet all day Saturday, Sunday, and today the weather reports have called for rain. We need some but it keeps going around.
The pest control guy will be here soon to do his monthly service to the business. I will be updating some listings this morning. First I need to prepare some more eggs for the Farm Store. Come on by and pick up a dozen or two along with your spring seeds and citronella plants.
As I sit here and type, I am hearing thunder and I am noticing how dark it has become in my home office.
I am now in the Farm Store. I took a bunch of spider webs down from the pond on Saturday morning. This morning, several had built more spider webs. I guess they have a learning problem so I had to take them down again. One made a giant spider web where I throw food to the fish.
An hour ago, I got a call from Ideal Poultry, the chicken hatchery where I ordered some new chicks that were supposed to come next week. Kelly said they have our order ready if we would like it a week early. I said sure. She will ship them out today. They could arrive tomorrow or Wednesday. So I grabbed Matt and we ran out to the chick shed and set up the nursery. We are all ready for them to come tomorrow. We adjusted the radiant heaters, got some boards to put the waterers on, filled the galvanized tub with finely shaved wood and we are set.
Meanwhile, the thunder started and some lightning. The dark clouds moved in. I checked on our current baby chicks who are now 5.5 weeks old. They are fine. David texted me that our raspberries are ready to be picked. I just checked on them on Saturday and they were nowhere near ready. He was fixing to tell one of the employees to go pick them. It started to sprinkle. I ran out to my raspberry and blackberry bushes. They have little red berries but they are hard as a rock, not ready at all!
I grew up picking raspberries and blackberries. They should be soft and dark red or black before you pick them. I texted him back and told him. I also said I would be doing the picking. Getting city folk to pick stuff you grew up with is not good. He would have picked them all and they would have been worthless. While I was still out there, the rain began to come down hard. I ran all the way back to the house. I had to wipe my glasses and grab an umbrella.
Then I walked over to the Farm Store and the rain had stopped. Now it pours, then stops, pours then stops again. I hope we get a decent amount out of all of this.
Encino Pest Control texted that they would not make it today in the storm. Sometime this week, they will show up. Tomorrow and Thursday we have doctor appointments in the morning. If the chicks come tomorrow, Matt may have to go get them.
It is now 12:15pm and it is still raining. I had lunch and got lunch for David. The mailman has not come early for the first time in weeks.
Right around 2:30pm, the rain stopped and the sun came out. Now it is humid and hot at 88° outside. I had to take the dogs out to do potty.
I got all of my website work done while watching Green Acres.
At 4pm, it started raining again off and on. It will be interesting to go out back and see how much rain we got today.
We never got any customers here the entire wet day but, then again, I did not expect any in the rain.
If you want to start seeds early in pots in your home or in a greenhouse, don't use dirt from outside. Some of you may know that we sell our own germination mix which is a garden soil for starting seeds in small pots. Our germination mix has Perlite in it which helps the mix hold water to get your seeds started in small pots in growing trays. This also helps the growing medium to drain well and keeps the chances of fungus and bacteria growth way down. This is better than bags of potting soil at the big box stores. Potting soil has a lot of sticks and twigs in it and they do not help seeds to germinate.
I woke up at 5am today and turned on my phone. The baby chicks are at the Poteet Post Office but they never called. It is now 8:18am and still no call but the tracking shows they are there. I really wonder about country living sometimes. I was told they would call early. They did not. I have to leave to go to a doctor's appointment. They should have called early. I don't think they know what early means...
Once we left the farm at 8:30am and I turned on the cellular for my phone, I got a message from the Post Office saying the chicks are there. It was left at 7:58am. So I had Matt go get them while David and I went to the doctor in Pleasanton. David had a good check up. My was not so good. My blood pressure was even higher than the last time and I have been taking the medication. The doctor put me on two new blood pressure medications and I have to see him in seven days.
Matt got the chicks without a problem and unloaded them all into the brooder. Aren't they sweet?
I called the Walmart pharmacy once we got home. The gal I spoke with after being on hold for about 15 minutes said they were working on filling the prescriptions. Then the phone disconnected. Two hours later, we went to Walmart and they told me my prescriptions would be ready tomorrow. I told them that I was told they would be ready today and then got hung up on so they filled them and sent me on my merry way. I took them both in the car with David driving. One of them is supposed to make me sleepy and dizzy. I have not ever taken either of them before. I feel a bit tired but I am at home, not at the store right now. I have to do fasting blood work early Saturday morning. I hate that.
