April Garden Update: Come See What’s New In My Homestead Vegetable Garden!

By Texas Homesteader ~  

Come see what’s growing in my Homestead garden. And I’m sharing tips like my favorite garden-planning tool, two ways to get an early start on starting seeds, my favorite raised bed, the benefits of living mulch, making my own soil and MORE!

Let’s stroll through my NE Texas Homestead garden and see what’s going on…

My zone 8 vegetable garden tips, progress, etc. Come see! #TexasHomesteader

(Note: Some links in this post will take you to other related articles for further information. But links preceded with * are affiliate links. If you click and buy something I could receive a tiny commission.)

How To Easily Plan A Yearly Vegetable Garden

One of the biggest planting decision aids for me is a spreadsheet where I’ve formatted my garden’s layout. 

Garden-Planning spreadsheet.Garden Planning - How I Decide What Vegetables To Plant Each Spring Using Past Experience, Companion Planting, 3 Sisters method, Etc #TexasHomesteader

NOTE: The photo above is an example of my own garden’s layout. Your garden will be different but this photo shows what mine looks like. For your own garden you can use a *Garden Planner Notebook or maybe some sort of*Downloadable Garden Planner . (I’m not personally familiar with these products, just offering something to get your search started.) I’ve heard good things about Clyde’s Garden Planner too.

Of course you could also format something similar to what I’ve done on your own *Spreadsheet Software.

Using my homemade spreadsheet I have my past garden plantings at my fingertips.

I can compare by clicking another year’s tab and looking over what I planted where back then. That helps me make sure I’m rotating my crops each year.

Starting Seeds Early For My Homestead Garden

I like to grow heirloom plants whenever possible. Finding heirloom seedlings out here is a challenge but I don’t want to get behind by waiting to plant seeds in the garden.

So I typically plant  heirloom seeds in a setup I refer to as my Indoor Greenhouse several weeks before the last anticipated freeze.

A clear plastic tote is used as my indoor greenhouse for starting vegetable seeds each year. #TexasHomesteader

Planting Seeds In Milk Jugs

I also utilize milk jugs to to plant seeds. I really like this method of starting seeds too.

There are some things to keep in mind when planting in milk jugs. So if you’ve never used this handy method I encourage you to read my post about milk-jug greenhouses.

I planted my milk jugs mid February. The seeds sprouted quickly.

Milk Jug Greenhouse - pepper seeds sprouting inside. #TexasHomesteader

Here in Northeast Texas (hardiness zone 8a) it’s generally thought to be safe to place plants in the garden after Easter. Until then I got those seeds grown into seedlings.

Late Winter Garden Maintenance

In preparation for planting I cleaned up the garden by removing the late-winter weeds like Henbit in my garden planting areas.

I have this hori hori knife-styled *Weeding Trowel that makes short work of it.  Fisker's Hori Hori garden knife weeding trowel. #TexasHomesteader

The forked end grabs hold of the plant’s roots and pulls it out with ease.

I drop the green weed into my *Compost Tumbler to add to my green’s requirement for that black gold Homemade Compost all gardeners love.

Building healthy soil, compost, mulch for garden planting. #TexasHomesteader

Then around Easter I transplanted my vegetable plants into the garden.

Transitioning Vegetable Garden To Raised Beds

Over the last few years I’ve been transitioning many of my in-ground planting rows into raised beds.

Some raised beds are animal water troughs, others are large 30-gallon empty tubs.

But the favored bed in my garden BY FAR is the Best Raised Bed!

Hopkins Homestead raised bed with optional wood kit bench seat #TexasHomesteader

Hopkins Homestead Store galvanized steel raised beds coupon code. #TexasHomesteaderIt’s open bottom so I used old logs, leaves, etc. to make my own garden soil to fill it up as well as help with drought conditions down the road.

The surrounding wooden benches make gardening and harvest a breeze. I couldn’t be more pleased with it!

Planting Mystery Heirloom Tomato Seeds

A couple of years ago a tomato plant grew at my parent’s house after they had soil excavated from beneath their house to have it releveled. That seed must have been washed beneath their home decades ago – before they owned the house.

