It's been a pretty mild winter around here and the sunshine and warm temps we've had the past couple weeks got me itching to get my garden going. That and the fact this baby is due in 6 weeks!!
We live in Texas, Zone 8 where it is usually safe to begin planting many seeds and plants anywhere from Feb or March through April. The summers get so hot that many things just stop producing or die altogether. I decided to start with a few of the cooler weather plants first and then will add more in a few weeks.
Last week I planted Potatoes, Onions, Arugula, Organic Cabbage (from seeds)and Broccoli. All of these were new to me except for the Onions. Last yr I got started just a little too late to plant all of these so I'm excited to see how they turn out.
I use a raised bed for my garden since our soil here is pretty hard and clay like that it is difficult for many things to grow. I did some research and this seemed like the best option for us. Next week I will show you how we started our garden in our back yard using a raised bed.
For now, since our bed was in place from last year, in only took less than an hour to plant all of these vegetables.
I started with the potatoes and having never planted them I had to look online to see what depth they needed etc. A friend of mine gave me her leftover seed potatoes for planting so they were free!!
First I dug an 8 inch deep trench across the length of my bed. Then I placed a seed potato every foot so there were a total of 4, 2 red potatoes and 2 white.
Then they are to be covered in several inches of soil, but still maintaining somewhat of a trench. Once a sprout emerges, then you can add an inch or two of soil each week as the plants grow, until the dirt forms like a mound around the base of the plants.
Also you don't want to start with really wet soil or else it will cause the potatoes to just rot. My soil was pretty dry. For my other plants I did wet the soil a little to make it easier for the new plants to stay in place.
In my other bed I planted several rows of onions. Since they do not require much spacing between each plant, you can have a large amount of onion plants in a pretty small space. In the background you can see a few onions I have leftover from the Fall. I use the green onion tops for cooking or salads. I thought they all had died but once we had a few days of warm weather they started sprouting again!
On the other side of the onions I planted my broccoli. I had 4 small plants and they are to be spaced around 12-18 inches apart. My girls love broccoli so I'm really hoping these plants do well.
Next to the broccoli I planted a half a row of cabbage seeds according to the package directions. They only need to be planted at a depth of 1/4 inch which is basically nothing! I sprinkled them across the dirt and covered them lightly & then watered. The seeds are so small, not much bigger than the period at the end of this sentence. Amazing how it can grow into a large plant!
Last I planted my 4 small Arugula plants in the first bed beside my swiss chard that has been growing ALL year!
Here they are next to each other.
I planted this swiss chard last yr in April and it is such a hearty, easy plant, it survived our 100+ weather and then continued to grow through the Fall, surviving freezing temperatures and now it is thriving! The swiss chard started out as 2 small plants, about the size of these arugula plants. It didn't take long for them to start growing like crazy. Now they are taking up so much space I need to cut them back!! Also I'm on the hunt for a few recipes to use up this swiss chard. When the leaves are small I just use them like you would spinach in a salad. The large leaves taste more bitter though and are best cooked (so I've read).
Well that is the start of our little home garden :) I will post pictures of the progress in a few days. I'm already getting a few sprouts!! YAY! By the end of the month I hope to plant tomatoes, peppers, zuchinni, squash and then later okra and eggplant. These last 2 love Texas summer heat!!
If you have a garden, what are you planting this year? I'd love to hear about it!