Garden Update: Spring 2017

Herb planter with cilantro, chives, and oregano

You always hear that gardening is addictive. You start with one thing…maybe just a single container tomato plant, or a small herb planter box…and then BAM! suddenly you’re the weirdo tilling up your whole front yard.

Well, my friends…I’m like, five seconds away from becoming that crazy person. Since building our wicking raised bed garden just two years ago, I’ve expanded my garden quite a bit, despite what many might call less-than-favorable conditions: we don’t have much land to begin with (we’re on 0.15 of an acre), we have clay soils, and we have a LOT of shade. But that just goes to show that with a little effort and patience, anyone can grow their own food.

So, without further ado, here’s what’s growing!

Raised Bed Gardening in Central Texas

In our main raised bed, we’ve been enjoying strawberries for a little over a month now, and just harvested the cabbages last week (post coming soon about that!). That gave us room to put in our summer veggies. Starting with the bottom left yellow plant cage, you’ve got a serrano pepper (so that we can continue to make the serrano pepper jelly we’ve become known for), a Sunchocola Hybrid Cherry Tomato, a Napa Grape Hybrid Tomato, a Brandy Boy Hybrid Tomato, a Gladiator Roma Hybrid Tomato, and finally, in the other yellow cage, an Early Midnight Hybrid Eggplant.

The strawberries are going on their third year now, and are a mix of everbearing Ozarks from a local nursery and Sweet Charlie strawberries from a catalog. The serrano is also from a local nursery, and all the other veggies are from Burpee. It’s our first year ordering seedlings from Burpee, so we’ll see how that goes.

As per usual, I’m using stakes instead of cages for the tomatoes…given the very long growing season here, they just get too tall for even the largest cages. Later today, we’ll put up the bird netting around the entire thing as well.

raised bed berry gardening in Central Texas

In our backyard, our new raised bed berry bramble is doing well, and we even appear to have some unexpected early blueberries growing on one of the plants! Here we have Sunshine Blue blueberry, Prime Ark blackberry, Jewel blueberry, and Misty blueberry. The holes you see on the blackberry plant were due to a pretty rough storm we had a couple weekends back, but the new growth is looking much healthier. These are also from Burpee, and are specifically heat-tolerant, low-chill hour needing, self-pollinating varieties, making them (hopefully) better suited to life here in Texas.

Potato gardening in central Texas

Also new this year – potatoes! I finally convinced the hubby to take out his overgrown, much neglected cactus garden, and put some Red Luna potatoes in its place. These are just starting to come up, and it’ll be my first-ever time growing potatoes, so we’ll see how they do!

Onion Gardening in Central Texas

Onions, onions, onions. After giving up on ever growing bulb-based flowers in the beds that line my front walkway, I put in onions instead…and they’re doing great! We’ve been enjoying topping these plants for green onion for well over a month now. Around June, these will fall over and start to yellow, and that’ll be my clue that they’re ready to harvest to get the white and yellow bulbs underneath. We should yield about 60 total onions this year, and we’ll preserve them the old-fashioned way, by braiding them.

Artichoke container gardening in Central Texas

This year, in our large containers we’ve got artichokes! While I’ve only got a photo of the one, we’ve got two of these big boys. This is another first for me, so we’ll see how they do through the hot summer. We purchased these as small seedlings at a local nursery.

Container Herb Gardening in Central Texas

Also in a container, last year’s basil plant just never really died back and is still going strong. Seeing as how we’re still trying to eat our way through the massive amounts of frozen basil we harvested two years ago, this little guy should be enough to get us through another year.

Cherry tree gardening in Central Texas

Our cherry tree is leafing! Of all the things we planted last year, this was the one I was probably most worried about, and while it certainly took its time, we officially have leaves! The tree is taller than me now, about 7 feet total. But we’ve still likely got another year or two before we’ll actually start getting cherries.

Pecan gardening in central Texas

Speaking of leaves, our giant pecan tree is coming back from winter dormancy as well. Last year was quite a bumper crop for us pecan-wise, and we were able to harvest more than 20 lbs of pecans from just this single tree. Hopefully this will be another good year with plenty of spring and early summer rain.

Herb gardening in Central Texas

Finally, our herb boxes. The chives and oregano overwintered beautifully, though the thyme did not. The cilantro is a recent addition, and still looks to be suffering a bit of transplant shock. Hopefully it perks up soon!

Mint gardening in Central Texas

And, last but not least, our mint garden, aka an essential part of our bar, allowing us to make fresh mojitos and mint juleps, is going strong. We’ve got primarily sweet mint here, though we may add in some peppermint soon just to mix it up a bit.

So that’s it. 23 varieties of fruit, veggies, and herbs, all on a very small plot of land from someone who only devotes a couple hours a week to gardening. Not too shabby!

What’s growing in your garden? Tell me in the comments. 

Whitney