June 10 marks another Blackberry bounty from the one incredible bush.  This afternoon I picked 1 and 1/3 pounds.  Adding to it the 2/3's pound of blackberries that members of Loving Garland Green ate off the bush last night, that brings the grand total to date up to nine pounds of black berries from one bush.  At $3.98 for 12 ounces (Walmart prices), the current market value for my Blackberry harvest thus far this year is $47.76.

And the good news is:  There are still at least two pounds left on this bush AND there is one bush behind it in another raised bed that is poised to yield at least as many blackberries starting next week.

I'm very impressed.  I planted both of these thornless blackberries last year in July.

Oops!  I didn't realize it until I took a trip through the archives of my posts. I have two, not one blackberry bush in each raised bed.

Below is a photograph taken on June 28 of the two beds in which I have blackberries:

Four blackberry bushes shown in two raised beds in foreground-  June 28, 2013.

Below is the way they look today - June 10, 2014.  The first photograph is of the front bed shown in photo above from 2013.  The second photo below is of the second bed, near the middle of the photograph above from 2013.  That's how they look today, less than a year later.  As for fertilizer:  mulch, compost and coffee grounds.  Berries like slighly acidic soil.

Note:  The blackberries on this bush will be ready to begin harvesting next week--perfect timing since the bush in front is almost finished with its production for the year.


Crop Record for Charlie's Garden June 9:  3 large tomatoes and 9 cherry tomatoes weighed in at 1 1/3 pounds!  At a current market value of $1.99 for vine ripe tomatoes in the grocery store, this one harvest alone is valued at approximately $2.65.

Currently Charlie also has two and a half pounds of radishes from his garden in the refridgerator.  At a current market value of $1.69 a pound, that produce has a market value of approximately $4.20.
Produce is expensive!  It all adds up.  Plus there is no way to figure in the difference in quality as well as the experience of pulling a vegetable off a plant that you've grown yourself.  No grocery store tomato can ever compare to a home grown tomato!
Here is a closeup of Charlie's tomatoes.  You'll have to take my word for it as I've already eaten several of his tomatoes. They are indeed great!
 As mentioned, Charlie's garden will be featured on Loving Garland Green's Midsummer Night's Dream Garden tour scheduled for June 21, the Summer Solstice, from 6PM to 9PM.  Charlie's garden is somewhat unique in that all his beds are on top of the flagstone surrounding his swimming pool--just goes to show you that you can have a successful urban garden under seemingly the most adverse conditions.
Charlie has several types of vegetables growing in his garden.  For example, below  you can see how well his cucumbers are thriving and already he has his second batch of radishes pushing up through the soil.

In closing, Charlie just came in from his garden and reported l.5 pounds of brussel sprouts that he just harvested.  His garden is fabulous, and you can visit in on June 21 from 6 to 9PM and see it for yourself.


A Midsummer Night's Garden Tour - Saturday, June 21st - 6PM to 9PM

hosted by Garland Urban Farmers and members of Loving Garland Green

Even if you don't believe in fairies, we hope you will join us for our first Midsummer Night's Garden tour.


Just this morning I caught a glimpse of a fairy climbing into the cover of an olla in my garden. Among other things, they really enjoy the rain.  You may not see any fairies on our garden tour (and you certainly won't if you don't believe in them) but you will see some of the magic that Garland residents have growing in their yards if you take the tour.  For example,  you will be able to see my famous blackberry bushes.  I'll even allow visitors to pick a blackberry and eat it.

I think the tour date will be a little premature for my grapes, but if not, visitors can have a taste of these fruits from my garden as well.



Our garden tour is free and open to the public. 

How will you know where to go?

That's easy, you can continue to daily return to my garden blog at Eat Green DFW, or you can visit Loving Garland Green on Monday, June 16, to download the map of the Midsummer Night's Garden Tour with the addresses of the gardens to be featured.  The maps will certainly be available by then.  We will also feature copies of these maps at selected Garland businesses four or five days prior to the event.

