Mrs. David's Garden Seeds®

Winter Greenhouse

Because it now gets very cool and sometimes downright cold in Texas, we have to move our plants to a winter greenhouse in the fall. We go from one extreme to another here in South Central Texas. Since 1999, we have lived in or around San Antonio, Texas. For the last couple of years in San Antonio, there was snow for the first time in many years according to locals. We were amazed to have snow and ice because it hardly ever used to even freeze in San Antonio. Most people don't own winter coats or boots. We all wear hoodies when it gets a bit chilly.

Then for the four years we have lived out here on the farm, it has really gotten below 32° for days at a time each year, normally in February. So we put away everything that we can. The trees that are in the ground do okay for the most part but citrus dies, except for one blood orange tree that has not yet produced. All of my other citrus trees died in the orchard. Now I have new orange, lemon, and lime trees that

Winter Greenhouse - 11/06-11/12/2023

Monday, November 6, 2023

There is a band of fog this morning over the back of the farm.There is a band of fog this morning over the back of the farm.

Good morning! I hate time changes! I woke up again all through the night and at 5am, I got up and took my thyroid pill. I went back to bed but I could not get back to sleep. I got up and at 5:30am, I took the dogs out and then made a cup of coffee and heated up some egg muffins from yesterday because I was starving.

Yesterday, I made a grocery order for non-cold items from Walmart. Today, we need to go into the store and get cold food and some turkey for Thanksgiving which is coming up in just 17 days. My birthday is in 11 more days.

Today, Matt is supposed to send our three Easter Egger roosters on to freezer camp for the first time ever. We got all of the equipment and the chicken plucker so this will be the first time we use it all. If it goes well, I will get some meat bird chicks in the spring to raise and send to freezer camp. Fresh chicken is so much more tasty than what we buy in the store. We had a couple of them that we bought since we have lived out here on the farm.

We did not have time today at all for sending anyone to freezer camp. Maybe tomorrow. We will have to see how it all goes...

This has been a crazy day. It is now almost 5pm. I am still mailing out seed orders but thought I would try and collect all of my thoughts. This morning, we left the farm around 7:30am to go to Walmart to buy food and Thanksgiving things. We got there, bought some turkeys and other fixings and got back to the farm. We unloaded and got to work.

With Matt's help, I took the filter apart on the pond to clean it for the first time. It was done by Nacho about six weeks ago. The thing was filthy. We got it all cleaned up with the hose and then tried to put it back together. Finally got it but could not get it to seal. We attempted five times until Matt finally figured out how to seal it.

Of course, there are still little worms in the water, floating about. While cleaning the filter, a customer showed up. I helped her and got her checked out and on her way.

Here is the strange postcard we received in the mail today.Here is the strange postcard we received in the mail today.
Front of the postcardFront of the postcard

Then I got changed and started pulling and filling orders. I was helping an employee fill out an important paper and the mailman came. David was in Fulfillment so I stayed over in Production. He delivered the mail but that was it. When I finished, I found a strange postcard postmarked in Portland, OR addressed to David's Garden. There was a small cut out from a newspaper with a quote from Nietzsche that was glued on and at the top was written #thebrowlowers. What? I could not find much online about that at all. I have no idea what it all means or who it is from. We know nobody in Oregon. The postcard is from Ecuador and was made in 1990. It is very strange.

About an hour later, I realized the sack of mail was still here. We sent Matt to the post office. Just before 4pm, the mailman came back saying he did not get the sack of mail. I told him we already took it to the post office.

Around 3pm, David was not in Fulfillment and a white truck drove in. I went out and welcomed the man. He said he had met David months ago and David had told him to come and visit our "little nursery". We sell seeds and sometimes we have plants. We don't have a little nursery. He said he met us at church. I asked him what church because he does not attend the one we go to now. He said the one down the road but that could be any number of ones that we visited. I did not recognize him at all.

Anyway, I told him our plants are gone at this time of year. He said he did not want to buy anything. He wanted to talk to David. I called him but no answer. I found him elsewhere in the middle of something. I went back out and told the man he could not see him now. The man told me his wife was divorcing him and he wanted us to help him move tomorrow afternoon up in one of the nearby towns.

I went back and told David. He said no. I told the man that David could not lift heavy things with his hernia. Also, that we no longer have a large staff and that we are a business and the few of us here have to operate our business in order to get paid. He did not need a truck. He was driving one. Anyway, he said that at least he tried and then left.  I am very confused about this entire day. I wonder why he thought that we could shut down our business and go help him move. It was very strange. There are many businesses between where he is and our farm, about 15 miles away. Why would he come all the way here instead of maybe asking some neighbors to help.

