Austin Urban Gardens

Raised Bed Gardening and Eating Well in Austin, Texas

Vegetable Planting Guide for Austin, February-March February 8, 2010

If you have limited garden space, its the time of year right now that planting takes some thought.  Most folks want to plant tomatoes and peppers this Spring.  There are approximately 45 days between now and the first date recommended for planting tomatoes, March 25.  The recommended tomato planting dates are from March 25 – May 1.  So that 45 days from today could be stretched to around 80 days if you were to plant tomatoes May 1st.

So, if you have space in your garden now, but want to plant peppers, why not make the most of it and plant something that will be ready for harvest by tomato planting time.  Here are a few suggestions.  Keep in mind that if you plant some of the things that take the full 80 days to harvest, this leave you with little time to let the soil rest, amend it, and get the tomatoes in the ground by the end of the Spring planting season.  In my garden, I planted radishes, lettuce, carrots, and broccoli in the last couple of weeks.

beets (plant after Feb. 15)  55 to 65 days to harvest

broccoli 60-80 days to harvest

cabbage 65-80 days to harvest

carrots 70-80 days to harvest

collards 55-70 days to harvest

kale 50-70 days to harvest

lettuce 60-80 days to harvest

mustard 40-50 days to harvest

peas 60-80 days to harvest

radish 25-30 days to harvest

spinach 40-45 days to harvest

turnip 45 to 60 days to harvest


February Garden February 6, 2010

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Finally, the sun is shining!  The rain had kept me from even peeking at my garden for days.  It looks great this morning, and I’m sure the sun will make it happy.  I have lots of lettuce ready to eat as well as a smallish crown of  broccoli.  The cabbages are absolutely gorgeous and healthy, but still don’t seem to be forming heads.  I’m not giving up just yet, I don’t need the garden space for another month, when it will be overhaul time to make room for tomatoes.  The carrots have sprouted, and the watermelon radishes are rocking along and in need of thinning, a task I don’t enjoy because it makes me feel wasteful.  But, I’ll do it, to give the little radishes the room they need to be big radishes.

Watermelon radishes

Carrot sprouts

Lettuce ready to eat

Headless cabbage


February Planting Guide, Zone 8 January 31, 2010

Crop                    Days to maturity

Asparagus         2 years to production

Beets                    55-65   After feb. 15th

Broccoli              60-80  after feb. 15th

Cabbage               65-80  I have to call BS on this one.  Mine has been in the ground over 100 days and no cabbage heads

Carrots                  70-80

Collards                55-70

Kale                         50-70  I recommend Dinosaur Kale

Lettuce                   60-85  I like Black Seeded Simpson, Butter Lettuce, and Buttercrunch

Mustard                  50-60

Onions                     100-120  Patience required

Peas                         60-80  Plant until Feb. 15th

Potatoes                  70-90  I reccomend Red Lasoda, and Kennebec

Radish                       25-30  So fast!  Very rewarding

Spinach                     40-45

Turnip                       45-65

You can also plant blackberries now, which will be bare root plants that like to grow up a fence or trellis.  I think cilantro will still do well, but most of the herbs will start to be planted early March.  Just pay attention to the maturity dates if you want to plant tomatoes and peppers in the Spring, so that you have room for them.  Feel free to ask me anything.  If I don’t know the answer, I surely will make something up!  Kidding.


No Grocery Store Challenge, Day 29

For a nice hot hearty breakfast this morning, I had some of the bulk pork sausage from Richardson Farms and 2 duck eggs scrambled with market tomatoes.  Then I layered up and headed to the Downtown Farmer’s Market in Republic Square Park, which was to debut its new layout and deck under a huge oak tree, with tables and chairs and live music.    I’ll post some pictures later, I just realized I haven’t downloaded them yet.  It was great!  That venue is perfect for the growing market, and I ran into so many friends there, grocery shopping has never been more enjoyable.  I got home with the Kocurek torchons and andouille I bought Wednesday and forgot to bring home, as well as some Texas Hot Sausage and molassas bacon.  I bought pepper jack and cheddar cheese from Full Quiver, butter lettuce from Bella Verdi, (and he gave me some microgreens to try) an enormous Napa cabbage and shallots, and Texas Coffee Trader’s coffee.  Oh, and more pasta from Texas Pasta Company.  I need to make my own from local wheat, but haven’t gotten to that yet.)  It was a really fun farmer’s market today.