Mom saved one of those tomatoes and I harvested seeds from it.

We lost mom last year, so I want to make doubly sure those seeds grow tomato plants. They’re sentimental to me now…

Tomato seedling planted in repurposed pot being prepared to be planted outside in the garden. #TexasHomesteader

I started those precious seeds in milk jugs, transplanting to repurposed containers when they grew into seedlings.

Easter weekend I tucked the tomato plants into my garden. Now we wait…

Using Living Mulch In A Vegetable Garden

I use Vining Plants As Living Mulch. So I recently planted cantaloupe and watermelon seeds at the ends of those tomato rows.

Use naturally-vining plants as living mulch. #TexasHomesteader

That living mulch will cover the ground around my tomatoes preserving moisture, moderating soil temperatures and keeping dirt from splashing onto the tomato leaves when I’m watering.

PLUS – using vining plants as living mulch provides us with food. What can you make with living-mulch produce? 

Cantaloupe – I eat it fresh or make Cantaloupe Bread (similar to zucchini bread)

Cantaloupe bread made with harvest from living mulch. #TexasHomesteader

Watermelon – RancherMan & I freeze the watermelon cubes and use them for a cold, refreshing Watermelon Smoothie or Daiquiri

Frozen chunks of watermelon, a little sugar and Captain Morgan spiced rum makes a delicious daiquiri. #TexasHomesteader

Spaghetti Squash – I make it cheesy and lasagna style. Plus there’s plenty to share with friends & family.

Simple spaghetti squash recipe - cooked in its own shell. #TexasHomesteader

Pumpkin – Beautiful for fall decorations, then I cook & puree it to make Pumpkin Granola.

Honey sweetened pumpkin granola. #TexasHomesteader

See what I mean? Lots of food coming from using living ‘mulch‘!

Lazy Gardener’s List

For some plants I get a harvest every year WITHOUT planting them every year. My Lazy Gardener’s list is long but includes the herbs below growing in my garden.

A list of easy plant & forget vegetable garden plants that feed you every year! #TexasHomesteader

Herbs Grown In My Texas Garden

Rosemary – I’ve been able to harvest from it several times already.

Sage – My sage plant is impressive, growing larger every year. In April it shows off its beautiful purple blossoms. A gorgeous example of edible landscaping.

Sage blooms beautifully in the April garden. My zone 8 vegetable garden is off to a slow start, and some plants succumbed to the February winter storm. But there are many successes as well. Come see! #TexasHomesteader

Stevia – I purposely allow my Stevia plants to flower and go to seed in the fall. Then I get many stevia plants sprouting in the spring!

I often relocate the seedlings to various places in our landscape and share seedlings with friends & family.

Stevia plant multiplying in April garden. My zone 8 vegetable garden is off to a slow start, and some plants succumbed to the February winter storm. But there are many successes as well. Come see! #TexasHomesteader

Oregano – My oregano struggled last year with the drought. But I see it’s coming back now. 

Oregano is growing well in our April garden. My zone 8 vegetable garden is off to a slow start, and some plants succumbed to the February winter storm. But there are many successes as well. Come see! #TexasHomesteader

Thyme – This is my favorite herb to cook with. And have you seen the dried herb prices in the store??!

April garden - Thyme growing well. My zone 8 vegetable garden is off to a slow start, and some plants succumbed to the February winter storm. But there are many successes as well. Come see! #TexasHomesteader

Everbearing Strawberries In A Raised Bed

Years ago I planted ‘Everbearing strawberries’ in a galvanized trough next to our back Outdoor Living Room. They came back every year and they’re growing well now.

I’ll use this hack to Trick Birds Away From My Strawberries.

Paint rocks like strawberries to keep birds away from your growing strawberries. My zone 8 vegetable garden is off to a slow start, and some plants succumbed to the February winter storm. But there are many successes as well. Come see! #TexasHomesteader

Miniature Blueberry Bush

Several years ago I planted a miniature blueberry bush in a small Galvanized Tub.