We found him on Facebook and David said he does not remember him at all. I am perplexed by the complexity of the stupid pond filter, the little worms, the postcard that we got, and the request for us to forget about our business and go move someone. David and I are in our 60s and not in tip top shape. We can't carry a bunch of heavy furniture and big boxes. My head is hurting from trying to figure this entire day out.

On top of it all, I have to go fix some dinner so we can see Kitchen Nightmares tonight as Gordon is going to have a brand new episode on. #priorities

I still have about another 30 orders to mail out but it is now after 5pm and soon it will be dark. Our employees have left. I need to go get eggs and put the chickens away. I also need to check on the rabbits. I think the male rabbit we got is a dud because none of the females are having babies and they were already due...We will see.

No baby rabbits but we are getting a lot of eggs from our new chickens.

This evening, I made pork chops and mixed vegetables. The meal was good and we enjoyed watching Kitchen Nightmares.

Winter Greenhouse - Source Plants

Most of the time, our winter greenhouse fills up because we did not sell all of our plants during spring, summer, and early fall. Of course, some of our plants are our source to grow more so they have to be protected from the cold in our winter greenhouse. Plants like Wandering Jew, Aloe Vera, Citronella, and various mints are rooted to grow new plants to sell. We sell a lot of Citronella in the spring along with all of the tomato plants that David grows and sells to the customers in March and April. Of course, he grows those in his greenhouse.

If you are new here, the reason I have my own greenhouse is because David's outdoor employees would throw my plantings out every day even though they were in my small area and were marked. We had this one man who thought the greenhouse was his and each day after I planted new seeds, he would toss them out and tell me they were not marked. I kept telling David but he did not believe me.

Finally, this man did not water the garden while David was in the hospital. All of the vegetable plants died so he and his helper were fired as David told them they would be. I just cannot believe the crap I have had to go through with so many of the people we have hired since we have been in business. Don't even get me started...On to better things...

It is 63° this morning and it is supposed to get up to 84° so we are back in the Texas warmth again. Our fall garden is doing so well except for our beautiful luffa vines. The temperatures that plunged into the 30s two weeks ago were too much. The vines are pretty much dead now. The leaves are brown and the flowers no longer look gorgeous like they did. So now it is just a matter of the luffa gourds drying out on the vine and then we will pull them all down. It is important to let the gourds dry on the vine so they do not get moldy like they did the first year I grew them.

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

The band of fog is better seen this morning at sunrise.The band of fog is better seen this morning at sunrise.

Good Tuesday morning. I woke up at 5am and could not get back to sleep because it is really 6am and I was starving. I got up and, of course, the dogs want to go out as soon as I come out of the bedroom. I took them out. It is 61° and there is fog again!

I made egg muffins for breakfast. I will have to share the simple recipe. This was the third time I have made them. Each time, I lower the cook time and I believe that 12 minutes is just right for my oven.

It is now light outside and I need to go get ready for the day. Today is election day and we missed the early voting so we have to go vote this morning. There is an important bill giving property owners the right to grow whatever they want instead of the community government telling us what we cannot grow. This is going on in the entire state of Texas. Vote Yes for Texas Proposition 1!

I removed about 20 more worms from the pond this morning. It is getting to be ridiculous. I wonder where they are coming from. We have never had this problem before.

It is now 1pm. We still have not voted. I finally finished all of yesterday's orders. Now I have to start on today's. One order is really big and we have a big order for pickup. Amazon plus two different UPS trucks have been here so far.

I made turkey and cheese sandwiches on whole wheat bread for David and me for lunch. It is now 83° and it feels hot outside. So much for fall...

We voted around 2pm down at the Rossville Community Center. No waiting but I was not expecting 14 propositions.

We left the farm this afternoon at 5:15pm to head for the area business meeting. We had a lot of new businesses represented this time and many of those who came the first time did not show this time. We got home sometime before 8pm and, of course, it was already so dark.

I noticed today that we are getting a ton of spring orders already instead of folks ordering to grow right now for their winter gardens.

