Veggie Garden Update: April Weather Challenge

by Texas Homesteader ~ 

I’ve always heard in our area of NE Texas (planting zone 8) that you don’t dare plant until after Easter because a rogue frost can still swing through & kill your tender plants. Oh my goodness it was so hard for me to wait! So to pacify my need to garden I planted up my Indoor Greenhouse weeks ago. As I watched those tiny seedlings sprout I just got more excited.

Then I sat back & waited (im)patiently for Easter. Then the big day arrived, FINALLY I was able to plant – woo-hoo! Here is my April veggie garden update:

I waited (im)patiently for Easter so I could finally plant. The weather has been a challenge. Here is my April veggie garden update! #TexasHomesteader

It had been a long winter and as it approached planting day it was dreary, cloudy & rainy for weeks, but even then I was planning from inside. I have a cheater um, easy way to plan what I’m going to plant and where using a Garden-Planning Spreadsheet I made up years ago.

Planning my veggie garden. I waited (im)patiently for Easter so I could finally plant. The weather has been a challenge. Here is my April veggie garden update! #TexasHomesteader

Using this information I can see what I planted last year for proper rotation, reference companion planting info for veggies I typically plant and see what crops did well & which ones performed poorly in prior years.

Several days before I was ready to plant I brought out the tender seedlings from my indoor greenhouse and started slowly hardening them off to prepare them for their life outside.

I always have such a hard time with this step – seedlings often die immediately after being planted! C’mon, someone please tell me what I’m doing wrong. Do I need to sing to them? Tell them funny stories? Do a little tap dance?

Raised Bed Experiment

In previous years I had my garden planted in raised beds made of a wooden frame around my planting areas. But Bermuda grass always grew beneath the boards and invaded my garden every year. So we ripped up the frames and started planting in rows instead.

But I’m not getting any younger, ya know! So I’m experimenting with REALLY raised beds this year. I placed a galvanized trough in one of the planting rows and put EcoBricks in the bottom for drainage.

EcoBricks in the garden. I waited (im)patiently for Easter so I could finally plant. The weather has been a challenge. Here is my April veggie garden update! #TexasHomesteader

Then I laid down branches on top of the ecobricks. We have access to Free Wood Chips so I  filled 2/3 of the trough with them. Buying that much soil would have been financially painful, y’all!

Finally I filled the top 3rd with soil, compost and aged manure. I planted it in green beans, square-foot-garden style.

But even though those wood chips are way beneath the planting soil, they may still be stealing nitrogen. My little green bean plants aren’t vigorously growing and are puny & yellow.

But I figured this first year would probably not yield great. I’ll get it to grow as well as I can this year, but I feel next year will be a better growing year for my trough as the soil stabilizes.

Challenging Weather Conditions

The weather hasn’t cooperated at all. It’s been cooler and cloudier than normal so far this spring. At first we got lots of rain, but lately it’s mostly just drizzle and more importantly – the absence of sun and warmth. The garden seedlings I planted in the garden struggled and one by one they succumbed

So earlier this month I replanted everything – seeds directly into the garden soil. Yes I have to start from scratch, but I have to have a garden. I just have to! I placed sticks next to each seed I planted so I’ll be able to watch for and protect the seedlings as they emerge.

Using a stick to mark seed planting location. I waited (im)patiently for Easter so I could finally plant. The weather has been a challenge. Here is my April veggie garden update! #TexasHomesteader

So now I’m still waiting for enough warmth & sunshine to bring those seeds out of hiding. I hope to have a much better garden update for y’all next month. But at least there’s still a few nice things to look at.

Everbearing Strawberries

I planted Everbearing Strawberries in a galvanized tub and mulched it with straw. At first they didn’t produce much, and the strawberries they did produce were small. But they overwintered just fine and greened up again this spring.

Everbearing strawberries planted in a galvanized trough. Using a stick to mark seed planting location. I waited (im)patiently for Easter so I could finally plant. The weather has been a challenge. Here is my April veggie garden update! #TexasHomesteader

So far this spring they’ve produced very well. I’ve delighted in picking fresh strawberries for us to enjoy. And DANG they’re so sweet! Much sweeter and more flavorful than what you buy in the store.

