North Texas weather is, in a word, unpredictable. We have experienced snowstorms, heat waves, torrential rains, and everything in between just this year alone! Through all this you can still cultivate a delicious garden of seasonal vegetables in your own backyard. Many vegetables require planting indoors and once they have matured they get transplanted outdoors. However, there are many vegetables that you can plant directly into your outdoor garden.All of the following plants will start out as seeds that can be purchased at your local garden center.
Start Indoors, Then Move ’em Out!
In harsh weather, many plants will need some time to sow in a more pleasant climate than in blistering winter winds. The ideal location for certain plants is indoors in a pot. To get set up, you will need some basic pots – the cheap terra cotta ones work great. Use potting soil with added nutrients and if you have compost handy that will help the seeds grow even faster. Prepare your pots by filling them with a potting soil/compost mix and adding water. Then, place the seeds into the dirt according to the directions on each package of seeds. Each kind of vegetable will need to be placed into the soil at different depths and given a certain amount of space between seeds.
The best vegetables to grow indoors are: asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, kale, leeks, bulb onion, and rhubarb. Cabbage will eventually take up a lot of space in your garden so planting one or two seeds are plenty. One pot can hold many bulb onions and leeks.
Once you have planted your seeds into your pots be sure to put them in a part of your house that gets adequate sunlight. These plants will bask in the warmth of the indoors but will also need the nutrients from the sun. Proper watering is required but be sure you don’t over-water the plants. They need to be damp but don’t drown your seeds or they will never grow.
After a few weeks seedlings will sprout up through the dirt. Once this occurs continue to give your seedlings water and sunlight for another couple of weeks before moving them. It is important to let your baby plants get used to the cruel wintertime weather by putting them outside in their pots. Keep tending to them and, if they survive for another week, you can safely transplant the seedlings into the garden. Use the soil mix that they’ve been growing in for weeks. Place the pot they started in over the seedling to protect them until the roots successfully take hold.
Like the Outdoorsy Types?
Is transplanting too much work? Try planting them directly into your garden! Cultivate your garden just like you do in the spring and summer – till the soil and add compost and nutrient-rich soil. Water the dirt but not too much or it will freeze. If you use compost it should be hot and the seeds will thrive in it.
The best vegetables for outdoor sowing are: arugula, lettuce, collards, spinach, beets, turnips, radishes, carrots, and potatoes.
Just like gardening in pots, you must give your seeds some space to grow. Follow the instructions for each vegetable’s space requirements. Once you have planted the seeds tend to them with light watering, place a small pot over each plant for shelter for a few days and in a few weeks you will have seedlings.
These seedlings will continue to grow and in a couple of months they will give you delicious, fresh, and all-natural vegetables straight from your backyard. Put your vegetables into soups, stews, and your favorite wintertime dishes.
Lauren Actkinson-Carlton is a writer living with her husband and toddler in Little Elm, TX. Her creative writing and daily thoughts can be found at laurenacarlton.com. She is also on Twitter: @laurenacarlton.