I spent this past weekend prepping the vegetable garden beds and planting potatoes, onions and garlic. It seems early, especially when the temperatures are still dropping below freezing at night, but here in north Texas, this is the best time to plant the plants that don’t do well in the hot days that will be here before we know it. We typically see our last freeze late in February, which is about the time the plants will start sprouting from the ground. Planting now gives the root system a head start and allows the new sprouts to take full advantage of the warming spring days. Next weekend I’ll plant radishes, carrots, beets, lettuce and cabbage.
If you are interested in starting a vegetable garden, follow these three easy steps:
- Find a sunny spot in your yard where you can build up a bed a few inches above ground level. Use rocks or boards to contain the raised bed. Raising the bed ensures the water drains when it is watered. If you use boards, don’t use treated ones. Those nasty chemicals can be absorbed by the veggies.
2. Till the ground up with a hoe, tiller, or shovel and mix the tilled dirt with compost. The deeper you till the better, but 8” depth is enough. If your bed is small, you can obtain bags of compost from your local hardware or landscaping store. If you have a large garden like mine, you can buy compost in bulk from my friends at Whiz Q Stone. A trip to Whiz Q Stone is always fun; they have great displays of stone, koi and other landscape design items.
3. Pick up onions and garlic starts and seed potatoes from a local nursery. My favorite nursery is Marshall Grain. They always have the right products at the right time of year. Going there is another fun field trip. They have a great greenhouse, baby chickens and all types of garden and pet products. Marshall Grain also provides wonderful educational material and how-to classes. One of the best things they publish is this planting guide so you know when and how to plant the various vegetables you can grow in your garden.
An early season vegetable garden is a great way to get you to get out and enjoy the great winter and spring weather we enjoy in north Texas.