Not sure if you were able to enjoy some of our beautiful Central Texas weather this weekend, but after wrapping up a weeks’ worth of events, I had the chance to spend some time at home finishing up some spring planting. I do like to plant earlier than suggested and I try to at least get my tomatoes in the ground before the end of February. This ensures that I will be able to have a good basket of vine ripened tomatoes before the heat and critters have a chance to harvest them. For this year’s spring crop I also planted bell peppers, jalapenos, Anaheim peppers, carrots, radishes, kohl rabi, onions and of course some hearty lettuce. Green leaf and red leaf lettuces are great varieties for the novice gardener because they are strong, hearty, and I haven’t seen anything that they can’t survive. Just make sure and stay away from the more delicate greens such as spinach, frissee, and endive. Those delicates are much more difficult to keep healthy. It’s not too late to get some seeds in the ground, so if you have the space and sunlight, it’s worth giving it a try. Nothing tastes better than vegetables straight out of the garden. Although not everyone has a green thumb, the space, or can even imagine getting their hands covered in dirt, there are some simple plants and herbs that anyone, especially kids, can grow and use in their daily dinner preparations. Herbs are great for several reasons; one being that you don’t need to start them from seeds. Just visit your local garden center and pick up a couple to take home. A well rounded herb collection that I love includes cilantro, parsley, basil, thyme, oregano and rosemary. Cooking with fresh herbs adds such great dimensions to your dishes and the more leaves you pull off, the better your herbs will grow. Herbs do well indoors and out and don’t need to be directly in the ground; there’s no excuse why anyone couldn’t have fresh herbs year round. If you are interested in learning more about vegetable gardening in Texas I suggest the book, “The Vegetable Book, a Texan’s Guide to Gardening” by Dr. Sam Cotner, previously of Texas A&M University. Dr. Cotner’s book is loaded with information and advice on growing right here in our region. Happy Gardening!
– Lexie A.