Author Topic: Trying to keep the garden alive!  (Read 3398 times)

33w

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Trying to keep the garden alive!
« on: August 19, 2015, 04:21:41 PM »
My wife and I bought our first home earlier this summer, which came with a number of trees, bushes and other plants.  Unseasonable rains and sheer luck have kept it alive so far, but I would appreciate any help or advice that you can give to help them thrive!  We're in San Antonio, TX (zone 8b), if that helps.

Right now, the plan is to sustain what we have, then add additional planters for tomatoes, potatoes, and more everyday foods.  Composting, rainwater collection, and drip irrigation are all planned as well.

Here's the pictures: https://imgur.com/a/5X1sf

Goldielocks

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Re: Trying to keep the garden alive!
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2015, 04:28:56 PM »
Magic secret -- Water (by hand if needed) regularly -- deeply once a week at the roots. 
Those poor roses look like they need some!  and they were not pruned back to 2-3 ft last spring so are leggy now, but you can cut them back, for certain.

Fertilizer on fruiting / veggie plants (or compost).

You can pull old plants, especially if you need a bit more light in some areas.  the Yucca's will have side shoots you can replant when you pull out the old parent plant, that will grow nicely over 3 years...

33w

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Re: Trying to keep the garden alive!
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2015, 04:32:34 PM »
Quote
Magic secret -- Water (by hand if needed) regularly -- deeply once a week at the roots. 

Not that big of a secret, but I need to be better about doing it.

Are the Yucca's the one I'm misidentifying as Aloe?

Goldielocks

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Re: Trying to keep the garden alive!
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2015, 04:50:44 PM »
Quote
Magic secret -- Water (by hand if needed) regularly -- deeply once a week at the roots. 

Not that big of a secret, but I need to be better about doing it.

Are the Yucca's the one I'm misidentifying as Aloe?
Probably.  Spiky plant with showy spray of flowers once a year (when mature)


I mention watering because this year I am on city wide watering restrictions, and my shrubs are really struggling.  They need a heavy watering at least once a month after they are established.

33w

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Re: Trying to keep the garden alive!
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2015, 05:08:01 PM »
I'm on water restriction too, can only use the sprinklers 1 day/week.  That's why I want to explore drip irrigation, as that can run during certain hours 7 days per week.

worms

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Re: Trying to keep the garden alive!
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2015, 11:55:25 AM »
Could unknown 2 be ginger?
Your Aloe looks like a sisal to me or some other Agave
The dead cactus is an Opuntia (prickly pear) of some sort and very much alive!

No need to do much planning for compost - just start piling it in a corner until you have the time to do something more fancy!

Another Reader

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Re: Trying to keep the garden alive!
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2015, 12:06:23 PM »
Unknown #8 is pittosporum, AKA mock orange.  Their are dwarf and full sized versions.  The dwarf forms tend to grow in mounds, the other forms are shrubs.  They can be shaped by pruning/shearing.  They are somewhat drought tolerant but do need some regular water.

worms

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Re: Trying to keep the garden alive!
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2015, 02:08:18 PM »
No experience of gardening in Texas, but my inclination would be to prune most of these back quite hard near the end of your dry season or in the middle of winter (if you get much in the way of true winter weather).

33w

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Re: Trying to keep the garden alive!
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2015, 02:56:15 PM »
@Worms: I think you're right on the ginger. I'm going to pull it during the winter and replant some of the rhizomes.
The part of the prickly pear that I thought was dead is this: https://i.imgur.com/Fwu39ba.png, but I think I just need to clean up the parts that aren't doing well and let the rest thrive.

@Another Reader: Someone in another thread said rhododendron for #8.  Is there a good way to tell that apart from mock orange?


Thanks all for your insight!

Another Reader

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Re: Trying to keep the garden alive!
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2015, 03:09:19 PM »
It does not look like a rhododendron to me.  From the original picture, it looks exactly like one of the pittosporum I have here in the Bay Area.  Blowing up the picture, I'm not as convinced.  Pittosporum leaves curl under and maintain some shine.  They are often variegated.  Take a cutting to the local nursery to get an expert opinion.  Nurseries are very helpful for this.  Not big box stores, but a real nursery.

Overall, the impression of the yard is that it is being taken over by native species.  Compare some of the younger unidentified plants, especially saplings, to those in the nearest wooded area to see if there are matches.  There are probably web sites with pictures and descriptions of native plants in your area that will also help you.

Goldielocks

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Re: Trying to keep the garden alive!
« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2015, 01:26:24 AM »
@Worms: I think you're right on the ginger. I'm going to pull it during the winter and replant some of the rhizomes.
The part of the prickly pear that I thought was dead is this: https://i.imgur.com/Fwu39ba.png, but I think I just need to clean up the parts that aren't doing well and let the rest thrive.

@Another Reader: Someone in another thread said rhododendron for #8.  Is there a good way to tell that apart from mock orange?


Thanks all for your insight!
Rhodos have thick, but not succulent leaves..  Mock orange just has tough leaves than a maple, but not thickish.

worms

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Re: Trying to keep the garden alive!
« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2015, 10:58:59 PM »
There is a garden near here with a huge collection of rhododendrons and the one conclusion I would draw is that they are so variable that it would be a very brave person to rule it out unless they were very familiar with the particular plant.  Whatever it is, it is a nice mature bush and I would live with it for a full year to see what flowers/fruits it might produce.

On the opuntia, I'm not convinced it is ever going to add a great deal to the garden and will always be a pain (literally!) to weed around, so I think I would get rid of it completely.

MsPeacock

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Re: Trying to keep the garden alive!
« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2015, 05:51:18 AM »
I lived in San Antonio for 4 years and had a kick ass garden. The house started with an overgrown mess. Landscaping is a multi-year, possibly never ending project.

The light green bushes by your door are a variety of sage. You can cut it back severely and it will regrow. Best done in early spring, but it is an almost indestructible plant.

Remove the rosemary. I suspect it doesn't have enough sun (hard to tell in the photo) and it is mostly dead. A new plant can be put in in the spring. Just get a small $4 one and water well rosemary needs lots of sunlight but will otherwise thrive in San Antonio. Maybe find a better location for it.

Clear out the ugly, the half dead, the invasive, etc and focus of making light and space for the plants you like and want to keep. Take out anything that doesn't have adequate light.

Grass in Texas requires watering to stay green and alive. My first year there I ended up killing my whole,lawn because I thought watering grass was stupid and unnecessary (true in other parts of the country). So that strip along the extension needs water, regularly, and deeply. Maybe once a week with a really good soaking. Also a deep hard raking to remove the dry clumps of grass and loosen the soil.

The green onions are just onion weeds. They grow everywhere and aren't tasty (very woody). I would recommend pulling them out. If you want to grow onions it is easy to do from onion starts in the spring. You need a well turned vegetable bed.

The roses have several problems. First, many of them appear to be in areas that are too shady (because they are txt remedy leggy) and those likely should be cut back and moved or removed in the fall. Others should be severely cut back (to about one foot high) in the early spring.

I hope that helps. Good luck. Not sure what the rain situation is like down there now. We had one extremely dry year (11" for the whole year) and the established plants did fine.