Permaculture gardening class

love gWe are offering a class on planning and planting your permaculture gardens for the spring. The class will be on Sunday afternoon, February 24 from 1:00 until 5:00.
We have forty+ years of experience raising crops for culinary purposes in the Gulf Coast area and want to share the successes and help you avoid some of the failures we have had. The class will include soil preparation, plant selection, irrigation, seed starting, site planning, use of livestock, beneficial insects, pollinator attraction and all the stuff it takes to make gardening flow and turn the environmental problems into assets.
The techniques we use can be adapted to work in a small backyard plot or a large commercial garden. We use no till methods, plant diverse crops, usually replant as soon as we harvest, often rotate livestock in the gardens, mulch bare soil, curve the beds to move the water where we want it and have fun with the design and the plant selections.

The class is $55.00 per person and will include electronic handouts. tickets

Advertisements

Planting Calendar

Laughing Frog Farm
Planting calendar

Please note.  We use a free wordpress website and they sell the ads.  I have no idea what they are.  I am neither a supporter or a detractor from the companies advertising on this page.

In Hempstead Texas we do not have a planting season nor a harvest season. Every week gives us the opportunity to harvest something and immediately replace it with a new seed or transplant. The winters tend to be mostly above freezing, cloudy and wet with a single arctic blast down as low at 14˚. The summers are very hot and often dry. Spring, usually a glorious time, can bring us an April freeze and it can be 90˚ by early May. Lately fall has disappeared with hot Octobers and freezes in November. Three recent years, 2015, 2016, 2017 we had over 100 inches of rain. Our temperatures recently have gone from a low of 14˚ F to a high of 108˚ F. So you have to go with the flow because the weather is not under our command. We try at Laughing Frog Farm to mimic nature using permaculture planting methods, keep a large variety of plants in at all times and be ready at any time to start over in an area.
This is the planting calendar recently revised (2018)
This list is a work in progress and always will be.This is not a complete list. We try something new every time we order seeds.    We have seedlings growing to transplant 12 months a year so the items listed under greenhouse growing are time sensitive.  The rest of the year you simply grow anything you want to transplant the next month in pots or trays.

(?) means that I am taking a risk planting and often have to replant due to cold weather.  We take that risk and once in a while have to replant.

“greenhouse”means potting plants in a protected area.

“Seed” means direct seeding in the garden

“Transplant” means moving your potted plants from the greenhouse into the garden.

We will have a class on permaculture  gardening on Feb. 24, 2019.  It is a Sunday afternoon.  We can also arrange classes for a group during the week, never on Saturday.

January

A bad growing month due to the lack of sunlight. Short days and cloudy. We once went 22 days without the sun coming out. Plants do not grow much without sun. We also get some hard freezes that will kill young plants, even cold hardy ones like broccoli. This is the month to prepare for spring and work in the greenhouse, though, usually, you can get a decent harvest despite the elements.

•Greenhouse:
Start tomato, pepper, eggplant seedlings in pots inside – It is best to start them in early December.

• Seed:
English or snap peas,
Lettuce, arugula, baby greens

• Seed or transplants:
Spinach, mustard, turnips, kale, kohlrabi, pac choi

• Transplants:
Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower transplants(?)
Onion sets
Potato – seed potatoes – late in the month
Put tomatoes in the ground at the end of the month if you can protect them from freezes. Keep extra seedlings just in case.

February

Usually the busiest time of the year. We can plant every day, have to battle bad weather and lots of mud. We also have lambs being born.

•Greenhouse
Basil

• Seed:
Radish, Leaf lettuce, arugula, carrots, salad greens

• Seed or transplants:
Spinach, mustard, turnips, kale, kohlrabi, head lettuce, chard, beets

• Transplants:
Broccoli, cabbage
Potatoes – seed potatoes

Move tomato, pepper, eggplant seedlings to protected garden – i.e. hot beds or cold frames. Tomatoes need to go in the ground before March 1 to get good May, June production.

March

March continues February’s busy planting calendar. With decent spring weather we should have most of the spring plants in the ground by the end of the month

• Seed:
Radish, cucumbers(?), winter squash(?), watermelon(?), cantaloupe(?), lima, pinto & green beans(?), okra(?), corn – depends on type and soil temps.
Lettuce, arugula, baby greens

• Seed or transplants:

• Transplants:
pepper, eggplant

April

If the weather has been cooperating we should have most of the spring planting done. However, if it has been a cold March we will be very busy.

• Seed:
Radish, cucumbers, winter squash, watermelon, cantaloupe, lima, pinto & green beans, okra, corn, southern peas, summer squash, basil
Lettuce, arugula – salad greens

• Seed or transplants:

cucumber, basil

• Transplants:
pepper, eggplant

May
May is mostly about harvest. We have an abundance of vegetables, but there is still planting to do.

