Vegetable Garden Update: May

by Texas Homesteader ~

Well, it’s been a pretty strange spring so far for us in NE Texas.  Pretty strange indeed!  Many areas all around us have received plenty of spring rains but for some reason it always seems to miss us here on the homestead.  Although May is our rainiest month of the year we have areas in our backyard that are pretty bare where the ground is parched & cracked.  Scary!  Hopefully that’s not a sign of things to come this year.  I’ve been watering with a 2-gallon watering can which takes a lot of time and doesn’t water as thoroughly.  But RancherMan set up the cistern pump for me today so I’ll be able to use that rainwater captured in the 18-ft deep cement cistern from now on.  If we get any rain at all in the coming weeks that cistern will fill back up!  With the cloudy & cooler weather we’ve had, the garden has really been slow in taking off.  But I’ve had some successes too.  C’mon along with me for a stroll through our garden.

With the cloudy & cooler weather we've had, the garden has been slow taking off. C'mon along with me for a stroll through our garden. #TexasHomesteader

The mammoth sunflowers I planted in my ‘indoor greenhouse’ earlier this year sprouted and transplanted just fine.  But they seem to be leggy and lagging well behind the ones I just planted directly into the soil weeks later.  I’ll probably just plant them directly in the garden next year.  Oh, and the volunteer sunflower that sprouted over in the chicken coop side of the garden enclosure is going crazy, well over 7-ft tall now.  The chickens are using it for shade!  LOL

With the cloudy & cooler weather we've had, the garden has been slow taking off. C'mon along with me for a stroll through our garden. #TexasHomesteader

The heirloom green beans are doing well too.  I’ve planted 3 rows with a few weeks between each row’s planting.  That way I’ll be able to harvest from row one as row two is growing and row 3 is sprouting.  Then when row 1 is done I’m still harvesting from row 3.  It should keep us in green beans longer.  Even with the slow going with the weather this spring, I’m finally seeing little green beans forming.  So I’ll be harvesting from row 1 in no time!


The little watermelon pods that I planted this year were given to me by a sweet friend when her father suddenly passed away.  He was an avid gardener and my friend gifted me all his seeds.  What a precious gift! The watermelons were in little peat pods.  You just pull away the paper top & pop ’em in the ground.  They were a few years old so I didn’t know if they would sprout or not but both did.  Yea!


My tomatoes and peppers were a big, fat bust this year.  None of my pepper seeds sprouted in the ‘indoor greenhouse’ this spring so I planted seeds directly in the garden after the danger of frost had passed.  So far none has even sprouted.  Although I know this weird spring has things behind, it’s already May and I hate to stand by & hope any longer. So I purchased 3 bell pepper plants from our local Farmer’s Market and plopped them into the ground.


I also purchased from a local store a jalapeno plant, an Anaheim Pepper plant and a sweet red pepper called ‘Giant Marconi’.  I’ve never heard of Giant Marconi before but they’re all in the ground!

My corn this year is also gifted to me by my friend.  Her father had tons of Kandy Korn seeds so  I planted several in my 3-Sisters Garden.  I also planted black-eyed pea seeds from her father.  And of course I planted my heirloom pumpkins to round out the 3-Sisters Garden.  All are doing great.


I planted peanuts in another section of the garden and they’re making a modest showing.  But the dry ground means they’re not growing as robustly as they will once I’m irrigating from the cistern.  That irrigation will mean I’ll be able to keep them watered a little more thoroughly and they should take off.


There are also volunteer vines that have sprouted in this area and I’m allowing them to grow as a living mulch for my peanuts.  I’m not sure yet what the volunteer plants are yet.  Based on last year’s plantings they’re either pumpkin, watermelon, spaghetti squash, cucumbers or cantaloupe.  My money’s on cantaloupe, any of you think differently?


The onions have done well, both purchased sets as well as my perennial Egyptian Walking Onions gifted to me several years ago.  And my garlic is going gangbusters so I’m pretty excited about that too.  I’ll be harvesting them soon.  I mulched the onion & garlic beds heavily with leaves my father gifted me.  That leaf mulch is amazing!