For a late lunch, I had a Whole Wheat tortilla made from scratch with Richardson’s wheat, with some full quiver cheese folded over into a quesadilla.  I need to work on the tortilla recipe a bit to give it more flavor.  Today was the first time to try that recipe.   I used an electric tortilla press, which allowed me to get it thinner than I could have otherwise, I think.  It was pretty good.  The recipe called for cooking it in oil, which would have added flavor, but I was trying to keep the calories down, with the dinner I had in mind.

Dinner, was a bit odd.  Trying to adapt existing recipes to what I have on hand,  is not as smart as trying to come up with new recipes to highlight what I do have.  Lesson learned.  I had watched Tyler Florence make Stroganoff, with pasta, mushrooms, garlic, sour cream and cream, and the beef was short ribs.  I had thawed Bastrop Cattle Company short ribs and cooked them in the oven at 300 for 2.5 hours.  They were great, with lots of olive oil, my garden thyme and rosemary.    I had the rest of the wheat pasta from the downtown market a couple of weeks ago, and cooked that.  I sauteed market mushrooms and the shallots I got today in Kocurek duck fat, thyme and red wine.  (The absence of garlic in everything was noticible.)  Then for the cream sauce, I attempted to make one from goat milk thickened with chevre.  The result was an oddly purple colored (from the wine) thin sauce that didn’t taste bad, but wasn’t really that good either.  I wish I had just stuck to my homemade pesto that the freezer is full of.    Oh well. Now I know.

So today was interesting.  I’m full of good, healthful, local food, it just wasn’t the triumph I had hoped for.  I do have wheat tortillas that are ready to go, in the fridge now, which is a bonus.  Pizza crust is next.  Tortillas and pizza are not on my regular menu, I just seem to need to know they are available.  More hoarding mentality I guess.


No Grocery Store Challenge, Day 27 January 30, 2010

Nearing the end of the first month of this challenge and I have no complaints.  I think I’ve settled in.  I still miss some things, but my diet is healthier and I’ve lost 5 pounds.  Granted, that was holiday weight gain, but still!

Breakfast was a scrambled duck egg.  Countryside Farms.

Lunch was the other link of Kocurek Jalapeno smoked sausage from the day before, and a small salad using my lettuce harvested just before I covered it for the freeze, Texas Olive Ranch olive oil and Figalicious Balsamic.  Their vinegars are wonderful!  I also have pomegranate and orange flavored.

Dinner was a bison burger, on the last of the whole wheat bread that I made a while back and had frozen, with market tomatoes, CAEDA Farms I think, tons of Bella Verdi Lettuce, and my pickled peppers from the bumper crop I had in late summer.


No Grocery Store Challenge, Day 26 January 29, 2010

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Breakfast, 1 scrambled egg with Texas Olive Ranch olives chopped and mixed in.

Lunch, Kocurek Jalapeno Sausage and Full Quiver Colby.  I made myself a little charcuterie plate.

Dinner, garden salad (my lettuce, market tomato, market green onions), garden broccoli,  and Amberjack, from the downtown farmer’s market sauteed in Texas Olive Ranch olive oil.

From the Triangle market I got more green onions, hydroponic tomatoes,  some andouille from the Kocurek’s and a ribeye and some ground pork sausage from Richardson Farms.  With the really cold weather coming, I’ve got some yummy comforting winter meals planned for the next few days.

Almost one month, and this is getting easier.  It is hard to believe that I have not set foot in Central Market, Whole Foods, Fresh Plus or Costco since December.


Watermelon Radish Seedlings January 25, 2010

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You’d think I would get used to seeing seeds sprout, but I never really do.  I’m always so excited to see little green signs of life (and food) emerge from their underground starting place.  Some never do come up, despite my coddling.  I don’t think the Buttercrunch Lettuce germinated, but the carrots I planted next to it the same day have sprouted.    Radishes are so very easy to grow.  The Watermelon Radish seeds I planted this week are emerging every day.  In just a month or so, they’ll be an edible addition to my (non Buttercrunch) salad.  They actually started coming up in clumps, which means I dropped too many seeds in one spot and they also get washed around when I water the first time.  I’ll have to thin them, which pains me, because I hate to waste one little radish life.  But, it must be done to ensure the others will have room to grow.

Watermelon Radish Seedlings