• Seed:
Summer squash, cucumbers, southern peas, winter squash, corn, watermelon, cantaloupe, molokhia, malabar spinach, amaranth, okra, corn
Lettuce, arugula – baby greens

• Seed or transplants:

cucumber, basil

• Transplants or sets:
Sweet potatoes – slips

June
June is also mostly about harvest. The tomatoes will probably not survive July’s heat so this is your window.

• Seed:
Summer squash, cucumbers, southern peas, winter squash, arugula
July
•Greenhouse:
Get your fall transplants started in a shaded area – broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, Brussel sprouts
This is difficult because you have to water often and that can lead to mildew and damping off. Good ventilation is necessary. A fan might be helpful.

• Seed:
Cucumbers, bush or pole green beans, summer squash, arugula

August
•Greenhouse:
Get your transplants started in a shaded area – broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, celery, Brussel sprouts
This is difficult because you have to water often and that can lead to mildew and damping off. Good ventilation is necessary. A fan might be helpful.

This is a brutal month of picking okra and cucumbers, with minimal harvest and few customers at the market. It is the closest we get to a slow time.

• Seed:
cucumbers, summer squash, arugula, collards, mustard, turnips

• Seed or transplants:

• Transplants:
Late in the month you can transplant broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, Brussel sprouts
September

This is the second busiest planting time of the year, after February/March.

This is also the month we put in the winter hoop house tomatoes.

Seed:
Artichokes, cardoon
Onions, Carrots, Beets, Turnips, spinach, kale, lettuce, fennel,
Lettuce, arugula

• Seed or transplants:
Kale, mustard, lettuce, collards, chard, kohlrabi

• Transplants:
broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts, kohlrabi

If you have a water feature, transplant the celery in rocks or pots on the edge of the water. Celery is perfect for aquaponics.

Potatoes – seed potatoes

October

October weather will almost definitely bring us a few days in the 90s and a few in the 40s. It is a busy planting month for anything that can survive the frost that will inevitable come before the plants mature.

Best month to transplant many herbs like oregano, thyme, sage, rosemary

• Seed:
Onions, beets, radishes, turnips, spinach, mustard, collards, kale, rutabaga
Lettuce, arugula

• Seed or transplants:
Celery – needs constant moisture

Transplants:
Strawberries
Asparagas
broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts, kohlrabi
leeks
Garlic cloves

November

This month usually brings the first freeze to Hempstead, Tx. It seldom makes it all the way to Houston.

November through February are the best months to plant deciduous fruit trees.

• Seed:
Onions, beets, radishes, turnips, spinach, mustard, collards, kale, English or snap peas,
Lettuce, arugula

• Seed or transplants:
Rutabaga, kohlrabi,

Transplants:
Broccoli, cabbage

December

December is often a bad growing month due to the lack of sunlight. Keep in mind that growth rates in January are bad due to lack of photosynthesis and a hard freeze might take away your December efforts.

• Greenhouse:
Start tomato, pepper, eggplant seedlings in pots inside

• Seed:
Onions, turnips, spinach, mustard, collards, kale, English or snap peas,
Lettuce, arugula

Seed or transplants:
Rutabaga, kohlrabi

Transplants:

Cabbage, broccoli,

A few notes:
Every month seedlings are started in the greenhouse or shade area.

(?) means that I am taking a risk planting and often have to replant due to cold weather.

We plant cucumbers every warm month because they succumb to downy mildew. They only last a couple of months per planting.

We only plant winter squash from the cucurbita moschata family, due to its resistance to the squash vine borer.

We usually do not transplant squash or cucumbers, however we are now working with a grafted cucumber that shows great promise and has to be transplanted into the garden.

Farm dinner Dec 9

love g

On Sunday afternoon, Dec. 9 we will have our final farm dinner of 2018.   We will feature vegetables grown on our farm and meat from our livestock, served family style. Vegetarian, and meat dishes will be available.  Gates will open at 2:00 and we will begin serving about 3:00, finishing up under the stars.  All events at Laughing Frog Farm are BYOB. Tickets are available here.

Tomatoes are everywhere


We have hundreds of pounds of heirloom and cherry tomatoes hanging out on our tables right now. We can deliver to Houston restaurants and we will have them at the Eastside Farmers Market in Houston on Saturday. You can get boxes of ready to eat now tomatoes or choose some that will ripen on the counter in a few days. Contact us for pricing and delivery options if you are buying in bulk.

