There is always something to do in the Texas garden – even in the winter. Granted, winter does kind of reduce the number of tasks, but our mild winter ensures that we can be outside tending or growing something every single month of the year. While there are several tasks in winter that can help us get our gardening fix, winter gardening does have its challenges. It seems like every time I need to weed or plant or harvest it is either raining or miserably cold. Sunday was a perfect example of this. Despite the cold and the standing water in my rows, nature had decided to provide me with a bountiful brassica harvest; as long as I was man enough to brave the elements and harvest it.
I am proud to say, I sucked it up and was richly rewarded for my efforts. Once I got in the garden and started cutting my cole crops I didn’t even notice the cold. Before long I had harvested six pounds of broccoli, some gumbo onions, a bunch of baby carrots and a three pound head of cauliflower. I don’t know about you but nothing gets my garden juices flowing more than a good harvest. As I worked I actually forgot about the cold and enjoyed myself in my muddy little garden. When I brought the veggies in I was reminded again why I love gardening in Texas. I really can enjoy healthy, organic produce year round.
While I was in the garden I also noticed lots of broad leaf weeds that were doing about as well as the broccoli. So, while I was out I took the hoe to them. Hoeing is not nearly as much work on a 40 degree day. Because it was such a “pleasant afternoon” I actually enjoyed chopping through all of the dandelions and thistles that were popping up.
Luckily, not all winter gardening chores have to be done outside. It is currently time to do what I consider the most important gardening task of the entire year —STARTING YOUR TOMATO TRANSPLANTS!!! If you live in zone 9 you need to get your seeds started by January 15 to ensure you have big, healthy transplants on March 15. My friend, and MOH contributor, Patty Leander has a great article in this month’s Texas Gardener magazine on growing your own tomatoes from seed. If you don’t subscribe I really recommend picking up this issue. Her article is awesome.