Winter Greenhouse - My Trees

Now that we are deep into fall, all of my citrus trees as well as avocado, one peach, and several papaya trees have been moved into the greenhouse. The first two winters we lived out here on the farm, our new citrus trees were planted in the orchard. Both years, we lost all of the citrus trees as well as other trees like our avocado and fig trees for starters. We also lost walnut trees and two different cherry trees. I was so disappointed. After that, we started placing them in pots and moving them in and out of greenhouses.

We have lost thousands of dollars in trees due to the ridiculous cold, snow, and ice that we never get in Texas except for the last five or so years. I fully expect it again this year but I hope I am wrong. Texas is not cut out to suffer in the cold. It is bad enough that we have been suffering in the summer with very little rain and ridiculously hot temperatures every day of 100 degrees or more.

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Almost everyday now, I am getting a bean harvest, sometimes more, sometimes less. Aren't they beautiful?Almost everyday now, I am getting a bean harvest, sometimes more, sometimes less. Aren't they beautiful?

I woke up at 4:30am. Then I kept waking up. I finally got up at 6am in the dark and took the dogs out. There was a thick fog. As it got lighter, I should have snapped a photo. By 6:50am, there was not much fog left so I missed out. At least now, people can see to drive to work safely.

I am trying to clean my office up a little bit. We work so much that there is not much time for cleaning or organizing. I need a couple of weeks off to organize everything!

In early afternoon, I came in the house and blanched three gallons of green beans from the garden and put them in the freezer.

I got most of the orders out and then we left at 4:30pm to go visit a nearby gardening business and talk with them about business. We had a good visit and got back just as full darkness was hitting.

I made dinner and then blanched more green beans that were picked today. There are so many! I got another half gallon of them done and put away. Who knows how many tomorrow will bring?

Winter Greenhouse - New Plants From Seed For Spring

This is my greenhouse, in the backyard near the deck.

At the end of December, the winter greenhouse will be filled with small pots to be planted with tomato seeds. In December of 2022, David and some college kids planted over 4,000 tomato plants along with a few other spring vegetables. We sold or gave away almost all of them. In Texas, if you don't start tomatoes in December or January, you won't get spring tomatoes. It gets too hot too early here and then no tomatoes will appear on the vines.

In your area, you may not need to start or have much of a winter greenhouse. We never did in New York but here in Texas, you have to if you want tomatoes and citrus trees.

Thursday, November 9, 2023

Rainy skies all day long with occasional sprinkles. Now at 4:30pm, the temp has dropped and the rain is coming.Rainy skies all day long with occasional sprinkles. Now at 4:30pm, the temp has dropped and the rain is coming.

Good morning! It is supposed to rain today and be cooler. Yay! I am tired and it is time to get ready and go out and face the day.

Kitty and me yesterday, before the pee incident. She hates to be snuggled.Kitty and me yesterday, before the pee incident. She hates to be snuggled.

The cat peed out the entrance to her litter box, all over the floor. That was fun cleaning it up. Nasty!

Now I am filling orders. Looks like it wants to rain. The humidity is through the roof! It sprinkles and stops, sprinkles and stops...

Time to go fix lunch.

No real rain until around 8pm this evening. It still did not rain that much but I was able to go to sleep at a decent time from being so tired.

Winter Greenhouse

This is the high tunnel, our main greenhouse. In the middle is the hydroponic unit that David made.This is the high tunnel, our main greenhouse. In the middle is the hydroponic unit that David made.

Keep in mind that in most places in the United States, you will need to have some greenhouse heaters to grow anything that is not cold tolerant. Of course, what you can grow without heaters depends on your location and on the weather for a particular year.

If you do not want to use a heater, you can still grow some cold tolerant roots in most places in the greenhouse like onions, garlic, carrots, turnips, radishes, and beets. They can survive most frosts and freezing temperatures as long as they are not too low for too long. The cold actually adds sweetness to the flavor of the vegetables. Of course, if you live up in the northern USA, you probably won't get much if the weather hits below 22° Fahrenheit. Forget about it if you are in Alaska and you are not using a greenhouse heater.

As the produce growing in your winter greenhouse ripens, you will need to keep an eye on it and harvest it when it is ready. Then, of course, you have the problem of where to store it if you don't have a root cellar. We don't. We live in Texas where cellars and basements are not a thing. We run out of room quickly.

Friday, November 10, 2023

Our zucchini is still growing in our fall garden. You can see this by our driveway into the farm.Our zucchini is still growing in our fall garden. You can see this by our driveway into the farm.