Well, about an hour after I took the pills, I was sitting at my desk in my office. I dozed off twice but I did not get dizzy.
Nacho and his crew are here doing various things. They are mowing, weeding, and putting pallets in the ground where I wanted to have my planters and then they will put the planters on them so I don't have to have them on the deck. They will be easier to water that way.
David found a small turtle crawling behind Fulfillment. Nacho picked it up and moved it. Cute little thing.
The new chicks are just adorable. They all arrived alive and happy. They are enjoying their new digs for now. I was able to pick a few up without them freaking out like the other ones did almost six weeks ago.
We had a huge bush bean harvest today. The hod was loaded down with green beans. I washed them and then filled two large bowls and David and I snapped them during Perry Mason tonight. It took forever. Now I have to blanch most of them and freeze them. I will cook some tomorrow night for dinner as well.
I made a delicious pot roast with vegetables in the Instant Pot this evening. It was good.
Potting soil can be bought in bags in the big box stores and in garden centers. It is not the best garden soil for growing vegetables. As I mentioned in yesterday's post, potting soil is filled with sticks and twigs and other particles. This might be good for some houseplants but if you are going to start healthy seeds, do not use it. Use germination mix. Besides the sticks, potting soil has compost, bark, and composted animal manure in it. It is okay to use in well-established vegetable plants as filler in pots and raised beds.
Good Wednesday morning! I woke up early around 6am and my nose was clogged. The doctor yesterday told me to start taking an allergy pill each morning without a "D" in the title and it would be okay. I should take one now. I took my two blood pressure tablets and fed the indoor animals. I need to go check on the new baby chicks.
The chicks are good. While I was out there, I took care of the rest of the animals. Matt showed up and he helped by taking care of the adult chickens.
Nacho came with his crew. They are weeding, chipping wood next door for David in the new chipper, mowing, and whatever else David needs.
I cleaned out and refilled the fish pond. The water lilies are doing well and the tiny goldfish are getting big.
The cell tower on the other side of us is going up. Men have been there all week long working. In fact, two of them were in here shopping for seeds on their lunch break.
When we lived in San Antonio for 20 years, we had to deal with clay soil with a lot of rocks in it. The soil there is hard and to make it worse, it is filled with rocks. When we moved there back in 1999, we rented a house for the first two years. The yard had already been worked over so our garden was planted in okay soil because the owners had added dirt to the clay.
We then built a home in a new area and the clay was hard and filled with rocks. David went through several tillers, tearing them up, trying to get a garden planted. After a few years, he decided to build raised garden beds and bring in good garden soil. It takes a lot of effort to try and dig through clay.
Clay soil does not drain well so the roots of your plants can rot sitting in pooled water if you water too much. (A lot of new gardeners water way too much, thinking plants need water every single day.)
Happy Thursday! We have been so busy today. It is almost 2pm and I am just now getting on here to tell you about the day. I had to get things ready for me to leave this morning. David and I had doctor appointments in San Antonio at 10am. They went well. Then we went to Castroville to BeeSpace Honey. We had never been there before or even tried it but the owner is a young man who came to our store months ago. We had heard of BeeSpace as someone we know sells it out of her home and when she goes to outdoor market places.
I got some whipped lemon honey and tried it at home. It is so good! We also got some plain and some cinnamon honey.
In three weeks, our Farm Store will be closed on Saturday, June 10 so please plan your visit to David's Garden Seeds® for Friday, June 9 or Monday, June 12. David is having his 45th Class Reunion and we have to go out of town for it. People will be here at the farm working out back but they will not have access to the store. You can order seeds online that day or just wait until the next week.
Can you imagine he graduated 45 years ago? Time really does fly and the older you get, the more it flies. David graduated and a few months later, he went into the Army.
Once we got back to the farm today, I ate leftovers from last night for lunch and then I went outside and watered all of my plants and trees in the backyard. There are so many. I went in and changed as I was sopping wet. It is already 90° Fahrenheit outside.
Matt was outside taking drone shots and I checked on all of my chicks. The baby chicks are doing well. They are so cute. The toddler chicks are having fun exploring their little fortress. The big hens were all chilling in the shade of their yard. Some were taking dust baths and having a luxurious time of it.
I just had to replant part of my zinnia garden. Someone decided grass was growing there so they picked it clean down to the dirt. I do not understand. I also had to replant my sunflowers. So those are done and I watered everything out front.
