Austin Urban Gardens

Raised Bed Gardening and Eating Well in Austin, Texas

Mid-February in an Austin Urban Garden February 19, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — austinurbangardens @ 9:34 am

So much to do this time of year!  A few weeks ago I started a lot of seeds, mostly tomatoes, some peppers and watermelon.  The watermelon never came up, and the peppers just have.  The tomatoes sprouted pretty well and most had put on their second set of leaves this week, indicating time to transplant into bigger pots.  Here is a picture of the seedlings about ten days after planting indoors.


So, Sunday, I got all of the seedlings transplanted into bigger pots.  The planting isn’t as time consuming as is the labeling of each plant, but I’m swapping with some other gardeners soon, so labeling is essential. (and only fair)  I will likely lose track of which tomatoes I have planted at some point during the growing season.  I always seem to.  The only varietals I might not recognize by sight are Stupice and Paul Robeson tomatoes.


On to the gardens.  The big bed in the backyard was a mess of weeds, bolting broccoli, lettuces and hostas, climbing over from the other side of the fence.  I left an 8 foot section of lettuces and a single cabbage alone, and focused on the middle 8 foot section, cleaning it out, and amending it.  The soil felt loose and well aerated, which made me happy, so after letting it rest for a day, I planted a few tomato transplants I bought a couple of weeks ago.


The strawberries are still chilling in their two 4×4 beds.  They really leafed out after the last “rain”, if that’s what we are calling it.  I had a bag of mulch laying around the yard, so I applied another thick layer of mulch around the strawberries, mostly to keep moisture in and weeds down.


There are 3 beds on the side of the house, the newer ones I had put in late last year, that contain onions.  Two of the onion beds look absolutely perfect for this time of year.  The third, looks pretty sad, as if the onions just never took off.  I’m not sure what to do about those onions, I may pull them up and plant something else there.  Here are the happy onion beds.


You can see one empty bed at the far end of the above picture.   That bed lies beneath my pecan tree, and I won’t know how much sun that bed will get, until the tree grows its leaves.

The two beds in full sun, now contain edible Johnny Jump-Up flowers, cabbage that likely will never make, because of our odd weather, leeks and spinach.



I will harvest the spinach this week to make room for Spring plants.  It is not happy in the warm weather.  The cabbages will come out too, as will the Johnny Jump-ups.  Those two beds will house more tomatoes, tomatillos, all kinds of peppers, and cucumbers.

I also pruned the citrus trees, which was a bit scary, because they think it is Spring and are flowering, so I wasn’t sure if pruning now was OK.  I watched lots of Youtube videos and determined it would be better for the trees in the long run, if I did.  I also repotted the newest of these.  If you see me out somewhere trying to purchase more citrus trees, please do whatever it takes to prevent me from doing so.  I’m all good now, having added another Naval Orange and a Tangerine tree to my arsenal this past weekend.


The Dwarf Peach is blossoming as well.


I went seed shopping at Shoal Creek Nursery  yesterday, and got some seeds I’m very excited about!


Moon and Stars (Cherokee) Watermelon seeds, from Seed Savers Exchange.  The melons look like they have a moon and stars on them!!!  This excites me more than it should.  Most folks would be more concerned with heat and drought tolerance, days to harvest – the normal stuff.  But if I can grow a giant fruit with a moon and the Big Dipper on it, I’m in heaven!  My love of tasty garden foods combined with my obsession with astronomy.  Too much fun.

I also got some herbs seeds I’ve never seen available before, Cumin and Chervil.  Now that I have some more room, I can experiment a little.  Looking forward to both.


Shoal Creek Nursery has a great variety of vegetable, herb and flower seeds – more than I remember ever seeing before.  If you are going to start garden plants by seed, please use a reputable nursery, rather that a big box store.  The seeds available will be appropriate for the growing season in the nursery, while the big box stores leave all of there seeds out for sale year round.

Happy Gardening!


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

  1. Optimista Says:

    Has your dwarf peach ever produced fruit before? That is so exciting! One of my life dreams is to have a producing fruit tree in our yard.

    • Michelle, that was my first fruit tree, and it produced 3 peaches the first year I had it. The second year, the peaches didn’t mature, the third year I had 2 and none last year. It has multiple blooms now, and I’ve been taking care of if it better, so fingers crossed. The citrus do much better. The recently added Navel Orange and Tangerine were from a flea market on Montopolis. $25 each for well established trees. Best price I’ve ever seen, just this past weekend.

  2. lazysmurf Says:

    I have seen that moon and stars watermelon before too and wanted to grow it so bad. I think watermelon is still too advanced for me! I hope your work out well so I can see the pictures!

  3. No, not too advanced! Start with the Sugar Baby watermelon or Renee’s Garden Seeds Rainbow pack. Both have done really well for me and they are easy.

  4. david Lay Says:

    Just searching urban gardens and found your post. Wisconsin cheese heads are envious of gardening so early. We have to clear away the snow yet. I too have a problem planting many fruit trees. They offer such a beautiful touch to the landscape in the Spring. Can’t have too many! Instead I have gone to more permanent lawn decorations.

    • Thanks for the comment! You are getting tons of snow, from what I see on the news. We had a mild winter again, which is sad for we gardeners, because the bugs will be bad in the Spring. I love the scent of the fruit tree flowers and can’t get enough of them!

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