The tour is planned for early evening of the Summer Solstice to take advantage of the cooler evening time, to celebrate the longest day of the year, and to honor the world of plants.  Each garden is special for its own reasons and comes with unique stories to be told by the gardeners themselves.  We hope you will be able to join us for this fun and educational evening.  Four of the gardens I know for certain that will be featured are all within a short walking distance:  Margie and Gene's garden at 211 E. Kingsbridge; Mine at 216 E. Kingsbridge; Charlie's at 269 Bellwood; and of course, the Garland Community Garden at 4022 Naaman School Road.  Thus,  you can park your car on Kingsbridge (near Naaman School Road) and walk from there to all four of these gardens.  Please be careful when crossing Naaman Road and only cross at the light.

The Garland Community Garden is an area of 17,000 square feet located at 4022 Naaman School Road. It is the first Community Garden on city-owned property.  Members of Loving Garland Green are currently the official stewards of this licensed area.  On April 12, 2014 we installed the first garden plot at the site.  It is a 4 foot by 7 foot square foot garden that was constructed according to guidelines of Mel Bartholomew, the man who first this gardening method in the early 1980's.  Other examples of various gardening formats at the site include container gardens; a concrete block raised bed; an IBC container bed; a keyhole garden; a pallet garden; and various examples of lasagna gardens.  Unlike many community gardens, we do not till the soil.  We build new soil on top of the existing earth using leaves, vegetable matter, compost and garden soil.



We hope you will be able to join us for this fun and educational evening in which we hope to inspire more Garland residents to begin growing some of their own food.  


and who knows? It's purported to be a magical night.  You might even see Puck* himself hiding out in one of the container gardens.



* In English folklore, Puck is a mischievous nature sprite or fairy. He is also known by some as "Robin Goodfellow."  He was a character in William Shakespeare's A Midsummer NIght's Dream.


June 7 saw my third formal harvest of the blackberry bush in my front garden.  "Formal" means that I put them in a container and weigh them.  (I haven't been keeping track of the times that I pick several blackberries off the bush and eat them immediately or the times that visitors to my garden indulge themselves.)

This harvest was the largest yield to date:  3 full pounds of blackberries.    This makes a grand total of seven pounds of delicious blackberries from this one bush so far.  It appears to me there are at least three pounds more left to ripen.  When all is said and done, I predict this bush will have yielded a total of 11  or 12 pounds of blackberries. At today's market value o $3.98 for 12 ounces, that's about $45 worth of blackberries. The blackberry bush in the other raised bed promises to be just as prolific.  Its fruit looks like it may begin to ripen in a week or so--just about the time this one finishes its harvest.

May 31:  First harvest yielded 1 1/2 pounds

June 2:  Second Harvest yielded 2 1/2 pounds

June 7: Third harvest yielded 3 pounds


June 2, second Blackberry harvest yields 37 ounces of blackberries--about 2 and 1/4 pounds.  At today's commercial price of $3.98 for 12 ounces the dollar value is $26.94.

In my front yard garden I have two large blackberry bushes.  One bloomed almost three weeks prior to the other.  It had white blossoms and now is producing exceptionally large blackberries. Both bushes were planted last June. I'm sorry to say that I don't remember the variety of this one.  I remember purchasing the bush (a thornless variety) in a pot last year from Home Depot.

The other large blackberry plant in my front yard I grew from a cutting from a blackberry bush near my fence in the driveway out back.  I don't know where/how this plant originated but it has never done that well in the three or four years of its life.  I always thought it was because of all the tree roots it has to compete with in my back yard area.  The transplant in my front yard from this plant has grown a very large leafy green bush like the other.  However, it bloomed almost three weeks after the other blackberry bush and its blossoms were light violet colored.  It now has berries that are still green.  These berries are half the size of those from the other plant.


