Tag Archives: Gardening

April Vegetable Garden Update: Late Start, Tomato Glut & Stevia Sprouts

By Texas Homesteader ~

Well, it seems it’s been a slow start in the garden this season. Here in Northeast Texas (hardiness zone 8) it’s generally thought to be relatively safe to plant your veggie garden after Easter.

The temps had been warm in the weeks before Easter. And it lulled many into a false sense of security. Many gardeners jumped the gun & planted their garden a little early. But then a cold front came through and dropped temps into the upper 30’s.

How has my garden fared so far? Well let’s stroll through the garden and see what’s going on…

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

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Living Mulch Using Vining Plants

by Texas Homesteader ~ 

Here in NE Texas the summers can be hot and dry. So veggie garden plants can benefit and be protected by using mulch to cover the soil. It protects it from the drying heat of that brutal Texas summer sun.

It also helps preserve the precious moisture that can be zapped by the hot and dry summer months.

You can buy commercial mulch of course. But I’ve been known to use natural (and FREE) products when mulching around trees and plants. Things such as grass clippings, Free Bark Mulch or even spent hay from around the hay rings.

But for my vegetable garden I’m using something even easier. And it’s something that doesn’t need to be purchased in a plastic bag nor hauled to the garden. No hoe or rake to spread, no extra work at all.

Check out this work-saving Homestead Hack, y’all!

Garden plants benefit from long vines shading the soil. It's like growing your own living mulch. Work smarter, not harder. #TexasHomesteader

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Garden Update: March – Mystery Seed Edition

by Texas Homesteader ~

It’s only March, but there’s much to do now to prepare for your vegetable garden. Spring is almost here, y’all!

Decisions need to be made. Do you know what you’ll plant this year? What does your family like to eat? What about companion planting?

 I’ve been both planning for (as well as actually working in) my garden already. For my garden, I’ve made a Simple Spreadsheet to track the data on my garden each year. It helps me see what I grew where last year and I’ve noted companion planting data too.

Your garden will obviously be different, but it’s easy to set up a spreadsheet like this. Or some people just use a notebook and hand-written notes. Whatever’s easiest for you.

OK, so you’ve got the garden planned. Now you need to get started. Come see what’s going on this month for planning our garden…

It's only March, but there's LOTS going on both in preparation of as well as in the garden. Come see what we're doing. #TexasHomesteader

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Why I Grow My Own Luffa Sponges (and why you should too!)

by Texas Homesteader ~ 
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Several years ago I became aware that you could actually grow your own luffa (or loofah) sponge in the garden.


You mean those little scrubby things you use in the shower? Who knew??!!

Now I always grow my own luffa sponges and couldn’t be happier!

You can grow your own luffa sponge in your garden. They're easy to grow, eco friendly and fully compostable. #TexasHomesteader

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Grow Fresh Salad Greens In All Seasons

by Texas Homesteader~

RancherMan & I enjoy eating salads almost daily. I feel it offers two main benefits.

First that dose of fresh veggies is obvs gonna be healthy. And secondly,  enjoying that crisp salad before supper puts my appetite in check by the time the actual entrée is served.

Plus, I can make a very Healthy Salad Dressing in only about 1 minute using unflavored yogurt and lemon juice as a base. So our salads are not only delicious but very healthy too.

But I hate how perishable lettuce is. And the fact that it’s always encased in plastic (at least where we live)

For Christmas I was gifted a windowsill salad growing kit, including two self-watering planters, seed-starting mix and a couple of packets of mixed salad greens. Let’s DO this!

Even in the miserable weather of winter, I'm growing salad greens inside using a self-watering planter pot. Fresh salads at my fingertips! #TexasHomesteader

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FREE Biodegradable Seed Pots – Repurposing Cardboard Tubes

by Texas Homesteader ~ 
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Over the years I’ve used various containers for starting seeds, including repurposed plastic yogurt cups & such. But I loved those little pots you can drop into the soil – pot, plant and all. How convenient!

But I wanted a free version. So I’ve started planting my seeds in repurposed cardboard toilet paper rolls. They’re biodegradable, the earthworms love the paper when it’s in the garden, and they’re absolutely FREE!

When it’s time to put my precious seedlings into the garden that the whole shootin’ match – cardboard tube & all – can be placed in the soil!

The cardboard will simply decompose and further enrich the soil. I like that!

Plant Seeds In Cardboard Tubes and you can drop seedlings - tube & all right in the garden! Cardboard will decompose and enrich the soil #TexasHomesteader

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Vegetable Garden Planning Made Easy

by Texas Homesteader~

I’ve been spending time daydreaming about both warmer weather and what I’d like to plant in my vegetable garden. 

We’re located in Northeast Texas planting zone 8a so we enjoy a pretty long growing season. But it seems spring just can’t come soon enough.

But how do I decide what goes in the garden each year?

Garden Planning. How do I track previous planting info? Or companion planting? Or crop rotation? Come see my garden-planning tips. #TexasHomesteader

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My Fresh Herb-Drying Setup – No Energy Required!

by Texas Homesteader~ 

I love herbs & spices, don’t you? But several years ago I ran out of thyme. So I went to the store to buy more. WHEW! You know, there are some herbs and seasonings you can buy pretty cheaply. A big jar will cost very little.

But for some reason thyme was pretty pricey (IMO). Heck, for what they were charging for that little jar of thyme, I could buy a whole plant and harvest from it year in, year out!

So I did…

My most-used herbs are thyme, sage, oregano, basil and rosemary. So I make sure I always have them available, whether fresh or dried.

A Facebook follower asked about my herb-drying setup. Y’all know I’m all about simplicity! So I thought I’d show how I dry my fresh herbs.

Herb drying doesn't need to take any energy or special appliances. Come see my herb-drying setup. #TexasHomesteader

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