Asclepias asperula (antelope horn milkweed) Feb 17, 2016 - 

This morning I decided it was time to transfer the six Asclepias asperula (antelope horn milkweed) seedlings from their inert seed potting mix into larger containers with garden soil.  I'm glad that I did.  Normally I would wait for the second set of leaves to develop.  The taproots on these plants were already four inches long and the plants are not even a week old.  I carefully  used a square knife that is somewhat like a small spatula to carefully lift the seedlings from their seed flat.  I put one seeding each into a 7 inch deep pot.  From this pot they will go into the ground about the middle of March.

Four healthy Asclepias asperula seedlings--soaked in Garland city water and planted.

Two Asclepias asperula seedlings soaked in sterile water prior to planting.

We still have two seedlings that emerged a little later from the group soaked in Garland tap water prior to planting.  Thus at this point, out of 18 seeds so far we have 8 seeds that have germinated.



Jennifer Clements, Watson Technology Center teacher hands wood to student 

Today Charlie and I delivered our first load of rotten logs to the Watson Technology Center.  We met Jennifer Clements, a second-grade teacher at Watson along with three Watson students who helped Charlie and I unload the rotten wood into the area where the school greenhouse is located.  This wood will eventually be used to construct a hugelkultur/straw bale butterfly garden.  It will be the first such garden of this style in Garland, if not the world.

It is an experiment that combines two types of water efficient garden beds:  the hugelkultur and the straw bale garden.  Assisted by the students, we will dig a u-shaped trench.  Into the trench will go the rotten logs.  On top of the logs we will put brown organic matter such as dry leaves.  On top of the brown organic matter we will put a layer of composted manure.  On top of that more dry leaves.  On top of the second layer of leaves we will add uncooked vegetable scraps that students have brought from home.  Instead of the garbage disposal, they will bring this green waste to the garden. After each addition of material we will water thoroughly. Next we will mix some expanded shale with the soil that was removed to create the trench.   Then we will cover the trench with this amended soil.  On top of the soil we will place the straw bales.  After about 12 days of watering and adding organic fertilizer to the straw bales to begin their decomposition, we will install the plants for the butterfly garden.

Hugelkulturs are a type of garden bed that has been used in Germany for several hundred years.  Its proponents say that these beds are extremely self-sufficient.  Because of the water retention capacity  of the logs and because of the decaying organic matter. These beds do not require additional feeding or watering (except in cases of extreme drought) beyond what Mother Nature provides for up to 20 years. 


One of the Watson Technology students carries some rotten logs.

Three Watson Technology Students pose in front of the pile of wood they so enthusiastically hauled to the garden.

By the way, the Watson Technology students are already practiced gardeners.  Thus we expect their butterfly garden will be a sight to behold.  Below is a photo of one of their greens and pansy beds.  Flowers and vegetables are a hard combination to beat.

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