Austin Urban Gardens

Raised Bed Gardening and Eating Well in Austin, Texas

Mid-Spring in an Austin Urban Garden May 10, 2011

I know, it feels like mid-summer.   Some aspects of my food gardens are reacting as if it is summer – the peppers are coming on early and strong and are fairly hot.  The tomatoes are well advanced, since I planted early.  I’ve been harvesting several tomatoes a day for the last week, although some have been the cherry varieties.

Won't be long!

More tomatoes

Another Tomato Turning

Another Ripening

All of these tomatoes are from the 24 foot raised garden in the backyard.  The strawberries have slowed to a near stop in production, and although the plants look healthy, I think it is not cost effective to continue watering them until next season.   I will probably pull them up this weekend.

I have been harvesting potatoes for several weeks, and there are still plants in the ground that can be harvested at any time.

Harvested potatoes

The corn in the back bed, has corn sprouted!  I don’t know why I get so excited about corn – it just makes me feel like a proper farmer.

My little cornfield

I love the purple cornsilks

Moving to the8 foot bed under my bedroom window, there are lots more tomatoes.  It is from these plants that I’ve already harvested.

Large Red Cherry

More Stupices


Several new tactics I employed this Spring seem to be paying off.  1) I planted more tried and true Hybrids, Large Red Cherry, Celebrity, Early Girl – rather than filling my garden with exotic Heirlooms.  2) Utilizing the Texas Pot Method of burying gallon pots in the beds around the tomatoes to water close to the roots.  I’m fertilizing through these pots too, which gets the food right down to the roots as well.  3) Planting early.  I think the hard freezes have helped with the stink bugs I had last year – I haven’t seen one.  I have only lost one tomato to blossom end rot, thus far and none to squirrels or mockingbirds.   I feel very lucky for this crop!

Moving to the side yard, you can see peppers galore.

Ancho Chile

Shishito Peppers

Shishito Peppers are so easy!  They are heavy producers too.

Serrano Peppers

Jalapeno Peppers Galore

The cucumber plants just took off last week and went crazy.  I’m a bit behind on the cucumbers, but they should catch up soon.

Baby cucumbers

Yesterday I was poking around under the leaves and found this!

Hello Melon!

It was covered by the tangle of Israeli Melon and Watermelon plants.  I’m fairly sure it is an Israeli Melon from the seedling exchange, potluck, birthday party.

The newest temporary wood bed, holds more peppers and a second planting of corn.  The corn in this bed has been looking pale, so I’m correcting for nitrogen deficiency, and have top dressed with bat guano.

Peppers and corn

At this point, with so much fruit set, I top dressed everything with some bat guano and watered it in well.   Bat guano is best applied when there is no wind.  Lesson learned.

The fruit trees in pots are well on their way as well.  I think I might even get to harvest peaches this year!


Historically, some hungry creature harvests them for me.  Fingers crossed.

Satsuma Oranges

I’m excited to have Satsuma Oranges this season.  I’ve never even eaten a Satsuma Orange, so I’m really looking forward to trying them.  They are supposed to me the most cold hardy of the citrus trees.

Happy Gardening!


6 Responses to “Mid-Spring in an Austin Urban Garden”

  1. Nice job with your back yard gardening. It looks like everything is going very well for you. I am just getting into organic gardening this year and am keen to do things right the first time.

    I noticed you planted both tomatoes and potatoes in the same yard. I have been doing a lot of research into companion planting and so have been warned to either do one or the other or plant them as far away as possible.

    How far away have you planted the potatoes from the potatoes? Is there a minimum “safe” distance?

    • Hi Richard,
      Thanks for commenting. All of my plantings are in raised beds. The tomatoes and potatoes are not in the same raised bed and are approximately 10 feet apart, so they don’t share soil or touch. I’ve never had problems growing both. For the last two years, I have planted marigolds with the tomatoes, because pests that attack tomatoes are also attracted to marigolds. I have had no pest problems with either the tomatoes or potatoes. Good luck!

  2. Matt Says:

    Where did you get your shishito pepers from? Seeds, plants? I’m in San Antonio and want to grow some this year. Thanks!

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