Garden Lessons from the School of Hard Knocks

Only plant seeds or cuttings from plants grown in your yard that were highly successful--even if you are planting them in what you believe to be a seemingly more advantageous spot in your yard.  In other words, don't make excuses for plants that are not successful in your yard.  I'm about to come to that same conclusion regarding plants from the squash family.  For some reason they will not grow to maturity in my yard.  My friends (Margie across the street) and Charlie (who lives behind me) grow great squash plants.  For me, they produce mediocre vines, bloom, and then wither.  Yes, I know the male female parts of the plant and I even tried pollinating them myself.



Thus far this one bush has produced four pounds of blackberries (62 oz).    Judging from the berries left on this bush, I estimate that another four pounds is forthcoming.  The total commercial value of these blackberries is thus far $34.90 and very likely could be as high as $69.80 from this one bush. If my other bush does only half as well, the commercial value of my blackberry crop will be at about $104.00.


Conclusions thus far Regarding Blackberries in my Yard and in the Garland Community Garden

I'm devoting more space for growing them in my yard.  I shall use cuttings from my successful plant.  Depending upon how successful (and tasty) the blackberries from the second plant, I may even rip that one out and replace that space as well with cuttings from the #1 blackberry.

Blackberries keep well and are high in antioxidants. Blackberries and strawberries are very high in ellagic acid, an antioxidant that acts like a scavenger to help make potential cancer causing chemicals inactive.   I will add blackberry vines to our winding garden at the Garland Community garden located at 4022 Naaman School Road.


Photo Wiki Commons - Courtesy Augustus Binu

The Pomegranate is officially classified as a berry which originated in Iran. Pomegranate seeds provide 12% of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin C and 16% DV for vitamin K per 100 g serving, and contain polyphenols, such as ellagitannins and flavonoids. Pomegranate seeds are excellent sources of dietary fiber 

The ancient Ayurveda system of medicine has used various parts of this plant as a source for many of its traditional remedies for centuries.  For example, the rind of the fruit and the bark of the tree have been used as remedy against diarrhea, dysentery and intestinal parasites. The seeds and juices are considered a tonic for the throat and heart.  But most of all:  pomegranates taste great.  If you don't like the seeds, try the juice.  By the way, once you develop a taste for pomegranates, that will be an incentive to grow your own as the fresh fruit as well as its juice and other food derivatives are quite pricey.


Inspired this morning by an article in March/April issue of Texas Gardener (as well as my own success at keeping two pomegranate bushes alive in my yard over the harsh winter fo 2013-2014) I've decided that it's time for Loving Garland Green to begin the establshment of our woodland garden section of the Garland Community Garden. 

The article, written by Suzanne Larry, is titled Richard Ashton, a Fruitful Life.  Richard Ashton lives in Brownwood Texas--a stone's throw from where I grew up out in west Texas.  In 2004 he started his Oak Creek Orchard in Brownwood --a  mixed orchard with room for experimental species.

In 2012 he and two partners purchased 549 acres in Fort Stockton (out near the Big Bend country).  They are in the process of planting 32,000 pomegranate trees there.  Now that's a vision.  If they are successful in these endeavors, they will transform the local economy of that area to a plant-based economy (my prediction).  As more folks become educated regarding the nutritional and health benefits of the pomegranate, its market demand will soar.

Mr. Ashton is best known for his work with pomegranates.  His book, The Incredible Pomegranate, Plant and Fruit, published in 2006 is still in print--a testimony to the interest in pomegranates and Richard Ashton.  He has pioneered many of the techniques for propagating pomegranates in Texas.


It is my firm conviction the fastest paths  to knowledge and success are people who have "been there done that."    Thus this morning I dashed off an email to Mr. Ashton requesting his advice regarding a project I plan to propose to Loving Garland Green members tomorrow night.  Here is an excerpt:

About a Proposed Pomegranate Experiment

I realize the conditions in west Texas are not the same as those here in the DFW area; however, I do know that pomegranate trees can survive and even thrive here. Last year I planted two in an area in my yard where I am in the process of establishing a woodland garden. They both survived the unusually harsh winter we had here in Garland, Texas and today are green and healthy.

