Tuesday, March 4, 2014

My Very Own Grassicles

Are late season freezes getting you down? Turn that frown upside down and have a beautiful grassicle!

I love the word "grassicle". Grasses frozen in movement are so fabulously lovely! The Plano Prairie Garden posted some wonderful grassicle photos in early December. I didn't realize at the time that I would have my very own grassicles in March. Crazy times!

Today the birds will dine from crystal chandelier bird feeders. Eager for the extra calories, a steady stream of birds continue to visit the feeders even in the bitter cold.

Flash frozen veggies anyone? No worries. The heavy weight row covers will provide protection until we thaw later today. We are going to thaw, right?

Until the thaw, the garden is a wonderland of icy crystals.

Every garden plant takes on a new dimension of beauty when frozen. A crape myrtle with seed pods and branches still intact creates a magical web of ice.

The berries of this Oregon grape holly will have to wait for warmer days before they can ripen, but ripen they will. While rare, late season ice storms have coated the berries in prior years and they always pull through.

It's really quite spectacular what a little frozen water can do to something as mundane as a live oak.

All this ice is a fun distraction, but this late season cold weather is getting in the way of my gardening plans. I've got tomatoes to plant and cucumber seeds to sow!

What's a gardener to do when even the lettuce and the broccoli is struggling to keep warm?

I'm dreaming of a fabulous harvest, but all I can hear is the clock. Tick tock. Tick tock. Time is wasting. I need to get those tomatoes and other warm season veggies growing and well-established before the heat sets in if I want a bumper crop.

I'm not going to let this cold weather slow me down. I bought my tomato and pepper transplants and bumped them up to 1 gallon containers. In these mobile pots, I can move the plants to a sunny indoor window, the greenhouse, or a under a shady tree depending on what nature throws my way.

I've started sowing other warm season vegetables seeds indoors, because I think this year indoor seed starting will be key to getting an early start. The primary reason is the soil temperature and the effect on seed germination. Here's an interesting Aggie Horticulture link discussing soil temperatures.

Soil temperatures are very cold right now and if this cold weather continues, the soil will be slow to warm. Cucumbers, squash, melons and okra prefer warm soil temperatures of around 70 degrees for seed germination, so giving these seeds an early start indoors will give me bigger seedlings when I can finally plant outside.

Under seed starting lights or in a sunny window, I can get a head start for the warmer days ahead. I can almost taste those fabulous home grown melons now.  Stay warm out there!


  1. I thought of your garden, when I saw there was ice in your area. Looks like it's doing ok.
    I think I'll have to plant some things inside, too. I have tomatoes in gallon pots, already...moving in and out of the garage.
    Heat will be here, before we know it....I think.
    Glad you had no damage.
    Stay warm...

    1. There are some tree branches so heavy with ice they are practically touching the ground. Amazingly, I haven't seen any snapped branches. The melt has started, so everything should be fine.

  2. Lots of --sicles. I hope your trees will "hang in" through the melt. It looks like your damage was minimal--that's great. Take care of those beautiful veggies that you grow.

    1. When it warms up I'll check the flowers and buds on the fruit trees to see what the damage was. I was reading that the stage of the bud determines whether or not it will be impacted by the cold. Apparently, the late bud makes the fruit this year.

  3. Those are amazing photos for March in Central Texas. I don't usually look forward to the heat but this cold, damp weather is keeping me indoors far too long. Looks like your methods are very successful and you will have a great crop whenever.

    1. I've definitely spent way more time indoors this year. Too much butt/couch contact for sure. My gardening muscles are getting flabby.

  4. I love your grassicles. I just cut mine back over the weekend, so none here, plus it looks like you got quite a bit more ice than I did over here. Your tomatoes look awesome. I need to start mine earlier next year.

    1. I bought tomatoes a few weeks ago and put them in 1 gallon containers out in the greenhouse. Despite the cold weather, it's not uncommon for the greenhouse temperatures to rise to 90 degrees when it's sunny. The tomatoes seem to like that.

  5. Ah, your turn for grassicles! How unusual to have ice that far south in March. Glad you got to enjoy the beauty without any damage. I do hope we are done with it for the year.