I also discovered that one of the chick's beaks do not meet together. One side of her face is messed up without an eye. She seems to be doing fine but she looks bad. I guess she can eat okay because she is walking around like the rest of them. I emailed Ideal Poultry to see why they would send me a defective chick. I should think someone would have noticed when they were hatched and packed up.
In my defense, I was at the doctor's office when the chicks arrived and Matt took them all out of the box and placed them in the brooder. They are under the radiant heaters quite a bit and we got 30 of them at once. I feel so bad for her but she seems to be doing well.
This evening, after making chicken breasts with green bean casserole using our garden fresh green beans, I made the Cookie of the day for tomorrow and Saturday, Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars. They are so gooey with caramel and chocolate...
Here outside of Poteet, Texas, we have sandy soil at least 300 feet down. We drilled a well that went down 300 feet and it is all sand all the way down. We thought we would not be able to grow anything in it. Surprise! We can grow a lot of things in it.
Sandy soil drains well and is easy to dig and plant in. We have to add a lot of compost and fertilize with a fish emulsion which really helps put nutrients into the soil. We mulch a lot more here to keep the soil moist.
We have to wash our produce well to remove the gritty sand that gets in between layers of vegetables. We soak it in water first and let the sand fall to the bottom of the container. Then we remove the vegetables before dumping the water. After that, we have to wash it again.
Loamy soil is soil with sand, silt, and clay. It drains well and is a favorite of strawberry plants, melons, cantaloupes, and watermelons. If you don't have any sand in your soil and you want to grow these plants, make sure that you get a bag of sand and mix it into your soil.
Well, it's Friday and today we are selling my freshly baked Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars. I have them all cut and packaged. They are delicious, especially if you love caramel, toffee, and chocolate chips. My labels are on each one as per the Texas Cottage Food Laws. I think we will have to get better packaging for the baked goods. Right now, they are in ziplock baggies but I think those plastic square containers with a lid will work better. The caramel is a bit gooey but they are incredibly tasty!
I just heard from Ideal Poultry and they are going to refund me for her. She said it was a shipping error. I feel so bad for this poor little chick. She might die or she could live. It just depends on how well she is eating and drinking. We will watch her.
Starting right now, when you spend at least $20, you get 20% off of your total (minus taxes, of course) either online or in our Farm Store. Not sure how long this sale will last but hurry and get your garden seeds now!
Before researching for this page, I had never heard of chalky soil. I have lived in places with all of the other kinds of soil but never chalky. From what I've read, chalky soil is made from calcium carbonate. It is shallow and dries out quickly, full of stones. The pH level is from between 7.1 and 10. There are not that many things that will do well in this kind of soil unless you amend it. Chalky soil drains very well so it does not keep enough water in to establish new plants. Mulching can help.
To amend it, you will need to till in manure and compost prior to planting. Planting cover crops in early spring and in late fall is also a great idea to put nutrients in the soil. Applying fertilizers high in iron and manganese can also help to amend chalky soil.
I woke up at 3:10am this morning and it was pouring, the wind was blowing, lightning was flashing, and the thunder was rolling. It was downright terrifying. I thought we would be caught up in the tornado with Dorothy a few times. I am not sure how long I stayed awake but it seemed like forever. My thoughts went to my brand new baby chicks out in the shed with the windows open. They are five days old and they must have been scared out of their little chick minds. By the way, they are fine.
The alarm went off at 6am and I did manage to get some sleep. The rain was done. I got up and got ready to go to Quest to have a fun blood draw. David went out and said we got four inches of rain in the night. There is a lot of waterfront property this morning. On our drive to Pleasanton and on our different drive back, water is everywhere. There were even some road closures. Turn around, don't drown stuff.
I went into Walmart where Quest is located and sat down. Then the guy called me, that quickly. Now, no one has ever had a problem finding my veins in all of my years of living. I have been pregnant four times and before and after those, I have had lots of blood drawn. This guy could not find a vein in either arm. He finally found some blood. Both arms hurt and I am so disgusted, not to mention that I was starving.
While I was being poked and prodded, David went to McDonald's and got me a nice breakfast. I finally came out and found the truck in the parking lot and ate. I felt better. We drove home. By the time we got here, three of our people were here at work. Normally, they don't come in on Saturdays but David wanted them to get caught up.
Today in the Farm Store, we are featuring my Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars for $2 each. I know that sounds high, but have you been to a Great American Cookie lately? Their cheapest cookies are $2 or more. Ingredients have gotten very expensive.
Our farm fresh eggs are $4.95 a dozen and they are beautiful, fresh from our hens so come by and grab some before they are completely sold out, which happens most weekends.