They’re still producing abundantly and I’m picking a bowl full of them every day. I know they’ll slow production when it heats up, but in the meantime… YUM!

Regular & Elephant Garlic

My garlic is typically planted around October. I’ll mulch them heavily & they’ll do just fine all winter. Then I’ll harvest when about a 3rd of leaves start turning which is in June or so though it varies with the weather. I’ll allow the garlic bulbs to cure for a month or so on the covered back porch. Then I’ll take the largest bulbs and set them back for replanting in October.

Since I planted garlic several weeks ago they’re chugging along just great.  Especially nice since we eat lots of garlic, it’s a healthy way to jazz up the taste of food. For the first time (maybe EVER) I’ve completely run out of garlic to cook with. So I’m doubly anxious for my garlic to be ready to harvest!

Egyptian Walking Onions

The onions in my garden are Egyptian Walking Onions and they’re doing great. In the fall I often divide them up, replant them and then mulch them heavily with fallen leaves. Then they just do their own thing. I haven’t bought onion starts in years!

The walking onions send up a flower stalk just like regular onions. But at the end of that bloom stalk tiny bulbules grow.

Egyptian walking onions. I waited (im)patiently for Easter so I could finally plant. The weather has been a challenge. Here is my April veggie garden update! #TexasHomesteader

As they grow larger they weigh down the stalk until it touches the soil. The bulbules root in that spot and BOOM! Walking onions!

These onions are much smaller than regular slicing onions, but they’re more intensely flavored too. I use them in much of my cooking.

Concord Grapevine

I have a Concord grapevine planted along one fence line in  my garden. It always grows wonderfully! And the grapevine gives me my first ray of garden hope each year as it leafs out and blooms early in the season. Already tiny clusters of grapes are forming all along this grapevine.

Concord grapevine. I waited (im)patiently for Easter so I could finally plant. The weather has been a challenge. Here is my April veggie garden update! #TexasHomesteader

Other than that there’s not too much to show yet – I’ve planted lots of seeds and I’m just waiting for them to grow. I’ve planted heirloom tomatoes, summer squash, zucchini, bell peppers, watermelon, pickling cucumbers, luffa, cantaloupe, green beans, carrots, spinach, sage, oregano & thyme. (chants softly: go, Go, GO!!)

So there ya go, a quick tour of my April veggie garden.  Well, as much of a tour as I can do this early in the game anyway. I promise next month’s garden update will be flowing with goodness!

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

~TxH~

My Favorite Garden Hacks

My favorite gardening hacks all in one place. #TexasHomesteader

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!

Spread the love

4 thoughts on “Veggie Garden Update: April Weather Challenge

  1. Ellen C.

    I’m in Eastern Washington zone 6 and should wait until the end of May to plant as I got hit by frost last year after planting some tomato plants late April but it is too hard to wait. I planted seeds for cucumber, squash and bush beans in my lasagna garden bed. I’ve got snow peas sprouting in a planter in my courtyard. Also some basil direct seeded. I’m planning on a sister’s garden for later in May. I’m also getting ready to plant potatoes as per your directions because it worked so good last year. I’ve got baby tomato and bell pepper plants started in my basement under lights. Something is going grow – that’s for sure!

    Reply
  2. Kathleen

    I’m curious. You mention planting your garlic several weeks ago. You plant it in the spring time, rather than in fall? I’ve always done it in the fall but have wondered about spring time planting. We live a little south of you, in Collin County.

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      No, when I say several weeks ago, I mean SEVERAL weeks ago – I should probably clarify that in this post Kathleen. Thanks for pointing that out. My garlic is typically planted around October. I’ll harvest when the bottom 3rd of leaves start turning (in June or so) and allow the garlic bulbs to air for a month or so on the covered back porch. Then I’ll take the largest bulbs and set them back for replanting in October. The others are bundled and hung in my pantry, or if I have lots I’ll peel several and toss them in a container in my freezer. We eat lots of garlic! ~TxH~

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* Please enter the Biggest Number

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