I would like to experiment with pomegranates in our garden by creating a grove of about 10 of them at the edge of the canopy of one of the mature (about 50 years old) pecan trees at our site. Like Brownwood, we also have our issues with the drought and water restrictions. As part of our experiment, I would like to install two, one-foot diameter, 2.5 feet tall chicken wire cylinders per tree. Our trees would be planted in mulch/compost/garden soil piles as we do not till the earth at our site.

The chicken wire baskets would be placed about one foot out from either side of each tree. They are inserted into the soil to about 1.5 feet of the cylinder. Wet cardboard is placed in the bottom of the cylinder and then vegetable table scraps are added. It is topped off with layers of crumpled newspaper to mask any odor. These cylinders are watered weekly. Unless conditions get extremely dry, once the plants are established, the cylinders only get water. The roots of the tree are attracted to the cylinder for water and nutrients.

The cylinders are replenished at 10 day cycles with cardboard, vegetable matter and newspaper.

Request for Assistance

We would like to obtain plants from you, Mr. Ashton--after all you are decidedly the best and most reliable source for pomegranates. I'm sure you could advise on the heartiest varieties for our area. In addition, we would like to obtain your expert advice on how best to proceed with our proposed experiment.

Our members will keep detailed records of this experiment as we would like to encourage others to grow pomegranates in our area as well. Please send me information regarding cost of sending 10 to 15 pomegranates:  



I'll keep you posted on this.  In the meantime I will order a copy of Mr. Ashton's book.  If I don't hear from him, the knowledge I glean from his book may be sufficient to guide me and other members of Loving Garland Green in undertaking this experiment to establish pomegranate shrubs in our community garden.


Blackberries from my garden today weighed in at 1 and 1/2 pounds.  Current Market Value:  $7.96

[Today at the grocery store blackberries are selling $3.98 for 12 ounces.  I estimate that my two blackberry vines will yield approximately 10 pounds of blackberries this year.  That's $51.74 worth of blackberries. I consider this a good return on my investment.  Last June I purchased the two blackberry plants for $10 each. With the exception of a little bit of water, I've not spent any money or effort maintaining these plants.] 

One of the best pieces of advice I've heard regarding crop choice is:  Grow what you like that is expensive to purchase.  In my yard I have blackberries, strawberries, peaches, artichokes, golden potatoes, grapes, tomatoes, radishes, and a variety of greens.  I do grow a few carrots which are usually not that expensive; however, I love carrots and home-grown carrots are far superior to those found in the grocery store.

Most of the time I eat blackberries plain on my cereal in the morning, but tonight I decided to be adventurous and make  a blackberry cobbler, using a recipe I found on the Internet: 1/2 stick of butter, one cup self-rising flour, one cup of milk, one cup and 1/4 sugar and two cups of blackberries--bake 350 for one hour.  Below is a photo of the results.  It was wonderful and brought back many happy memories of cobblers baked by my mother.  Charlie and I had a warm slice with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

A garden is a treasure, a gift that continues to give.

Did you know that blackberries turn red when baked in a cobbler?


Later this evening I went across the street and took Gene and Margie each a piece of the cobbler.  You should see their back yard!  In fact, you will be able to see their back yard on Mid-Summer Night's Eve this year.  Loving Garland Green is putting together a Garland urban garden tour.  Mark your calendars for June 21 from 6PM to 9PM!  More details will follow. We plan to celebrate the longest day of the year with a Mid-Summer Night's Eve garden tour. (Yes, there will be fairies and lights.)  Margie and Gene's garden will be among the Garland gardens featured on the tour.  It is a treat to see all their ingenious garden enhancements.  Every time I go over there (which is about three times a week), there is something new added.  For example, tonight I discovered a new squash support--a little hoop trellis built of wire and extending from the inside of their raised bed out onto the grass.