We have some beautiful dill plants and basil plants. The basil is either Large Leaf Italian or Purple Basil. We have two strawberry plants left that we started from seed. We have snake plants aka Mother In Law's Tongue and Wandering Jew. To repel mosquitoes, we have some beautiful Citronella plants that I root. There are a few of my Chocolate Mint plants and a large peppermint plant as well.
Of course, if you need seeds, we have seeds, about 1600 varieties of them--vegetables, a few fruits, herbs, and flowers.
We have several pecan flavored varieties of whole bean coffees in one pound bags. There are pecan fudges and chocolate covered pecans. Yes, David is a pecanaholic. Drop by and we will give you a muddy tour. Everything is growing and it is so green and pretty. I need to go as it is almost time to open the Farm Store. See you there!
As I mentioned above, we got four inches of rain and now there is a makeshift duck pond at the Grass Farm across the way. You can hear ducks quacking and they are swimming around.
It is now 12:19pm and six dozen eggs are gone. I have three dozen left. There are still a few of the Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars left. Next week, we will have a different cookie. Today, someone asked for the Lemon Bars. We had those last weekend. Each weekend it will be a different cookie that I bake fresh.
After having the gate lock installed two years ago, we finally figured out how to get in it. We have been looking for keys and a manual but never got them. So we unscrewed the thing and the keys are inside along with a set up guide. What?
We had been wanting to change the opening and closing times. There is some hand held device inside. I could not figure it out without a manual but Matt figured it out, we think. So he set it and then we closed it up. Now we have to wait to see if it works...
Well, it is time to close up for the day. Thank you to all who came out and we will see you all on Monday at 9am. It looks like more rain clouds are moving in which is such good news.
Matt grilled steaks for Svengoolie. I made rice, green bean casserole, and guacamole. We turned on the movie. It was The Thing That Had Two Heads. The ape in the movie had two heads and David said it made him feel claustrophobic so he put in some strange 1985 space movie with a lot of blood and exploding heads. It was sickening. I looked at my phone for most of it. How and where do people come up with such idiotic ideas for movies? I just don't understand.
It was supposed to rain all day long but it never rained the entire day.
I forgot but next weekend is Memorial Day and we will be closed from Saturday, May 27 through Monday, May 29 for the holiday. Yay! I get a three day weekend! Normally I get a one day weekend so I am very excited.
Silty soil is wonderful for gardening. It feels soft to the touch and is rich in nutrients. However, it does not drain well. Compost as well as green matter (plants, leaves, etc.) will need to be mixed in to amend the soil by helping it drain better.
Here is an article about making your own compost if you are not doing that.
Good Sunday morning. I have fed all of the indoor animals. I have to go out and feed the outdoor animals. The water pump is broken since yesterday so I have to hand carry water from the house out to all of the animals until someone can come out and fix it. Fun times. Everything is wet so it may have rained in the night. I did not hear a thing.
Right now it is 69° and I need to get myself outside, carrying water...
All of the animals have been taken care of and it is time to leave for church...
Church was good but there were a lot of folks missing. I don't know if the weather had something to do with it because it was not raining at all but it must have rained sometime in the night. We had 1/10th of an inch in our rain gauge.
It is now 3pm and it is raining, a good steady rain. I am not sure when it started because I have been doing computer work in the den while watching TV.
Peaty soil is dark soil that is acidic. It tends to hold a lot of water and it needs help draining. Drainage tunnels will need to be dug to help the soil drain out the water. You will need to add lime to reduce the acidity in this type of soil. Also, compost and organic matter will need to be added.
No, I don't mean lime juice from the fruit. You will need to add garden lime, a white, crushed rock product that does not cost much. This lime will actually read "garden lime" or "dolomitic lime" on the package. Dolomitic lime is a bit different as it also contains magnesium. Garden lime does not.
Lime raises the pH level of the soil because it reduces the acid in the soil.
Since 2009, over 1,500,000 home gardeners, all across the USA, have relied on David's Garden Seeds® to grow beautiful gardens. Trust is at the heart of it. Our customers know David's Garden Seeds® stocks only the highest quality seeds available. Our mission is to become your lifetime supplier of quality seeds. It isn't just to serve you once; we want to earn your trust as your primary supplier.
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Find out what is going on down on the farm by reading our blog and by subscribing to our free newsletter for all of the information going down at David's Garden Seeds® and on the farm. I love to share helpful information with you. Please let your friends know and y'all come on down for a visit when you get the chance. We would love to meet you!