Good Friday morning. We didn't get that much rain at all. It is not raining now but the forecast says it is 56° and that we will get heavy rain today. LOL! We very seldom do. I slept well, waking up a few times. I did not get up until 6:20am which is a nice change. There is no rain at all now but it poured in San Antonio over night and they are flooded all over. My housekeeper was supposed to come out today but said the city is flooded and it is bad so she is not coming now until Monday. I told her not to risk her life coming out here to clean. It is not worth it.

David when he first joined the US Army. He was so handsome! Of course, I did not know him then. I wouldn't meet him for another 9 years.David when he first joined the US Army. He was so handsome! Of course, I did not know him then. I wouldn't meet him for another 9 years.

Happy Veteran's Day observed to my husband, David! Wasn't he so cute in his Army uniform? Today, the mail is running and most banks are open but there will be no mail tomorrow. If your packages are a bit late, please remember that we mailed them out but there was a holiday. Most of our packages are mailed it either the same day we receive the order or the next day, unless we are out of something and have to wait for new seeds to come. Right now, everything has been mailed out. Nothing is waiting.

We were supposed to get rain today but did not get a drop the entire day. There was a chill in the air all day long. It got cooler as the day progressed. No walk-in customers showed up today at all. We had no rain overnight.

Matt got us food for dinner from a new Asian place in Lytle that turned out to be a food truck. He went to the address and nothing was there at 5pm which were the hours shown on line. They pulled in at 6pm. I am not sure why he waited. Anyway, he did not get home until after 7pm with the food but I must say the food was the best Asian food we have had since we moved out of San Antonio four years ago. It was very tasty. They actually include vegetables that were cooked fresh in each of the three dishes we got.

Winter Greenhouse - Ventilate

My lemons are turning green! These are young citrus trees but they will have to winter in the greenhouse again.My lemons are turning green! These are young citrus trees but they will have to winter in the greenhouse again.

There will be times while your plants are in your winter greenhouse that the sun will shine bright and the air will really warm up. Make sure when it warms up outside that you turn off the heater, open your greenhouse door, and turn on your ventilation fans so your plants don't cook in the heat. Give the plants extra water so they don't get stressed from the heat.

Last week, it got very warm again after we put the plants away in the winter greenhouse so we had to open the vents and turn the fans on. In a few weeks, it will be cold again. This week, it is supposed to hit 91 degrees!

This happens quite a bit because it normally does not stay cold in Texas like it does in New York during the winter months.

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Happy Veteran's Day from our farm to you! Thank you for choosing to serve our wonderful country.Happy Veteran's Day from our farm to you! Thank you for choosing to serve our wonderful country.

Happy Veteran's Day to all of our veteran customers and thank you for your service to our country!

It was a very cool, cloudy morning that started at 56° a little after 6am. I had to go out to feed all of the animals and unlock the place. The animals were all good. I went back inside and got some things done before heading over to open the store for visitors.

It started raining a bit around 12:30pm. It is currently 1pm and 63° Fahrenheit and the rain is done. The sky is a whitish gray and has been that way for three days. Don with GroMore Gardens came over today. It was good to see him and one of his daughters. I have been pulling and sending out orders. They won't go anywhere until Monday because the post office is closed today for Veteran's Day.

We have Indian Ornamental Corn growing right now that has two and three ears on each stalk. We have not grown any like that before.

It is now 2pm and we are closed. We have two orders for pick up that were not picked up today but that happens a lot.

This afternoon, David will be frying a turkey for our dinner tonight. I am excited about that. I love turkey. I have to think up some sides. I have laundry going now and I need to get the dishes cleaned up.

Alexa says there is a 51% chance of rain in ten minutes. I doubt that will happen.

At 5pm, I was going to go out and collect eggs. I opened the door and it was pouring. I put on my raincoat and went over to see if David had Pamela because I could not find her. He and Pamela were still working in Fulfillment. Pamela saw me in my blue raincoat with hood for the first time and flipped out, barking like I was a bad boogie man! I had to talk to her several times before she realized it was me and calmed down. I fed the fish and locked up for the night. Then I went out back and gave everyone dinner, collected the eggs, and put them all away for the chilly night.

The rain storm did not last 20 minutes but at least we got something.

It is now 6:15pm and David is waiting for the turkey fryer to heat up enough. I have sweet potatoes, carrots, and green beans in the oven roasting so I guess we will be eating those for a while. I am starving and it is still not cooking.

