Texas summers are hot, hot, hot so gardening for us urban dwellers living in Fort Worth, Texas, is challenging with the intense heat and lack of rain for several months in a row. This year, RM and I installed a sprinkler system as well as a comprehensive drip system even for the bird bath (see picture below) to provide for consistent watering for all of the containers and small beds in our city backyard oasis.
We have three large stock tanks, converted to container gardens, full of potatoes and fava beans along with fabric bags of purple long beans, tomatoes, eggplant and peppers. After I harvest the potatoes in July, we will plant okra that thrives on the heat of August and September. I like these fabric bags because I can move them around if the spot is too hot or gets too much sun as the summer months progress. I can also cover them easily with shade cloth as the August heat wave approaches. It can reach temperatures of 110 degrees which is brutal for just about any plant.
I love cooking as well as gardening so we have planted fresh herbs throughout the garden including basil, lemon sage, thyme, lavender, cilantro, oregano and parsley.
We have a bird feeder and several bird baths to attract a wide variety of native birds including pairs of cardinals and chick-a-dees. RM loves to build little houses to line our wooden fence to encourage our feathered friends to nest their young in the spring — we have several species that are repeat house guests over the years. Three months ago, I planted a fig tree in hopes of it bearing fruit next year. It already has a small fig budding out and has tripled in size since I planted it.
This year, with the introduction of more consistent watering, we have some little brown frogs and also a few blue dragon flies hanging around the canna as well as an abundance of bees. We also have a wide variety of lizards some black, some vivid green with red throats and others spotted and horned. They keep the mosquitoes at bay.
For mother’s day, RM bought me a small transportable composter which we are just now introducing the contents to our garden. Since RM is an avid woodturner, I always have lots of sawdust to add to the beds and containers to help the plants retain moisture and discourage pests. It serves the same purpose as mulch. Relaxing in the garden with our little backyard cat — who is approaching 14 years of age — is what I do best especially early in the morning before the temperatures get too warm. Happy urban gardening!