Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Genesis of a Kitchen Garden Part I

Two-and-a-half years ago I moved away from Minneapolis after having lived there my whole life, and landed in Austin TX. I miss a lot of things about Minneapolis; tulips, marmots, and rain among them. But the thing I miss most of all is my kitchen garden. I have had a garden most of my adult life; growing food comes naturally to me, but not here in Texas.

Growing vegetables in Texas is possible, in fact I've read that it's even quite popular, but it's a totally different ball game than growing vegetables in Minnesota. For starters, here in Central Texas we get two short growing seasons separated by the inferno of summer. Where I come from you wouldn't dare plant a tomato before Mother's Day, but here in Texas if they're not in the ground by St. Patrick's Day it's probably already too late. The timing is different, the pests are different, and the soil is different. It was clear to me the first time I visited Austin in early March and saw the nursery marquee advertising "spring vegetables" that I would have a lot to learn if I wanted to garden here in Central Texas.

So while the learning curve is high, and it feels like a whole new world, I do long for a garden and have decided that this, my third Spring here in Texas, is the Spring that I am finally going to plant a kitchen garden.

Armed with a few Texas-specific gardening books, my tools, and a sturdy helper, I have taken on the task of converting a ragged, neglected, and mostly pretty rough piece of turf into a completely organic, raised bed kitchen garden. Clearly, I've got my work cut out for me; there is turf to till, beds to build, soil to be hauled in, and plants to plant. But with some hard work, a little planning, and a truckload of luck I will soon have a kitchen garden once again.

Stay tuned for Part II - The Building of a Kitchen Garden

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