So our new house has a massive back yard which has more than enough room to grow a garden. The previous owners had attempted such in the back corner by tilling up a 12 x 12 area of dirt and putting down black plastic to grow something.
I know they attempted cow peas and some tiny peppers because that’s all that was left, burned to a crisp when we bought the place. I’m not sure the planted items ever made it up out of the plastic because the holes are there but just dirt sits below it. Who knows. Even with watering and such it was past salvaging.
We do plan on using that spot to build a canopy with raised beds to grow staples like potatoes, onions, and carrots. Cody ordered the canopy/greenhouse this week and now I’m off to source dirt for the beds. I joined a local Facebook gardening group to get a better idea of when to plant and what lives out here.
Many folks will assume that because Texas is depicted as a stretch of road between Lubbock and El Paso in films that we are some arid desert full of snakes. We are in fact in a humid forrest surrounded by pine trees, creeks, and red clay dirt filled with snakes. Eons ago this area was a sea bed and our back yard has a mix of soft dirt and sand.
Back in Austin you can’t dig 3 inches into the ground without heavy machinery because it’s black clay on top of limestone. Here I can dig a pit by hand until I hit water. It is far easier to plant things around here for sure.
What grows in sandy soil? Sweet potatoes, peas, watermelon, onions, and apparently barley can just be chucked out into the yard and it will thrive. But we have dogs and they will dig up and eat any plants I attempt to put on the ground itself so raised beds it is! Plus we can control soil content and temperature much easier.
I bought some seeds today to get things started. For the potatoes and onions I’ll just get some organic ones from the fancy grocery store and slice them up when ready to plant, but for tomatoes and peppers I wanted proper seeds.
Here are the seeds I ordered so far:
- Takane Ruby Buckwheat
- Rose Red Soba Buckwheat
- Purple Hull Pinkeye Peas
- Sweet Bonnet Peppers
- Poblano Pepper
- Jalapeño Peppers
- Beefsteak Tomatoes
The peas I’m not worried about at all, we have some trellises for them. The peppers should do well in the raised beds and I’m curious what a non-stupid hot scotch bonnet tastes like. I like the flavor of peppers for about 3-4 seconds before I can’t taste anything at all anymore.
Poblanos are my favorite and between all those I hope to make some decent hot sauce. I’ll pick up some roma tomato seeds at the store when I get the carrot and parsley and cilantro seeds but these were all ordered from an heirloom supplier.
Now you might be wondering what’s up with the buckwheat. Unlike normal wheat which is a grass/grain buckwheat is more of a seed/berry that grows on a proper flowering plant. The ones I ordered have pink flowers and if I don’t manage to harvest any of the berries they will at least look nice in the yard and smother the weeds. They also, once mowed down, release lots of phosphorus to the dirt which helps if I want to grow something else in a pot or area of the yard.
The plan for those is to plant some along our back fence and a few in some pots in the front garden. Will see how that goes. I do need to clear out more of the dead plants that didn’t survive the freeze this winter. When I mowed the front yard this weekend I was able to simply pull out several dead bushes from our north facing side lot. Some things are still trying to sprout so I’ll give them a few more weeks but anything still bare after Easter is going on the burn pile.
Will update as things arrive. If you’ve ever planted stuff in raised beds let me know if you worked out any tips or tricks on filling them.