Growing up my family always had a vegetable garden in the back yard. My dad could’ve grown a car by planting a spark plug, I swear. I grew up in the 1960s-1970s and my parents were very in to organic gardening before it was even the cool thing to do. It was my job to pick the fat, squishy tomato hornworms off the tomatoes and make sure that they did not live to eat another plant. It wasn’t much of a problem, I liked to fish and the fish like hornworms. Mornings were spent collecting bait and afternoons were spent “drowning worms” as my dad liked to call it.
The reward came in the evening when fresh tomatoes still warm from the sun were sliced on my plate or crisp leaf lettuce with sugar and vinegar was waiting on my plate. I learned to love vegetables as long as they were fresh and flavorful.
One of the very best ways to eat seasonally, locally, and the freshest is to plant your own garden. It really isn’t as much work as you may think and even if you live in apartment you can plant salad greens, spinach, etc. in pots.
Texas is blessed to have three distinct growing seasons that allow us to grow almost anything. Sure, you have to care for it a bit more in August, and combat the harsh temperatures with shade and water but all in all you can grow about anything here. As a general rule of thumb late February is a good time to start your garden. You can expect another freeze or two before the weather decides to warm up for good but those usually aren’t extensive and most cool weather plants will get through it just fine.
Here are the seeds you can be planting right now:
- Seed potatoes
Snow peas and snap peas can be planted now if it seems as if the cold weather is over. You might need to cover the rows if the seedlings have emerged and snow or a hard freeze is predicted.
You should also be just about ready to start your warm weather seedlings inside for transplant in about six weeks. These include peppers, eggplant, and tomatoes.
Talk to you county extension agent or local garden center for advice on the exact varieties and planting times in your particular region.
The amount of money you can save by having a garden coupled with the incredible just picked nutrition and flavor you are going to experience make a few hours a week a good investment of your time. Make it a family project!
image: marye audet