by Texas Homesteader
Spring is one of the busiest times of the year here at the homestead. Our world is just waking up from a long winter’s nap and much must be done to prepare for the rest of the year. After the disastrous ice storms we’ve endured this year we’ve been very busy clearing downed limbs and repairing fences. But as spring arrives my thoughts turn to my veggie garden. This year we tore down my old raised beds and built new raised beds with a more efficient design for irrigation and less wasted walk space.
Any time you’re tearing out and building new it certainly adds to the chore list time for these tasks but there is still much to be done before the garden is actually planted, there’s no time to sit back on my heels!
Before any seeds even touch the soil I had to decide what I will be planting in those new beds this year. Much must be taken into account such as what RancherMan & I most like to eat fresh, how I can preserve the overage, rotating my crop to a different spot than where it grew last year, companion planting, etc. I use a spreadsheet for this and it keeps past plantings at my fingertips, as well as what plants grow well together (and which ones DON’T!)
Armed with my planting list I started my indoor greenhouse in February by planting heirloom seeds in repurposed plastic yogurt tubs. I then positioned my indoor garden starter at a south-facing window. I allowed the sun and its warmth to give these seeds a chance to spring up. Using this method allows me the emotional boost of getting my hands in the soil earlier than I would if I waited to plant directly into the garden, plus it allows me to plant using my heirloom seeds yet still have the jump start of planting actual seedlings into the garden when it’s time. That makes for a very inexpensive garden indeed.
My seeds have all now sprouted and are growing just fine. Recently I moved my indoor greenhouse to the south-facing porch and I remove the top for a few hours each day to allow these seedlings to begin experiencing the weather conditions they will be forced to grow in – this is called hardening off.
Here in our planting zone of 8A I won’t be actually planting them in the ground until closer to Easter when I can be more assured that the danger of any wayward frost is passed. I almost. Can’t. STAND. IT!!!
But patient I will be…
In the meantime the garden soil is also being prepared. I’m using the stirrup hoe to remove any spring grass that’s trying to sprout and a dirt rake and good ole elbow grease to dig out & remove any Bermuda grass that tries to infiltrate those beds (uuuggghhh, a never-ending battle) There have also been some amendments to the soil by way of grass clippings and compost that are raked liberally into the soil. This fluffy bed of soil will be ready in no time to accept my precious seedlings.
The compost bed is also being readied for its duties. Several weeks ago I brought all my finishing compost to this specifically-made area to allow it to complete the composting process. I covered the finishing compost with straw and grass clippings to keep it moist and it should be ready to go when I begin planting.
I’ll make good use of this black gold by taking a handful of compost and stirring it directly into my planting hole when I plant my seedlings to give these veggies a great start to providing plenty of healthy & nutritious food for us all year long.
It’s still early in many parts of the U.S. – what are you doing to prepare your own veggie beds for planting?
My Favorite Garden Hacks
- Easy Garden Planning Spreadsheet
- Getting A Jump: Planting An Indoor Greenhouse
- Repurposed Cardboard Seed-Starting Pots
- 3-Sister’s Garden – The Original Companion Planting
- Low-Cost Vegetable Gardening
- Planting A Large Galvanized Trough
- Using Cheap Biodegradable Weed Block
- Tricking Birds AWAY From Your Strawberry Plants
- Easy Compost For A Healthy Garden
- Propping Tender Seedlings
- Cheap (or FREE) Wood Mulch For The Garden
- Homestead Hack: Remember Where You Planted Seeds
- How Vegetable Gardening Can Change Your Life!
- Easy Deep-Soak Watering
- Planting Potatoes In Galvanized Trough
- Planting A Blueberry Bush In Galvanized Tub
- Stevia – Growing Your Own Sweetener!
- How I Use EcoBricks In The Garden
We are still expecting snow today so we have to wait but this has me going to the store for seeds! Thanks for linking up at The Four Seasons Blog Hop! Sandra from Scrumptilicious 4 You! We would love to have you come back next week!
I live in Ireland and I use raised beds for my veggies – I make my own compost and collect egg shells and mulch and dig into the bed. I have my first set of seedlings started and growing strong waiting to go in 🙂
Like everyone I am waiting for the frost to be over.
That patience is so hard to do – I’m so ready to get these beautiful seedlings into the ground. But wait I must… LOL ~TxH~
Oh, gosh! You are so organized in your planting. Wow! I’m impressed.
Awww, thanks Babs. Now if I can just hold off on actually planting in the garden until after the danger of frost is over… LOL ~TxH~
Winter – Grrrrrrr… Spring’s a glorious time to be in Texas & we’re on the cusp of it now, the wild plum trees are blooming and the hardiest of tress are leafing out. Can’t WAIT! ~TxH~
Wonderful garden plan! I loved that you used an excel spreadsheet….I use them a lot for planning too, but never for my garden. Very smart tip!!
I used to make up a separate file for each year’s garden but then I thought “DUH – put them all on one sheet” (slaps forehead) It’s been much more helpful to me now that each year is just a tab away. ~TxH~
Great plan! Glad the ice storms are gone and you can start getting ready to garden.
Thanks for sharing on The Hop today!
Me too Daisy, although we both know Mother Nature throws a killing frost in when it’s least expected so I’m trying to hold back to closer to Easter to actually get the seedlings in the ground. “Can she make it, stay tuned to find out!” LOL ~TxH~
My veggies look a bit like yours! This is only my second year and I’m very nervous about it. I’m happy to see a garden veteran’s looks similar to mine. Thanks for the encouragement!
I worried about planting my seeds in the indoor greenhouse as early as I did Lexie since we’ve gotten so many wild swings with the cold weather, but I think that by the time I’m able to get them in the garden they will be just about the right size so it looks like I probably times it perfectly. I’m currently hardening my seedlings off by placing my indoor greenhouse on the south-facing porch with the lid off so they can get used to the stiff breezes we experience during the early spring. I’m hoping I can hold off until closer to Easter to plant, although in all probability I’m only a couple of weeks out. LOL ~TxH~
Congrats on your award. I enjoy your blog because I feel like we have so much in common. Looking forward to exploring the other blog’s you mentioned. Took a quick peek at Down To Earth… She’s absolutely wonderful.
I’m deep into my seed starts just like you. We’re in zone 8b. Do you have any favorite varieties that you would like to share? Thanks.
Karen, I absolute favorite heavy producer heirloom veggie is my San Marzano tomatoes. I have two heirloom tomato types but the San Marzano is a paste-type tomato much like a roma. They by far outproduce any tomatoes heirloom or hybrid that I’ve ever planted. Last year because of an illness I wasn’t able to plant my San Marzanos and I was hoping that my seed from the prior year would still be viable. Thankfully I have at least a couple of seedlings sprouting and I’ll be sure to place them in a place of honor in the garden. RancherMan’s not big on eating raw tomatoes but he loves salsa, pico de gallo, marinara, etc. so they always get put to good use! ~TxH~
It is early in my part of the country to start anything and is usually cold yet. Your starter plants looks like they are doing really well. I like the idea of the raised beds – every one that I know that uses them really likes how well they work. Visiting from Tuesday With A Twist. Have a healthy wonderful day!
It’s certainly been a brutal winter for many this year Marla – I’m very much looking forward to more temperate weather! ~TxH~