I have a confession to make. I am a novice vegetable gardener. I have had successful herb and flower gardens, but I have never — not once — started a vegetable garden and seen it through to harvest. (I have planted a veggie garden. I’ve even harvested a vegetable garden. But I’ve never done both in the same garden!) Somewhat frequent moves, lack of space, and being heavy with pregnancy have been my excuses over the years. What are yours?
As it stands, I’m actually going to plant a vegetable garden this year. Tomorrow, in fact. And you know what? I have no plans to move out of this home before I actually harvest my happy mini-crops. Will you join me in this adventure?
It may be Spring, but here in Texas it’s already Summer. Two days ago my house A/C unit went out. It was 93 degrees upstairs! Even with my home’s windows open and ceiling fans spinning away, I was dripping sweat and smelling quite “natural” (if you know what I mean). How on earth did my parents ever live here before the advent of air conditioning? It’s a strange, strange world.
My neighbors are already harvesting bell peppers. Green peaches are slowly growing on the local trees. It won’t be long before they ripen. Strawberries have already come and gone and blackberries are right on their heels. It’s almost ridiculous to think about planting an organic garden now, but I am. I am joining the hordes of urban homesteaders participating in this year’s Sowing Millions Project hosted by Seeds of Change. You can follow the project at Facebook and Twitter. And as your own garden begins to flourish, you can even share your favorite pictures in their virtual garden. But first, we need to weed our beds.
In February, we harvested some surreal carrots from the garden. They’d been planted by our home’s prior occupant. (We just moved here in January.) Whoever dug the garden last year apparently didn’t dig very deeply, so the carrots grew in twists and turns through clumpy, rocky soil. Check these babies out!
After that, we ignored the vegetable bed out back in favor of planting flowers and herbs out front. We planted basil, dill, cilantro, mint, and rosemary for our herbs, along with jasmine, bluebonnets, petunias, salvia, and purple shamrock (which has totally taken off!). A few fresh green ivies, corn plants, and aloes inside the patio make for a welcoming front yard and porch.
But of course, all that front yard attention means we’ve ignored our back and side yards completely. So, that garden’s now a mess of grass and weeds. Tomorrow, the boys and I are going to go out there with our shovels and do John Jeavons proud.
We’ll also start sowing some seeds. Since our growing season is pretty much year round here, many things that people in other parts of the country might start with in the Spring are actually things we won’t sow until the late Summer or early Fall for a Fall/Winter harvest.
If you want to start a garden, but aren’t sure what to plant or when, try contacting a local natural garden center or store. For where I live in the Austin area and Texas Hill Country region, the go-to source for reliable information is The Natural Gardener.
So taking my cues from them, I’ll begin by planting Pronto Beet, Imperial Black Beauty Eggplant, Bennings Green Tint Squash, Garden Chives, Rhubarb Chard, Kentucky Wonder Pole Beans, and Tendergreen Bush Bean. All of these are certified organic seeds, courtesy of Seeds of Change. A couple of these varieties are even heirloom.
It’s Not Too Late
Listen, if I can plant a garden in the heat of a Texas “Spring,” then surely it’s not too late for you! Why not join me and the thousands of others trying their hand at organic gardening this year?
Check out the listings on my Resources page for gardening supplies, seeds, and more!
And in the spirit of full disclosure, I want to let you know that I wrote this post while participating in the Sowing Millions Project by Real Food Media on behalf of Seeds of Change. As per my standard disclosures, you can bet that I received product and other goodies to facilitate this post (read: FREE SEEDS!). My thoughts and opinions are my own and not of those of Real Food Media or Seeds of Change.
(herb garden photo by kate monkey; purple shamrock photo by catface3)