Austin Urban Gardens

Raised Bed Gardening and Eating Well in Austin, Texas

Not Quite Winter in an Austin Urban Garden December 19, 2013

It is so interesting looking back at where my gardens were this time in previous years.  Our weather is so variable from year to year, the garden is rarely the same at the same time in a given year.  By early Winter last year, much of my Winter crops had bolted because of the unusually warm weather.  This season, as we are 3 days from the 1st day of Winter, we’ve already had more Winter than we have in year’s past, or at least it seems so.

The carrots I planted a couple months ago never made, as the soil was too warm.  The radishes I planted at the same time did pretty well, but I was lazy and didn’t thin them, or they would have done better.  The sugar snap peas also failed in the warm Fall temps.

I had a decent potato harvest a couple weeks ago.  Nothing crazy, but certainly satisfying.   Potatoes can be planted again in February.

Red LaSoda Potatoes

Red LaSoda Potatoes

As of today, I have lots of broccoli that is nearly ready for harvest.  In spite of my best efforts to stagger planting, they all seem to mature around the same time.

Broccoli is Ready

Broccoli is Ready

I planted a few Graffiti Cauliflower plants, and these are coming along nicely as well.  And gorgeous, too.

Graffiti Cauliflower

Graffiti Cauliflower

I have several purple cabbages coming along too.  The heads are still small, but they’ll keep growing.  Cabbage always seems to take forever.



I got my onions in early, then immediately had to cover them because of that recent 9 day cold snap.  Onions are supposed to be fairly cold tolerant, but I had just gotten them in the ground when the temperatures plummeted, so I covered them just in case.  They are looking good now.  There is still plenty of time to plant onions if you haven’t yet.  I am still eating those onions I have stored from this Spring’s harvest.

Onion garden

Onion garden

So, while there is plenty of time to grow more Winter vegetables, (you can still seed for greens, lettuce, spinach, and plant broccoli, cauliflower, kale, radishes, Brussels Sprouts) it is also time to start thinking about planting your seedlings indoors for Spring.  I ordered my tomato seeds this week – some of my favorites and some new ones too.  I ordered from Seed Saver’s Exchange and Tomato Fest this time around.  I will start them indoors in early January, and hope they will be hearty and sturdy enough to transplant into 4 inch pots by late January, then into the ground, depending on the weather by the end of February.  I’ll still be a sucker for transplants when they start arriving at the nurseries and plant shows in early March, too.

If you’d like to learn more about planting and caring for seedlings, Green Corn Project will have two Seeds to Starts Workshops, the first on January 4, 2014 from 9:00-11:00, and the second on January 25, from 9:00 – 11:00 as well, at Soma Vida.  Participants will help us plant the seedlings that will grow into transplants we’ll plant for our garden recipients this Spring.  Participants will also be able to take home seedlings for their own gardens as well.  You can register for Seeds to Starts here.

January is also the time to plant bare root fruit plants like blackberries.  They aren’t much to look at, but the will leaf out nicely by Spring.  The Natural Gardener is a good source for those as well.

Here is a handy guide that is helpful in planning for the next few months.  If you are going to plant anything now, you should think about how long that crop will need to be in the ground, and if you will still have space for the early Spring plantings.  Planning Guide

Happy gardening!


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