My grapevine is going CRAZY, I think it will be a banner Concord Grape year this year!  I typically make my grapes into grape juice for RancherMan but I just may make a little jelly with some of them this year.  Maybe.  We already have so much jelly this year since I’ve already made a double batch each of Sweet Clover Jelly as well as Honeysuckle Jelly.  Some jars will be given as gifts but you can only use so much jelly!  We’ll see how our jelly coffers are looking when the grapes are ripe.

With the cloudy & cooler weather we've had, the garden has been slow taking off. C'mon along with me for a stroll through our garden. #TexasHomesteader

The blackberries are finishing up their berry bearing for the year.  I’ve harvested lots from this little vine and RancherMan loves for me to make Blackberry Cobbler with them.  I’m all too happy to oblige him!  LOL


And one of the most exciting developments this spring is the appearance of tiny apples on my apple tree!  It’s a dwarf tree and it’s struggled mightily with the year-after-year droughts we’ve been dealt.  (We’re already in a drought this year!) There’s  just no way to keep them watered deeply enough when the surrounding ground is so dry it wicks away any water dropped on it.  But it looks like it’s at least attempting to produce for me this year.  I’m so excited about that!


Other things toitering along are the okra plants (every single one of those seeds sprouted!), and yellow squash.  The cilantro is starting to take off and there’s One.  Single. Pea.  Plant.  LOL!  My volunteer tomato is hanging in there and the cantaloupe is (of course) going like gangbusters. So there’s what’s going on in my little garden.  Although it’s struggling to get started I’m pretty excited about the few successes I’ve seen.  And I have no doubt it’ll take off once our weather stabilizes and I’m able to irrigate properly.  How about your garden?  What are you excited to be planting this year?


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9 thoughts on “Vegetable Garden Update: May

  1. Dianna Cloinger

    We have had too much rain in my garden in central Arkansas, 5 inches in one day a couple of weeks ago. Had to replant a few tomatoes and corn but we have had several days of warm sunny days so things are looking much better. I planted Malabar spinach in a huge tub that I filled with compost and potting soil and had to replant it last week and it still hasn’t sprouted up. I read your article about Malabar and it sounded interesting so I wanted to try it. Ordered my seeds from Park Seeds so maybe I just need to give it more time. I like to grow different things besides the usual, and one other thing this year was “peppadew” peppers. The plants are looking good and excited for them to produce. Thanks so much for sharing your info on your garden. Here’s to “happy gardening”.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      My Malabar is just now getting good & going Dianna, so maybe you just need a little more time. I took these photos of the garden earlier in the week in anticipation of this post. It’s amazing the difference today, things are really starting to pop. My 7-ft sunflower is about to bloom, I can’t wait! And we’ve already harvested & enjoyed our first green beans. I think the garden is well on its way to a bountiful harvest. YEA! ~TxH~

  2. Margy

    Your garden is way ahead of mine. I didn’t get to plant until mid-April due to our extended cold weather. The only thing showing any substantial grown is my onions grown from sets. Two of my containers of cucumbers died from something eating them off at the roots. I went so far as to remove all of the soil, wash the pots and buy new potting mix. I sure hope that makes the difference. – Margy

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      It sure has been a strange year for all of us, huh Margy?? But I think my veggie garden is finally about to hit its stride. I may have to replant a couple of things that didn’t sprout for whatever reason but I’ll do that today. Oh, and I found a small tomato plant growing beneath my composter. SCORE! It will be transplanted today to add to this year’s bounty. 🙂 ~TxH~

  3. Shelley

    Your garden looks wonderful! Are you by any chance doing the Back to Eden method? It looks like you put wood chips/mulch all over your garden. Is that what I am seeing? I looked into your archives and only saw info on how you put free wood chips on the paths.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I’m not doing BTE Shelley, the wood chips are only on the pathways of the garden. I noticed that since I took this garden photo a couple of days ago, things are really starting to pop! Yea! We ate our first green beans last night from the garden. Gotta love it! ~TxH~

      1. Shelley

        Oh, ok. The photos really look like you have wood chips/mulch right around the plants. I LOVE green beans from the garden! I’ll have to wait a while for mine though. We are in Wisconsin and I haven’t even planted the seeds yet.


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