by Texas Homesteader ~
It’s early in the season and most of us aren’t even thinking about dropping seeds or plants in the garden. Here in Texas planting zone 8 we typically don’t risk planting until Easter when in all probability the danger of the last frost is past. I’m not gonna lie, I jump the gun sometimes. There are times I get away with it, and other times I have to start all over…
But there are still garden tasks to tend to even though actual planting time is still weeks away. Come see…
Late Winter Preparations
I’ve already done my easy Garden Planning using this spreadsheet. Using this document allows me to see what I planted last year & where so I can rotate my plantings to help keep pests at bay. It also has a quick reference to companion planting. So I can make sure veggies that are planted close can play nice together.
And I’ve just recently planted my Indoor Greenhouse too. I like to use heirloom seeds, but I still like putting actual seedlings in the garden in the spring. This step lets me do both!
I was even able to repurpose used cardboard to make my seed-starting pots. It was easy – a few quick snips & folds is all it took. I can plant the seedling, cardboard and all, right into my garden when spring arrives. The cardboard decomposes and actually feeds the earthworms. Win/win!
But we recently got an unseasonably warm day for February so you bet your socks I was out in the garden. The early spring weeds have already started to rear their ugly heads. Weeding is my least favorite garden thing to do. But if you weed early and often you keep smaller problems from becoming big problems. I discovered on this day that some problems are bigger than others…
Now I don’t know what this beast is, but it grew alongside a weed barrier which kept it from getting its roots very deep into the ground. So I was able to get it pulled out roots and all. DANG! This helps me understand why it’s such a struggle to keep the weeds at bay – look at that massive root system!
Solving The Shade Problem
Our driveway runs alongside our garden in one spot. When we moved here we planted a row of gorgeous Crape Myrtle trees along our driveway. They run from our front gate all the way to our home. It makes for quite a lovely entrance.
But the Crape Myrtle trees next to my garden fence grew so tall they shaded the garden much of the day. That shade coupled with the drought last year kept my garden from producing at all. We just can’t have that now can we?
Although I love the look of the row of gorgeous blooming trees along the driveway, I asked RancherMan to hack the height of four of the trees next to my garden fence to only 3-ft high. They’ll sprout and grow this spring of course, but my hope is that we can keep them trimmed to around the height of the fence. If it doesn’t work we’ll have to remove these four trees all together next spring. I hope it doesn’t come to that though.
Quick Weeding Trick
Now that the trees around the perimeter of the garden have been trimmed, let’s get in the garden & do some prep! My favorite garden tool this time of year is the stirrup hoe. When the soil is damp like it is now, the stirrup hoe cuts weed roots just below the soil’s surface.
I first cleaned up the planting rows by removing all dead vegetation from last year’s garden. Then I used my stirrup hoe to clean up early-spring weeds that were trying to grow in my rows. Just a few swipes and BOOM!
Here’s a before & after for ya. This bed that I typically reserve for garlic and my 3-sister’s garden was taking a weed beating! But using the stirrup hoe I weeded it in 4 minutes. Yeah, I love this thing!
It doesn’t help me much in the heat of summer when the ground is hard as concrete. But DANG it sure makes fast work this time of year.
In the coming weeks I’ll go pick up several loads of Free Bark Mulch and re-mulch my walkways. That will help to make sure they stay weed free too. Work smarter, not harder I always say!
I’m so anxious but I know it will be time to plant before I know it!
SORRY, The FREE Heirloom Seed Giveaway Has ENDED!
One of my favorite plants in the garden is heirloom tomato. Those gorgeous orbs of deliciousness are the sweethearts of the garden that’s for sure. I love to grow heirloom tomatoes. Not only do I use heirloom seeds to plant my garden each year, but I love making my own fresh Garden Salsa and Pico de Gallo with those tomatoes. Delicious!
Now howzabout this?? I thought since many of us are starting to think about planting the garden I’d have a FREE seed giveaway. I have a packet of Heirloom Amish Red Tomato Seeds to give away to a lucky winner. This packet of seeds contains 20-30 seeds. Wowser!
Getting the chance to win the heirloom seeds is easy – 1 point for each item is given via the rafflecopter below. But there’s a BONUS option of 2 points to each reader who goes to the post pinned to the top of our Facebook Page & tags a friend they think may enjoy our little ole blog. Hopefully they’ll subscribe to this blog too – the more the merrier!
Do you know someone who likes to cook from scratch or garden? Do they enjoy being environmentally aware or living life the old way? Or do they just enjoy reading about good ole life in the country? TAG ‘EM on the top pinned post on our Facebook Page! You have through Sunday February 10th to enter. Ready? GO!
Now go, go, GO to the rafflecopter below & enter to win!
- A random winner will be chosen after the giveaway ends at midnight on Monday, February 11th.
- Sorry, offer valid to US residents only
- Don’t forget to go to our Facebook Page too & tag a friend (and earn TWO additional bonus points!)
My Favorite Garden Hacks
- Easy Garden Planning Spreadsheet
- Getting A Jump: Planting An Indoor Greenhouse
- Repurposed Cardboard Seed-Starting Pots
- Easy Compost For A Healthy Garden
- Propping Tender Seedlings
- Cheap (or FREE) Wood Mulch For The Garden
- Homestead Hack: Remember Where You Planted Seeds
- Easy Deep-Soak Watering