I set up my raised bed last week and have started planting fall/winter veggies from seed. Last year, I purchased a 4×4 burlap raised bed and grew spinach, broccoli, onions, mustards, salad greens and some tri-colored creamer potatoes that I had purchased at HEB.
NOTE: For those of you who might live in an apartment or who might think you don’t have much room for a raised bed, the one I purchased comes in following sizes: 2’x4′, 3’x6′, 4’x4′ and 4’x8′. It’s also portable. I did NOT purchase the “trellis or irrigation kit” they sell with it. The raised bed comes with the four connectors, but you’ll need to purchase 1″ pvc pipe to fit the corners. I also just made myself a trellis using more pvc piping and connectors (which doubles also shade cloth) and my 4 55 gallon rain barrels for watering.
All the veggies grew well except for the spinach – it never grew any bigger than maybe 2″ in height and produced just a few leaves. Nevertheless, I was extremely proud of my little raised bed garden as it was the first time I had ever attempted to do so. Then the Great Texas Freeze of 2021 happened. Right before the weather was due to come in, I went into the backyard and using row cover hoops and some garden fleece, I watered the raised bed, put up the hoops and wrapped the entire bed with 3 layers of fleece.
As soon as I was able to get down my back stairs safely, I walked over to the bed, pulled back the fleece and YAAAY! ALL the veggies were in perfect condition – no cold/frost/freeze damage. Being a country girl, I commenced to cutting the mustards and broccoli, pulled some onions and potatoes, grabbed my frozen chicken backs (saved from the whole fryers I buy) and my 8qt stock pot. Made enough fresh chicken soup for myself, my daughter, my elderly neighbor across the street and the young couple who lives next door with their 4yr old son.
This truly saved us during that week of freakishly cold weather. I remember some of my other neighbors saying there was no food on the shelves at the HEB right by my house. If I’ve learned nothing during the past year of Covid, interrupted supply chains and Mother Nature doing her best to kill us with hurricanes, freezes, floods and fire – I’ve learned that growing your own food might literally save your life.
Many of you might read that last line and laugh as many of you are already “old hats” at gardening in South Texas. Coming from Mississippi, I’ve had to adjust to different planting times, weather conditions and even plants, so I’m experimenting with things as I go. I have NOT been able to grow a single tomato since I moved to Texas because where I come from, the planting time/weather conditions are so vastly different, that I’m never able to time the planting correctly. But I persevere.
I am not trying my hand at square foot gardening and just set out some seeds yesterday. I will update in a week on how it’s going.
But for those folks who might happen to stumble across our website or those I’ve been sending to the site to learn about the classes, events and resources, or just for those folks who’ve never tried growing their own veg – this article is for them. You might also learn something new for yourself if an “Old Hat”..I’m introducing two new veggies into my garden this fall – kohlrabi and soybeans- my daughter and I love to eat Edamame. Edamame is a preparation of immature soybeans in the pod, found in cuisines with origins in East Asia. The pods are boiled or steamed and may be served with salt or other condiments. In Japan, they are usually blanched in 4% salt water and not served with salt. And they are chocked full of almost every nutrient/protein/vitamin a person could want or need!
Digging around in the Agrilife database, I’ve come across a great little handout on fall/winter gardening along with a soil prep document (for those newbies wanting to get their hands dirty) so I’m posting the link to the pdf documents for any and all who have an interest.
I hope you enjoyed this article.
PS: If you know someone who might be interested in these documents but needs them in Spanish – shoot me an email and I’ll gladly forward you a copy!