Sunday, January 30, 2011

A winter vegetable garden


We Central Texas gardeners have very little room to complain about our winters. While much of the East Coast and Midwest has been blanketed in snow, suffering through frigid temperatures for weeks on end, we're planting a winter vegetable garden on a sunny, 79°F degree day. (Yes, we'll have several days of hard nighttime freezes next week, but it won't last long, and we won't have blankets of snow to deal with.)

According to the Travis County Vegetable Garden Planting Guide, it's the perfect time to plant a second crop of cool-weather veggies and herbs. Planting now gives the crops time to mature to harvest before the heat starts to hit in late spring. And when a hard freeze hits, cold-hardy vegetables remain safe under hoop houses covered with floating row cover.

With this in mind, here's what I planted today:
*Detroit Dark Red beets
*Danvers 126 carrot seeds
*Green Magic broccoli transplants from It's About Thyme
*Oregon Sugar Pod II snow pea seeds
*Sugar Snap Peas seeds
*Bloomsfield spinach seeds
*Palla Rossa Ashalim radicchio seeds
*Valentine' mesclun seeds: a mix of red lettuces including Ruben's Red, Rouge d'Hiver, Redina, Red Oakleaf, Lollo Rossa, Merveilles des Quatre Saisons and Red Salad Bowl lettuces

I also side-dressed the crops I planted in fall with Ladybug All American Turkey Compost. As I worked, I noticed the Packman broccoli planted in the fall is ready to harvest. It's so good, so sweet...I can't wait!
Packman broccoli

I was pleased to see the Spanish bluebells and 'giant summer' snowflakes poking through the soil.
Spanish bluebell

Spring's not far off!
Summer snowflakes

It's also about time to plant potatoes. I purchased Red Lasoda and White Kennebec seed potatoes from Buck Moore Feed & Supply this weekend.
Seed potatoes
Now I need to cut them into pieces, dust them with sulfur and let the cuts cure before planting. I had good luck in potato planting bags last year, but I bought too many this year for my one bag. I may try planting some directly in a bag of compost, or a burlap bag, as pictured on this website.

Next week: filling in two new garden beds with compost, so they can sit a spell before spring planting time. What are your garden plans?

Words and photos © 2009-2011 Caroline Homer for "The Shovel-Ready Garden". Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.


  1. If this big freeze don't kill them I should be getting some cauliflower and broccoli soon. The cabbage doesn't seem to be growing too fast though and the fall carrot planting seems slow to me as well.

    Can't wait for potato planting time though. It's the signal for me that it's finally planting season.

  2. Bob, I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one with slow cabbage and carrots. Not sure if it's the lack of rain or some sort of soil fertility issue. I harvested a bunch of broccoli last night, to be on the safe side.