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Garden Planning Time

By Lara DeHaven

If you have been in Southeast Texas for the last few days, then you would have thought that it was springtime.  It is January even though it feels like March this week.  I am sure that the weather will change soon and that it get cold again.  Texans say that “If you don’t like the weather, wait 15 minutes.”  As the saying illustrates, our weather is unpredictable.

These last few days have given me a taste of springtime, which made me start thinking about my spring garden.  Some people around here begin planting in mid-February.  However, most years I plant during mid-March.  Waiting allows me to not lose anything from a last minute freeze.  The ground is also warm.

Regardless of when you plant, the most important thing to do is to keep your eye on the weather.  I made the mistake in the fall of not making a point to watch the forecast.  Now I know that meteorologists are not known for their accuracy day-to-day.  However they are really good at letting you know when a cold front is coming or a big storm is approaching.  Because of my mistake, a cold front killed my fall garden.  The only survivors were my onions.  We are still enjoying them, but my lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, etc all were burnt by the freeze and did not make it.

So this spring we are really wanting to raise some cabbage.  You can still get cabbage around here if you plant in February.  Therefore, my game plan for gardening has changed slightly.  I plan to plant cabbage mid-February as long as the weather permits.  I will watch the weather closely so that I can take preventative measures if a cold front rolls in.  Then in mid-March, I plan to plant my other vegetables as usual.

A great online resource for finding what grows well in your zone is at Mother Earth News.  It not only tells you what to plant, but when to plant.  Another helpful resource is The Old Farmer’s Almanac.  You also choose your zone and can get a free 2 month weather forecast, which might be helpful when deciding when to plant.

Another cold front is inevitable.  It is just a matter of when.  However, I have time to plan out my garden.  I can decide what I am going to plant, how to plant it, and sketch out my garden plot.  When we are huddled beside the fire again and the wind is howling outside, I will be thinking and planning my garden in the warmth of my house.  Wintertime is garden planning time.

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9 Responses to “Garden Planning Time”

  1. Tammy

    Enjoyed your post (via Homestead carnival thc).

    ‘Tis the season when the plans keep us hopeful … spring is coming, eventually. Or at least I think it is. HA !

    We were busy planning, then seed starting, and now seedling growing along with more planning … won’t be long now.


  2. Have you ever read the book “Four Season Harvest” by Eliot Coleman? I have not finished it yet, but it is well written, an easy reader, and very informative. He lives in Maine, but because of his carefully planned planting practices, he harvests crops year round.

    I live in East Texas, and I have up some small ‘hoop houses’ over my crops in my raised beds and they are doing GREAT. Seems with the cold tolerant plants, as long as you keep them covered on those bitterly cold nights (we had record lows last month, you know), the plants still manange. I didn’t lose any of my cabbage or my broccoli to the cold. Just a thought :0)

  3. Lara DeHaven

    Great advice. I have not read the book, but will look for it. Thank you, Lara

  4. Adrienne

    Thanks for the sites Lara! My broccoli florets are the size of mushrooms due to the rain(?) They make pretty kitchen window flowers, though!

  5. Wouldn’t Planterville (or there abouts) be EAST Texas, and not Southeast Texas?

    Southeast Texas is the Beaumont/Port Arthur/Orange area (includes about 28 cities/communities in the vicinity).

    Just curious how you came about with the Southeast Texas location.

    Great site by the way. What you and your family do is hard, hard work, but the rewards are more than most people can ever imagine.

    Thanks, and have a GREAT DAY!

    James DuHamel

  6. Lara DeHaven

    There are many different phrases to describe where I live. The Brazos Valley, Gulf Coast Region, etc. Southeast Texas is one of them. If you look at the map of Texas on Wikipedia, you will notice that Grimes county is included in the striped area of Southeast Texas. The cities that you name are unarguably Southeast Texas. They are also called the Golden Triangle. Technically, Grimes county is where the East Texas Piney Woods hits the rolling hills of Central Texas. We have a mix of pine trees and hard wood oaks. I chose to use the term Southeast Texas because when someone looks at a map of Texas, it is easy to find the region.
    I hope that my explanation is clear. Thank you for your question and your kind words.

  7. Dianna

    Hi, I am new to your site. I loved your article, and am interested in doing all of this . I know we are in our 50’s, but a good time to start. We live on three acres, we have a double wide, my son a single wide, and my inlaws a double wide. We are each trying to start a garden, planning on raising a couple of hogs, and have chickens. That’s a good start right??? I don’t know how to do most of these things, except the garden. I am an amateur at best, but am gonna give it a shot. I love your attitude about the children learning the value of hard work. I also want to bring this to my grandchildren. The values today that we once had are not there, and this bothers me. I hope someday we will be self sufficient. All the tips are greatly appreciated.

  8. Lara DeHaven

    Thank you for your comment. It sounds like you are off to a good start and have a lot of help. You have selected things that are great for beginners. If you know how to garden, you are ahead of the game. Gardening is the most time consuming venture you are taking on. I absolutely love my chickens. I loved feeding my table scraps to the hogs. They were great disposals. I admire your attitude. Give it your best shot.

  9. Much gratitude for this article. I am a huge fan of just about anything garden/gardening related and appriciate many of the stuff I will uncover about them. Garden On!


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