Austin Urban Gardens

Raised Bed Gardening and Eating Well in Austin, Texas

Mid-Winter in an Austin Urban Garden February 5, 2014

There are still 42 days until Spring and I’m already getting antsy about planting my Spring garden.  I’ve been somewhat lazy this Winter, and did not plant many late Winter crops.  I had an amazing harvest  of broccoli and cauliflower in January and am still eating broccoli.   But I did not plant more when I could have.  Much of my gardening activity has been covering and uncovering existing plants, to protect from the brutal freezes we’ve been experiencing.

Herb Bed prepped for freeze

Herb Bed prepped for freeze

I have some lettuce that isn’t doing much.

Lettuce

Lettuce

The two big onion beds are looking great.  I’ve been worried about the onions bolting, (going to seed)  with our erratic weather and the really  warm days that have come between freezes.  That wouldn’t be a disaster, because I would harvest them as green onions and eat them anyway, but I’m holding out for the big storing onions.

Onion beds

Onion beds

There is more going on inside the house than outside.  I picked up some seed potatoes from The Natural Gardener a couple weeks ago, and they have been sprouting roots in brown paper bags, while I wait for planting day, which typically is around February 15th.  I may go ahead and get them in the ground this weekend.

Seed potatoes

Seed potatoes

Every year I try to grow something new, and this year it is going to be peanuts.  I planted these inside a couple weeks ago, and they sprouted quickly.  I have them under a kitchen cabinet light at the moment.  Apparently they like heat and sandy soil, so my efforts may prove to be too early.  I need to add some sandy soil to one of my raised beds for them.  A crop of peanuts would be fun.

IMG_2122

I planted a bunch of tomato seeds at the same time I planted the peanuts.  They started putting on their true leaves last weekend, so I transplanted the healthiest of them to 4 inch pots.  They are still on their heating mat under the light, and I’m spritzing them daily with a dilution of John’s Recipe, from The Natural Gardener.  Once they get a bit bigger, I’ll start letting them spend warm sunny days outside ( if we have more of those.)

Tomato seedlings

Tomato seedlings

I’ve ordered lots of seeds from Seed Saver’s Exchange – several varieties of peppers, watermelon, tomatillos and cucumbers.  Those should come today or tomorrow, and I’ll start those inside as well.    If we are to believe the famous groundhog, we still have lots of Winter left before we can get these plants in the ground.  I plan to be ready.

If you aren’t into turning your living space into a greenhouse, there are some really amazing plant sales you can get your Spring transplants from.  My favorite is the Sunshine Community Garden plant sale, which will be on March 1st this year.  According to their website, they will have over 70 varieties of peppers and over 130 varieties of tomatoes this year.  There is a list of the varieties on their site as well.   I can’t wait!

Grow some food, ya’ll!

 

Two Big Austin Vegetable Transplant Sales in Early March February 24, 2011

It is still Winter, even though it has felt like Spring for the last couple of weeks.  Early March is the perfect time to get your Spring vegetables and herbs in the ground, and there are two big sales coming up.  My favorite, The Sunshine Community Garden Spring Plant Sale is a big one.  Always the first Saturday in March, so this year it will be on March 5, 2011, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  This is more than a sale, it is a Festival with lots of vendors and things for the kiddos.  This sale has more heirloom varieties of tomatoes and peppers, than you will find at area nurseries.  Get there early, there will be folks lining up before 8:00 to get first dibs on the plants, and they usually sell out.

http://www.sunshinecommunitygardens.org/index.php?p=plantsale

Another great place to buy your Spring transplants is Johnson’s Backyard Garden.  Also on March 5, 2011 from 10:00 to 1:00 at the farm.  You can also order online for pick up at the farm.  Johnson’s has a wide variety of heirloom tomatoes and peppers as well. 

http://www.jbgorganic.com/blog/

Time to get growing!

 

Fun Food and Garden Events this Spring February 15, 2011

Once the lovely Spring weather returns, fun events start piling up, so I’m trying to get a handle on the things I’ll be attending.  All of these events are open to the public.  Here are some of my favorite events:

February 17, 2011 – Slow Food Austin Happy Hour at Malverde at La Condesa.  Come see what Slow Food is all about! www.slowfoodaustin.org

February 23, 2011 – 5:00 – 7:00 – Happy Hour at Rain Lily Farm, with live music and Bola Pizza.  http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/event.php?eid=193034137391580

March 5, 2011 – Sunshine Community Gardens Spring Plant Sale – This is the biggest fundraiser for the Sunshine Community Gardens, and is perfectly timed for Spring gardeners to get all the transplants they need to get their gardens started.  This sale hosts a huge variety of heirlooom tomatoes, heirloom peppers, herbs and everything else.  And it’s fun.  But, get there early, there will be a line and it gets a little frenzied.

http://www.sunshinecommunitygardens.org/plantsale.html

March 13, 2011 – Brooklyn Brewery is bringing the Food Experiments, a series of amateur cook-offs launched in Brooklyn, on a multi-city tour that starts in Austin “The Pork Experiment.” Over twenty home chefs will create delectable pork dishes for the chance to win cash, prizes and a round-trip ticket to New York City to compete in the Food Experiments All Stars Competition. The Pork Experiment will take place on March 13, 2011 at Club Deville 900 Red River Street from 12:00 – 4:30 pm. (from their press release) www.foodexperiments.com

Texas Hill Country Wine and Food Festival – Ongoing Events

http://texaswineandfood.org/schedule-events/

April 17, 2011

2nd Annual East Austin Urban Farm Tour – a self guided tour of 4 urban farms located just off of Springdale Road, Boggy Creek Farm, Hausbar Farm, Springdale Farm and Rain Lily Farm.  Local chefs will be preparing locally sourced tasty bites at each location

April 23, 2011 10:00 – 4:00

Funky Chicken Coop Tour – This Self Guided Tour of some of Austin’s most interesting Home Chicken Coops, starts at Buck Moore Feed.  Free Event

http://fccooptour.blogspot.com/