If you are acquainted with the winds of change in Texas weather, you will appreciate this post. This time last year we were fighting ice and snow on the roads, in our yards, on our rooftops and shoes. We were buzzing with “what is this?” but hesitated to complain as it was giving us a few days off. Today I am reporting that the weather has been rather normal this year so far. We have 35 degree weather and sunshine one day and 85 degree weather and sunshine the next with a lot of in-between temps that work well with a light rain coat (did I say rain?). Oh yes. After nearly a year of drought, we have had several inches of rain these last few months. I did get a chance on the 21st to get my garden planted for the cool weather plants. As you may recall, if you have been reading these posts for a while, I have an above-the-ground garden which is a garden box about 2 feet tall by 5 foot wide and 20 foot long. I had it filled with organic compost dirt which was light and airy, smooth, and smelled somewhat sweet. I began planting vegetable gardens 4 years ago, so this is the 4th year. Every year I learn something new. I look forward to the surprises of the season.
This year I decided to plant about 5 rows of carrots, 2 rows of green table onions, 1 row of sweet large onions, turnips, beets, some bell peppers, dill, cilantro. We will see how long it takes for these dear seeds to push through the soil! This was last Saturday, January the 21st. The first task I had was to mend fence holes. Two large neighborhood dogs had dug holes and eaten some wood to get into my little safe haven for frogs and rabbits and bumble bees. So, after posting a note to the neighbor upon finding the holes in a gate and along the shared fence line, I got an amazing and immediate response. The same day the neighbor put up an electric fence along the bottom of their side of the fence and it worked like magic! The dogs stayed away. We both mended the fence and I filled up holes in the yard with dirt from pots and barricaded the gate and other side of the house until further notice when I have time to figure out other options.
Even with that bit of bother, I did accomplish getting the cool season root veges planted. Keeping in mind that these will begin growth in 4 to 6 weeks and will be ready for harvesting around 8 weeks. Harvest most of these for a month or two and then up goes all the fragrant ones to be replaced with tomatoes, cucumbers and okra – Texas staples! I am considering planting some experimental corn along the fence line on the actual ground. I learned just this week that corn is a cool weather plant also, but it needs a lot of leg room. We’ll see what kind of little creatures are attracted to the corn. I can only imagine.
We were blessed with a lot of rain last evening and this morning. My new seeds may have re-positioned themselves! It was quite a down pour. I think there is more to come in the next few days. If you are thinking about gardening this spring, don’t let the opportunity pass you by to plant some root and cool veges right now. It’s so wonderful to see the plants rising up and ready to pick just when most people are “thinking” about planting a garden (March-April). So, get ahead. If you love carrots, these are little gems that will grow all year-long if you let them! You can pick what you want, when you want and let them keep growing. When you clear away some of the carrots, and its around 80 to 85 degree weather, put your tomato plants in there. They love carrots! Always keep in mind companion planting. It makes a huge difference!
Another tip, before you plant, make sure you prepare the soil with some organic fertilizer (preferably cow related) and dried molasses (to make a bountiful harvest and keep away the ants!) Be generous with your molasses and put it all over your grass as well. You will not believe how it revives thin looking grass to thick and plush grass. Be sure to rake through your garden mixing the dirt and getting air in there before you make your rows to plant. Lastly, throw a little crushed up egg shells all over your garden to feed it with calcium. This will make your fruiting plants fruit best.
Get your Pecan mulch (cheap too) for your roses and flowering bushes they will just grow and flower like you have never seen before! This is a great time of year to take advantage of the cool while you work. Then sit back, and take it all in what you have accomplished! Visit your garden daily and check your plants for any little changes, lack of water or bugs.
Do not use chemicals of any kind on your garden, there is no need. All organic or all natural pest control methods are perfect for your garden and your body! you will attract more bumble bees and frogs and friendly sorts of bugs like lady bugs with this kind of treatment.