Gulf Coast Rams for Sale

I have Gulf Coast Native rams for sale. One is a one year old Ladner line sheep from Cowpen Creek in Mississippi. Another one is a hornless, very gentle, one year old from our flock. One is our nine year old ram, George/Jack, that has been our breeding ram for two years. The three one year olds are for sale for $280 each. George, because of his age is priced at $150. You don’t have to watch your back with George because he is the most gentle ram we have ever had and would be a good choice for a small family flock. We have some wonderful ram lambs available also for $280. Some are weaned and some not yet.

Super Deluxe

40 years ago tomorrow this happened.

The night before the wedding we gathered with friends for a dinner at Ballatori Italian Restaurant on the east side of Houston. The restaurant was new, had great food at reasonable prices, and the dishes and the staff were all genuine Italian.
But what to serve? Sergio, the proprietor, and Kenan went through the choices for aperitivo, antipasto, primi, secondi, cortorni, insalata, formaggi, (I never imagined so many plates of food) and he then asked if we wanted the deluxe or the super deluxe dinner. What makes one super deluxe? The answer, of course, was “two desserts”.
Well we opted for the super deluxe.
The days preceding the dinner we had friends change plans and others were added to the guest list and Kenan would call Sergio and ask to change the number of chairs. His answer was “don’t a go nervous, don’t a go nervous”. Great advice for a wedding or pretty much anything else.
We had a fantastic three hour meal and a fun wedding day.
Four decades happened.
Tomorrow we will celebrate, keeping it as simple as possible.
But then we will go somewhere special and have two desserts. And an expresso.
Super deluxe.

Forty years after “Ladderman”

Forty years ago on Tuesday, Sept. 20 my company, Houston Stage Equipment, loaded the Houston Ballet’s “Swan Lake” scenery into a trailer headed for Jones Hall.
The entire crew then got together at Larry, my business partner’s house, for some refreshments and fajitas catered by this little local Mexican restaurant named Ninfas. About 2:00 a.m. I got on my bike and motored home. I pulled into the garage and headed to my second floor home in the little fourplex.
The phone rang. I don’t think my phone had ever rung before. When I picked up the receiver I heard my landlady, who lived in the apartment below me, alarmed that the light in the garage had just gone out. I assured Ms. Brown that I would check on it, and halfway down the outdoor staircase I saw a young man on a ladder climbing toward the window of the apartment over the garage. I yelled. He ran. All the neighbors came out, and down from the garage apartment came a women, barefoot and in a red nightshirt. I had never met her.
Ms. Brown had called the police, so we had to wait. Everyone went inside but the young woman and me. We sat on the steps and talked. It took two hours for the police to arrive but it didn’t seem long. We relayed our stories to the police and sat back down on the steps and talked. And then, suddenly, the sun came up. “I’ve gotta go to work”, so I quickly changed from my clean jeans and shirt to my work jeans and shirt and headed to the shop.
We had lots of change orders and additions to do, so I worked long hours for the next three days, but took Saturday off, ostensibly to sleep, but I also thought I might try and get the attention of the woman I had met.
Early, before I felt comfortable knocking on her door, Ms. Brown called me with another emergency. Her cat had died and she wanted to know if I would bury it for her. So, as my grandmother would have said, “I braved up” and knocked on the garage apartment’s door and asked if she would like to go for a walk.
Our first date was a walk down the railroad tracks in Houston’s east end to bury a cat.
The next date was more romantic.
And that is how I met Kenan.
Happy 40th Kenan!

Restarting Local Business Begins With Us

The Sunday morning after hurricane Ike struck the gulf coast in 2008, there was minimal flooding here in Hempstead, and no electricity, so I went into town to see if I could find the source of the electrical outage. We had a full freezer and I needed to know if I should crank up the generator. It was about 5:00 am when I drove by the Snowflake Donuts shop operated by an immigrant family, and a young man was standing out front, in the dark, with a sign that said “Open Today, Cash Only”. They were not going to let a little hurricane and no power stop them from cranking up the propane in order to pay the bills. I didn’t stop and feel guilty about that.
Houston has a young population, a large energetic immigrant community and hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs. Often those assets are all rolled into one person.
If you want to jumpstart this recovery, continue to donate what you can, time and/or money, but the thing that really makes the economy come back is supporting local business. If you buy lunch from a food truck or a mattress from Gallery Furniture, you know that much of that money will be recirculated into the local economy.
It will take government money to get the roads and schools back and rebuilding the homes is a long term project, but each of us has the power to help the local hardware store, the small restaurant, and, of course, the local farms. We can help rebuild lives purchasing the things we need to rebuild our own.
So before you head off to the big box store, or click “add to cart” at Amazon, look around our home turf for it. That money just might come back to you and your friends.