Fall Into Winter Vegetables on Central Texas Gardener

If you have questions about what to grow in the fall and winter garden, then this week’s episode of Central Texas Gardener is perfect for you.  Patty and I were thrilled to be invited to talk about fall gardening on this award winning  PBS (KLRU) television program.

In my opinion Fall is the best time of the year to garden in Texas.  The temperatures are milder and the weeds are not nearly as aggressive.  Plus, you can grow so many great vegetables!  While it is a little late for tomatoes it is the perfect time to plant broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts.  It is also a good time to plant root crops like beets, carrots, turnips, radishes and parsnips.  It is also time to start your salad greens.  Fall and winter are the ONLY time you can grow your lettuce and spinach in Texas. danvers-carrots

I have been a fan of CTG for years.  Growing in Texas is challenging and their experts and guest always have the right answers for the problems I am dealing with in my own garden.  If you are not a regular viewer, or you do not get CTG on your local PBS channel, go to their website (http://www.klru.org/ctg/ ).  Each and every segment they do is available on YouTube on their site or on their YouTube Channel.   texas-lettuce

This was my first time in a television studio and I was a little nervous.  However producer Linda Lehmusvirta and host Tom Spencer (and the Hays County Master gardeners) made the whole experience so much fun.  I would also like to thank all of the people behind the scenes at KLRU for making Patty and I feel  so comfortable in front of your cameras. Heck, I didn’t even get offended when you had to put make up on my bald head to kill the glare!

Many thanks to the whole KLRU, and the Hays County Master Gardeners for a truly wonderful experience!

Many thanks to the whole KLRU crew, and the Hays County Master Gardeners, for a truly wonderful experience!



Austin’s Funky Chicken Coop Tour

Like just about every other middle class American, my wife and I feel like we need some chickens.  I don’t know what is going on with people and chickens right now, but these fluffy egg producers seem to be about the hottest thing going.  Sally and I have talked about getting chickens for a while now.  However, talk is as far as it has gone.  We mentioned our chicken desires to our friend Linda Lemusvirta and she suggested that we attend the Funky Chicken Coop Tour in Austin.  So, two weeks ago, that is exactly what we did.

Andrea Feathers is the artist that designed the incredibly cool logo for the tour. Photo by Sally White

Austin’s Funky Chicken Coop Tour started in 2009.  Over the years it has grown into one of the most successful events of its kind anywhere.  The tour is designed to educate people in the whys and how tos of keeping backyard chickens.  Austin is at the forefront of backyard chicken raising movement.  In fact, it has the second highest number of backyard, urban chickens in the US.  Since there are so many chicken coops in Austin and a whole bunch of people who like things that are a little bit weird, Austin is the perfect place for this event.

My daughter Jessie dressed appropriately for the occasion. Photo by Cameron Bell

The tour started at the Buck Moore Feed Store in central Austin.  There, tour goers picked up their maps, registered for a really sweet grand prize and had the opportunity to visit with a host of vendors that were selling just about everything you could ever imagine related to chickens.  The weather was great and everyone was so friendly.  I almost hate to say this, but I think I had more fun at Buck Moore’s than I did one the rest of the tour.

Sharing a laugh with my friends from the Brazos Valley Poultry Club. Photo by Cameron Bell

The tour consists of several coops scattered all across Austin.  You pay a $10 fee for a map and then you, and as many people as you can squeeze in your car, use that map to drive around and visit with the people that are successfully raising chickens in their backyards.  The coops come in all flavors; large, small, beautiful and humble.  Each of the hosts that we visited with seemed genuinely happy that you and about 1000 other people had come to walk through their yard and admire their birds and coops.

Pactical advice from the folks at Urban Patchwork Neighborhood Farms. These are also the folks that feed their chickens hamburger!

Despite the large number of attendees and limited parking, it was everything it was advertised to be; fun and entertaining (I learned that chickens love raw hamburger.  Who knew?).  I had so much fun that I am certain I will be back again next year.  If you are interested in keeping a few chickens of your own, I suggest you stop “brooding” and “laying” around, get off your “tail” and start checking out the zoning laws in your areas.  Then, mark your calendar for next year’s tour.  The Funky Chicken Coop tour is an “egg-ceptionally” good time for you and your whole “brood”!

(Sorry for the bad chicken jokes but I couldn’t resist)!

MOH on Central Texas Gardener

Yesterday was a banner day for MOH.  About 10:00 a.m. yesterday morning, Linda Lehmusvirta and a film crew from Central Texas Gardener showed up to film my little potager.  This was very exciting for me and I enjoyed it thoroughly.  The only downside is it will take a while before my little garden makes its television debut.  Turns out television programs take an awful lot of prep and it will take a bit of work to get the final product edited and ready to view.

Linda and I doing the interview

 Over the past three months I have worked tirelessly growing the plants and improving the potager so that it will look awesome on TV.  Because of this, things have never looked better at my house.  There really is nothing like a big dead line to motivate you to get all of those honey do’s finished that have been put off for too long. 

My wife and I with Linda Lehmusvirta from Central Texas Gardener

The focus of the interview was growing the Texas fall garden.  I was asked to describe what I most commonly grew and how I grew it.  Since I grow organically in raised beds we spent quite a bit of time talking about soil and bed prep.  We also discussed the benefits of the paved walk paths.  I am not sure how long the interview lasted but I think I babbled on for about 30 minutes.  The interview will mostly likely be edited to about 3 or 4 minutes of dialog so it will be interesting to see what I actually said!

A pic of the lettuce, shallots and cauliflower that is growing in the triangular beds of the potager.

 I would like to say a special thanks to Linda Lehmusvirta of CTG for taking time to do this.  She was great and the film crew was awesome!  The whole experience was so much fun and Sally and I greatly enjoyed making new friends.