Miniature blueberry bush in galvanized tub. My zone 8 vegetable garden is off to a slow start, and some plants succumbed to the February winter storm. But there are many successes as well. Come see! #TexasHomesteader

It’s already bloomed and it looks like I’ll be able to harvest blueberries soon.

Concord Grapevine Growing Along Fence

A Concord Grapevine grows along the fence surrounding my garden. It’s growing tiny grapes already. Concord grapevine leaves. #TexasHomesteader

I harvest the ripe grapes in July and make homemade Grape Jelly with them.

Garlic & Onions

Garlic – I plant garlic in October and mulch it heavily with Fallen Leaves for the winter. That mulch will see them through the hot months ahead too.

Garlic is easy to grow in my Texas Homestead garden. Here is a small harvest I enjoyed. #TexasHomesteader

Onions – I have Egyptian Walking Onions, which means they plant themselves every year. 

They reproduce by growing bulbils on the flowers, which get weighed down, touch the ground, root and make new plants. 

Egyptian Walking Onions reproduce from their blooms, forming small bulbules that weigh down and touch the ground. #TexasHomesteader

These onions are small but nicely strong flavored. So a little goes a long way. 

How’s Your April Garden?

So there ya go, a quick tour of my April garden. There are many exciting things going on in the garden this year.

And next month’s garden update will be flowing with garden-growing goodness, so stay tuned!

How’s your garden growing – are you able to plant yet? What will be the star of the show in YOUR garden??


This post categorized in  

My Favorite Garden Hacks

My favorite gardening hacks all in one place. #TexasHomesteader

Garden Planning

Seed Planting

Soil Health

Garden Styles

Garden Plants/Harvest


Weed Control

Garden Tips

MORE Gardening Posts

C’mon by & sit a spell!  Come hang out at our Facebook Page. It’s like sitting in a front porch rocker with a glass of cold iced tea – lots of good folks sharing!  You can also follow along on Pinterest, Twitter or Instagram.

If you’d like to receive an email each time a new blog post goes live it’s EASY to
Subscribe to our blog!

8 thoughts on “April Garden Update: Come See What’s New In My Homestead Vegetable Garden!

  1. Patty Brenner

    I built raised beds a few years ago from some salvaged corrugated tin (based on a homesteading youtube channel). I really do like the looks and longevity of them – if I didn’t have a ready source I’d certainly invest in the raised beds y’all installed. Just an FYI on the henbit – it’s edible. I don’t care for the flavor, but my chickens like it (maybe that’s how it got its name?).

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Ya know, Patty, although I knew henbit was edible I haven’t tried it yet. But I should totally give it a try mixed in a salad – I’m a fan of foraging and you don’t get any easier than henbit! It’s related to mint which could explain the voracious growing habit. ~TxH~

  2. Kenneth Goh

    I totally enjoy reading this post as in Singapore, there is no land space for us to cultivate and four seasons for us to enjoy the arrival of spring. However, thanks for sharing. Cheers and have a nice day.

  3. Tanya @ Seven Springs Homestead

    We have our spring plants in the ground but our last frost date is May 15. I am patiently (ok, not so patiently) waiting for this date to plant everything else.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      OMGosh Tanya I almost couldn’t wait until our danger of frost had passed. But Mother Nature will really throw a kink in your plans sometimes! ~TxH~

  4. Karen

    I really want to commend you on your commitment to repurposing. It’s evident throughout this post… from seedling pots, weed barrier, mulch, gifted seed, water conservation. Wonder if the feed company had weed barrier in mind when they printed “Please dispose of in proper place” on their feed sack. 🙂 Best wishes for plentiful produce!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      What a sweet thing to say Karen. I really do like to repurpose wherever possible. LOL I think it’s funny you noticed the litter notice on the feed sack. 🙂 ~TxH~

  5. daisy

    I really like your layout. We are hoping to try drip irrigation when we buy our property later this year. Even if we use rain barrels for our water supply, it makes sense to conserve with this type of watering system. Thanks for joining us on The Maple Hill Hop today!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

* Please enter the Biggest Number

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.