David finally cooked the turkey but I had to put it in the oven for 30 minutes to finish it off. It was good. We skipped Svengoolie because it was one they had already shown twice in about three years. We watched a movie called Foul Play with Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase. It was good. It rained some in the night. Now it is supposed to rain on and off again today.

Winter Greenhouse - Water

Plants have to be watered, no matter how cool it gets.Plants have to be watered, no matter how cool it gets.

Obviously, the winter greenhouse plants will need to be watered. Because of the heaters you have going in the greenhouse, some of the plants will dry out quicker than others. You will need to check on the plant dryness on a regular basis so nothing dries out and dies from lack of water. In my greenhouse, there is a hose hookup so in the cold, I just keep that attached and turn it on without having to drag my hose in and out. It is so convenient. They added that to the greenhouse after it was built.

Right now, my winter greenhouse is loaded with potato plants, sweet potato plants, citrus trees, papaya trees, one peach tree, and one avocado tree. There are also some regular plants like citronella, mint, wandering Jew, aloe vera, and more. I am more concerned with my trees than with anything else because they can really suck up the water quickly.

Next winter, we will have a special winter greenhouse built just for all of the trees that cannot handle the extreme cold we have been getting each winter. I am running out of room in my greenhouse because of the trees. We lost so many trees to the cold in 2019, 2020, and 2021. Last year, I started putting certain trees in the greenhouse. Again, monitor the soil dryness because those trees really take a lot of water and the heater dries it all out quickly.

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Our Indian Ornamental Corn is growing well with two and three ears on each stalk.Our Indian Ornamental Corn is growing well with two and three ears on each stalk.

Good morning. David has some friend coming to pick up seeds at 7am so he is outside waiting for him. That is so inconvenient. Why not just come during regular hours?

So far, we have gotten one third of an inch of rain.

I have fed the indoor animals and I made breakfast. David is still outside. I don't know if the guy showed up or not but I need to go out and feed the animals outside. It is 7:05am.

When I went out at 7:06am, David's friend was out in the parking lot with David. I fed the fish and then went out back to feed the chickens and rabbits.

We went to church and I was wearing a jacket as it was in the 50s. We took the turkey off the bones after lunch and I am making bone broth now. It smells really good in this house. It has been raining on and off all afternoon.

An hour ago, we went out front to get some Amazon packages that the Amazon driver left outside the gate. He has the gate code so there is no excuse. Both boxes are very wet and coming apart. It was then I noticed a neighbor burning something out in the yard unattended. I am afraid of fires so close by because eight months ago, I had to watch another neighboring home burn. We are no longer in a burn ban but here are the rules for burning when there is not a burn ban according to the Atascosa County Texas Gov website.

The following rules still apply to open burning (while not in a burn ban) as required by TCEQ:

  • Fires may not begin until 1 hour after sunrise.
  • Fires must be extinguished 1 hour prior to sunset.
  • The fire must be always monitored.
  • A water source must be readily available.
  • The pile can be no larger then a 10 x 10.
  • Only organic materials can be burned. (Trees, Branches, Shrubs, Grass, Vegetation and Household Trash).
  • Burning of Illegal Materials such as construction equipment, pallets, shingles, wire, and others are NOT PERMITTED! This is still a citable offense for “Illegal Burning”. A citation can be written by any duly sworn peace officer.

We have luffas and other gourds growing out back and they are intertwined with purple and blue morning glories.We have luffas and other gourds growing out back and they are intertwined with purple and blue morning glories.

Someone else who lives around here told me that they burn their trash every time it rains so they don't have to pay for trash service. We have to pay for trash service. Why don't other people do that instead of breaking the law and putting their neighbors in danger?

Soup and grilled cheese sandwiches are what we are having for dinner tonight as it continues to rain at 6:30pm. We're watching Murder She Wrote and we are almost done with the twelfth and final season. There are four movies to watch that are part of the show.

Winter Greenhouse - Heater

First, use caution when thinking about heating your greenhouse in the winter. Space heaters can cause horrible fires if you are not careful. Never use an old space heater. There are special greenhouse heaters that you can purchase but there is always the risk of fire.

Get some space heaters that are made to heat the greenhouse, but only if you think it is necessary. Make sure that there is plenty of space all around the heater as well as around the plants. You do not want to start a fire. Safety first. Think twice before getting and/or using a heater in the winter. If you can protect some of your plants in a warm garage instead of having to heat a cold greenhouse, that is the safer option.

Return from Winter Greenhouse to Year Five On The Farm

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