Austin Urban Gardens

Raised Bed Gardening and Eating Well in Austin, Texas

Preparing the Raised Bed Gardens for Fall August 8, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — austinurbangardens @ 4:35 pm
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I know that this horrible heat/drought will end someday, although we don’t know when.  Surely Fall will arrive and bring us relief, right?  This past weekend, I pulled everything up.  The watermelons were requiring too much water, and the peppers were producing tiny little peppers that were not good for much.   Nothing justified the amount of water I was dumping into the garden.  And, I was not enjoying any aspect of gardening.  However, I do hope to again as soon as there is a break in the heatwave.

I set my alarm for 5:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, with a plan to amend and turn the soil in my raised beds while it was still relatively cool.  The beds in the back had been empty for a while, and the soil had hardened and compacted worse than I’ve ever seen.  I dumped some of my own compost (it never seems ready), a couple of bags of turkey compost and a big bag of cotton burr compost on the back beds and turned the compost into the soil, loosening everything up.    It felt good to be doing something in the garden again, although the state of the soil made me sad.  Those beds are usually filled with worms, and I saw none whilst turning the soil.   I’m going to procure a huge bag of worm castings and work that in, as well as some more Hill Country Garden Soil from The Natural Gardener.  I am fortunate to have about 1/4 cubic yard on my trailer from jobs past.

Backyard beds

The three beds on the side of the house, newly empty, still need to be weeded, amended and turned.  The soil looks much better in these beds, so they will require less aggressive amendment, especially the newest one which hasn’t been home to many plants.

Side beds

The 10 tomato plants still reside in the gallon pots in the bed under my window.  My goal with these plants is to help them get really strong root systems established, so once they go into the ground, they can just take off.  They struggle in the afternoon heat, so I move them in and out of the sun, water every day, amend with worm castings, and compost tea.  I hope they reward me with some good Fall tomatoes.

Tomatoes Still in Pots

I keep feeling like I need to get some seed potatoes into the ground since it is August, but I think the soil is too hot for them to germinate, so I’m not rushing, despite the urge.  I can’t wait to get back to gardening, and the Fall is my favorite time, coolish mornings outside with my coffee, coolish evenings outside with a glass of wine.  I’m counting the days before I can be a gardener again.  There are 45 1/2 days until the first day of Fall, surely by then it will be more pleasant out.


2 Responses to “Preparing the Raised Bed Gardens for Fall”

  1. Kathryn Says:

    I went to visit the UT community gardens last week and thought of you, Carla. There are a few basil plants thriving in the heat, but not much else. Hopefully this autumn will be cooler and filled with lots of rain!

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