A Home Inspector’s Weblog by Frank Schulte-Ladbeck

exploring homes and the lives in them around Houston

They’re Moving

Houston has no Winter it seems. I was out of the country for two weeks, and we still have temperatures that lean more towards Fall than a Winter. My basil has suffered from some mild frost damage, but the plant is fine. The leaves did come down from the trees, so raking was the task of the day. My Spring bulbs are popping up now, so I am hoping no February frost will do them in.

The other main preparation that has taken place is the chore of getting the beds ready for annuals and vegetables. Mainly overturning the soil while adding peat and compost. Overturning creates spaces for roots by aerating the soil. Cleaning out the weeds that decided to fill my beds during my absence. I also have to remove the carcasses of the annuals that I let go to seed. Now I have such bare spaces, and I am making my plans.

Looking over my gardens, and thinking of the colors to come, I have decided that this is the time to move. Not out of the house; just plants to create a new scene, decorate the backdrop in a new way. This is the best time for such an adventure. Top growth is slow. The one thing to watch for is that I do not damage the roots too much when starting my transplanting. To prevent root damage, I dig deep and wide around the plants. I have the space already picked out, and I have dug the new hole. After transplanting, I water the pant in to help the roots out. Now, I watch the plants to see what they might need. The main thing will be watering. With such warm weather (the cold front is moving through today) and strong sun in some locations, I had to water everyday after moving some plants.

The only other item that I have started for my garden has been starting some seedlings on flats. Seed starter kits are inexpensive at your gardening center, but you could make a simple one from a large, old plastic pot. I fill the container a third of the way with potting mix. Water the soil, and then plant the seeds. I cover the top of the container with a clear plastic wrap or an old window pane. Since I am having such a mild weather here, placing these containers outside in a semi-shade spot is fine. I sometimes keep these containers inside near a window. This gives the plants a nice head start before they are attacked by any predator in the garden.

A huge tree limb just fell down, blocking the street. Oh well, I need to pull out some saws, so I have to go. Oh yeah, this reminds me; it is a good time to do some pruning too. If top growth is slow, the plant can take some pruning on top.

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