Sunday, May 22, 2016

A bloom-filled and productive spring

Months of moderate temperatures and El Niño's rains have brought forth an explosion of spring color in the garden. Bulbs, reseeding annuals and perennials burst into bloom in late February and early March, several weeks ahead of schedule.
front garden

daisies, poppies and lantana


broccoli and Texas mountain laurel

A Yellow Rose in Texas - 'Julia Child'

'Buff Beauty' rose

blue-eyed grass

Despite all the rain, we got a couple of long-needed projects finished. We installed a 550-gallon rainwater harvesting tank ourselves, and received a $225 rebate from the city (50 cents per gallon capacity). I plan to paint the PVC pipe green.
550 gallon rainwater harvesting tank

We alao hired a company to install a cedar fence along one side of our property. Here’s the before:
before the fence went up

And here’s the after. A little less morning sun, but lots more privacy, which was greatly needed on both sides of the fence.
after the fence

I had to break down all the garden beds along the property line, so garden space for the second round of cool-weather veggies I planted in January was very limited.
cedar fence

I only planted our favorites: snap peas, garlic, broccoli, spinach and strawberries in the remaining raised beds, and lettuce and carrots in containers. These veggies all do fine in our warm Central Texas winters without pampering. I got the potatoes planted on President's Day weekend, after the fence was installed. And once the fall-planted broccoli went to seed in March, I pulled it up and planted tomatoes.
veggie garden

It was a great year for broccoli! With all the rain, I hardly had to irrigate at all.
fresh broccoli from the garden

We enjoyed broccoli at least once a week for over four months -
Asian-inspired beef stir fry with garden broccoli

- until the snails moved in and wiped out the last few heads, boo.
snail eating broccoli

Snap peas did great too - enough to give away - and the snails don’t care for those.
bags o peas

Greens went gangbusters and we got a few asparagus spears, too.
spring veggies

Plenty of good eating around here - fresh garden produce never gets old.
homegrown strawberries

steamed veggie medley

And we've already picked our first limes from the lime tree, thanks to the DIY greenhouse and a warm winter.
Margaritas with homegrown limes

All in all, it's been a productive spring, but summer will be here soon enough. The forecasters say El Niño is coming to an end and La Niña will bring above-average temperatures to most of the US - except for Central Texas, South Texas and the Gulf Coast. What do y'all think about that forecast? I'm thinking I better pack my skimpiest summer wear for the Garden Bloggers Fling in Minnesota!
Words and photos © 2009-2016 Caroline Homer for "The Shovel-Ready Garden". Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.


  1. You do have quite a bounty.
    Love your new fence. I miss having a backdrop for garden beds. We have a wire fence, and it doesn't do the job of stopping the eye.

    1. I do miss the early morning sun, but I don't miss the view of my neighbor's back yard!

  2. What beauty and what production. I went out and pulled a handful of peas today. I'll swear I was going to pull them out a week ago and then I saw more flowers. An overabundance of everything, including rain.

    1. I'd rather have too much than not enough! The drought was scary.

  3. So glad I found your blog just now! I love your style. I'm in DFW and follow the Digging and Plano Prairie Garden blogs, and KLRU's. I can plant most of the same things here as you guys in Austin. That's awesome that you grow a lot of food.. I'm working up to that, I mostly have fruit trees and vines. Trying a third time with blueberries, ugh. We have chain link fences here and I'd so love a privacy fence. So would our friends next door, but there's a terrible gigantic trumpet vine all over the chain link and our houses that needs to be killed first, if that's even possible. I don't like chemicals. I'm currently trying slitting the tips of the vines and soaking them in containers of vinegar... Maybe it'll drink it and die? Ugh. Longest comment ever, sorry. Lol