I am borderline maniacal about starting my spring garden as early as possible. I’m typically standing at my backdoor, tomato seedlings in hand, waiting on that magical last frost date of mid-February.
And because I’m a native Texan, I know that what “last frost date” really means is that we’ll get two near-hard freezes over the next 4 weeks – one guaranteed during spring break because Mother Nature is a punk – and then stuff like this happens.
Yet I have never let that stop me from planting “too early.” My timehop over the last two weeks has been sad-funny: pictures of frost-bitten baby peaches, wilted tomato plants, and freeze-damaged citrus leaves.
This year, however, I’ve just been too caught up with family stuff to get things in the ground. Which is why 10 days ago, my spring “garden” still looked like this. (I’ll spare you the gratuitous shot of foot-tall weeds in the neglected beds.)
(I’ll also spare you the f-bomb laden retelling of finding out that one of the beds was basically a 32 square-foot fire ant bed. But there were fire ants. And there were many, many f-bombs.)
But now the beds are neat and half-filled and fire ant-free, the citrus trees are beaming with new life, and the white peach tree that supplies my timehop with an endless supply of disappointment? It is going strong.
[knocks on wood] [crosses fingers] [throws salt at a black cat standing on a broken mirror under a ladder] [shakes booty] If that doesn’t get me white peaches this year, nothing will!
In the upcoming weeks, I’ll show you how we built the garden boxes last spring, the layout of our backyard (it might sound big from the citrus tree list, but it’s just your standard size suburban plot), composting, staking tomatoes, and anything else I can think of that looks helpful.
I’ve mentioned it before, but if you’re looking for a good gardening reference or just a starting point to get you moving in the right direction, I highly recommend flipping through The Square Food Garden Method.
Here’s a quick rundown of what’s in the ground right now:
Bed #1 (8×4)
2 cucumber (I’m gonna hate myself for this)
1 butternut squash
32 Texas 1015 onions
1 Super Sweet 100 Tomato
1 Big Beef Tomato
1 Tami G Tomato
1 BHN 602 Tomato
1 Mariglobe Tomato
Space for kale and spinach seedlings (gonna hate myself for these, too)
Bed #2 (8×4)
24 green beans
1 Juliet tomato (these are my favorite non-San Marzano tomatoes in the whole wide world)
1 Red Bell Pepper
1 “Extra crazy hot” (we’ll see) Jalapeno
1 Better Bush Tomato
Sage (last year’s plant, hacked waaaay back)
Space for 4 San Marzano and 4 Beefsteak tomatoes
~5 empty squares
I started San Marzano and Beefsteak tomato seedlings a few weeks back but they’ll go into the ground with my summer plantings, mid- to late May.
Citrus & Fruit
Rio Star Grapefruit – new this year, replaces the rockstar tree that my former lawn guys killed
Lime – new this year, replaces the one my former lawn guys killed (we now no longer have lawn guys)
Blood orange – planted 2 years ago
Orange – planted last year
Key Lime – planted a few years back but it is on life support.
Pomegranate – Maybe this is the year we get an actual pomegranate!
Dwarf Pink Lemon – ~6 years old, back from the brink of death
Celeste Fig – Planted 3 years ago, total rockstar
Tangerine – new, still in 3-gallon pot. Mistakenly grabbed it instead of a lemon. Oops.
Pot o’ Basil
Pot o’ Rainbow Carrots (Landry loves growing carrots)
Pot o’ Milkweed for the Monarchs
Pot o’ Mint because that $#%& never dies