Austin Urban Gardens

Raised Bed Gardening and Eating Well in Austin, Texas

Labor Day in an Austin Urban Garden – Bittersweet September 5, 2011

Finally, the weather has returned to normal, and it is feeling downright Fall-like this morning.  I have no idea if it will last.  While I was anxious to get outside with my coffee, seeds and shovel, I was glued to the television news, with images of the Steiner Ranch fire, the Bastrop fire, the Pflugerville fire.  Having gotten the updated information, I headed outside with my coffee and commenced planting.  First, I planted the seed potatoes I got from Boggy Creek Farm yesterday.  They were well endowed with roots already, and acclimated to our area and certainly organic, having come from a local farm.

Seed Potatoes and coffee

Carol Ann advised, “no additional nitrogen or they’ll burn up.”  Check that, no nitrogen until they come up and get established, then I”ll side dress with a little compost or 8-2-4.

As enjoyable as the morning was, with the cooler temperatures, every gust of wind reminded me of my friends, either evacuated from their homes, or glued to the television for news of where the fires would turn next.

I planted the potatoes in a 4×4 foot space, as always, then in the next two feet, I planted carrots, and the next two feet, I planted green beans.   This particular 4×8′ bed gets some dappled shade in the heat of the afternoon.  I planted everything fairly deep, to give the seeds a bit of additional time to sprout, in case the heat returns.


In a 4×4 section of the big bed, I planted broccoli seeds, in the space next to where strawberries will go in December.  As much as I was enjoying digging in the dirt again, I decided to wait to plant the sugar snap peas.  I think I might plant some lettuce in a big pot on the patio and see what the weather does before seeding a big space in the raised bed.

It was a pleasant morning in the garden, but this will be memorable Labor Day, as drought threatens our landscape, and wildfires rage out of control all around.   People are losing homes.   I fear that folks don’t realize how many trees we will lose – there are already dying trees all over the city.  It is a scary time and we really need rain badly.


Mid-Winter in an Austin Urban Garden January 16, 2011

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It is the middle of winter, or not even, and there is lots of winter left.  I’m missing the sunshine the last few days, but am always glad for the rain.  After being neglected the almost 2 weeks my dad was in the hospital, then being covered for 3 days of freeze, I’m surprised the garden has as much to offer as it does right now.

There is lots of lettuce, several varieties and they are ready to be eaten.

Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce

Mesclun Mix

Patience finally paid off and 1 cabbage head started to emerge.


The strawberries are chilling out, establishing their hearty root systems, and coasting until Spring.

Strawberry Patch with some lettuce volunteers

The slower varieties of broccoli are just starting to show their crowns.

Broccoli Crown emerging

The onions and garlic are still chugging right along.

Garlic and Onions

The wider leaved garlic, a gift from Skip at Green Gate Farms,  was planted several weeks before the onions.

Lots of onions

Both side beds are dedicated to garlic and onions. If all goes well, this will provide enough onions to get me through three quarters of a year.  They last a long time, if stored properly.

There is one remaining bok choi.  I’ve been sharing these with friends and neighbors.

Bok Choi

It really isn’t any fun gardening in the rainy cold, although I did manage to spread some lettuce seeds between showers.  As soon as we get a break from the rain, and perhaps some sun, I’ll be anxious to get the leeks in the ground.

Lancelot Leeks

I intend to plant the potatoes next weekend.  Most of the nurseries will have seed potatoes now or in the next couple of weeks.

Happy gardening!


Garden Update, Mid July July 16, 2010

It’s hot, and most of the gardens space is in rest mode.  I’m not going to plant anything else for at least a couple of weeks.  The Three Sisters Garden is doing well, I think.  The corn looks perfect, but the second set of sisters beans, and pumpkins are not quite all up.  Something has sprung up, but I haven’t looked close enough to see if its the pumpkin or beans.

Three Sisters Garden

The purple hull peas in the former landscape Nadina bed are looking gorgeous.

Purple Hull Peas

An unexpected surprise from the Watermelon I planted way too late.


I’m still picking Chocolate Cherry Tomatoes from one plant, and Lemon Cucumbers are coming on strong.  Peppers are still producing as well.

The Limes are almost ready to be picked and the Meyer Lemon needs some more time.


Meyer Lemons

And, once again, its time to make pesto.

Basil and Thyme

The lettuce is coming up in pots and needs to be thinned, which I’m horrible at.

Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce

I’m on the hunt for seed potatoes to plant the first of August.  If you see any out there, let me know since I can’t go to the grocery store to use those.  I can probably order some online.


Potato Planting Day, Austin February 14, 2010

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Since it is my working goal to make my garden as productive as possible, for as much of the year as possible, I decided to plant potatoes this year in potato planting bags, to give myself the 4′ x 6′ raised garden space the potatoes took up last year, for something else.  I’ve never used growing bags before, nor have I used the “hilling” method.  I normally just stick them in the ground and let them grow.

So, first I stopped off at one of my favorite stores in Austin, for seed potatoes.  Buck Moore Feed and Supply.  I love this store, it reminds me of the feed and tack store I loved growing up, with the smell of hay and sweet feed always in the air.  (Sledd Nursery on West Lynn also had seed potatoes last week when I was there. )  Buck Moore already has some tomato transplants out front too, but I’m going to wait another few weeks for tomatoes.  They sell Ladybug brand products as well.

Buck Moore Feed & Supply

Then I broke out the bags and filled them without about 6 inches of organic soil (Hill Country Blend).

Potato Planting Bags

Next I watered the soil and let it drain for a while, so as not to plant the potatoes in mud.  I picked the seed potatoes with the most eyes, and those showing signs of roots already, and laid them on the top of the moist soil.

Taters in bags

Next, I simply covered the spuds with about 4 inches of the Hill Country Soil, which I didn’t water because too much wetness will make them rot.

I intend to use the hilling method in these bags, so once the potato [;amts jave reacjed 8 inches in height, I’ll add another 4 inches of soil, and continue until the bag is full.  We’ll see how it goes!