Friday, August 24, 2012

Start gardening this Fall! Just do it!

Beautiful curly kale. Beauty and nutrition!
Fall is a great time to start a garden in the Houston area! Some of the best things grow in the fall: broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, carrots… You can start a raised bed garden in any amount of space. Our tiny backyard has eight 4 x 4 gardens and we grow most of the fresh produce we eat as a family there. The benefits of a garden are many! Here are a few:

1. It creates teachable moments for our kids (you could create a teaching unit around the garden including science, history, nutrition, cooking, agriculture, literature… Free one here)

2. Encourages adventurous healthy eating. Kids tend to eat what they plant and care for.

3. Helps us be more self-sufficient. How fun it is to go out back and pick fresh broccoli for supper.

4. Encourages good stewardship of the planet God gave us.

5. Many spiritual applications between gardening and our life in Christ. God speaks when you garden!

6. Makes friends when we share from the excess of our produce.

7. Saves money. It’s fun to pass up the produce aisle at the grocery store.
8. Gets us outside to work and exercise in the fresh air.

We have doubled the size of our winter garden this year. We have two beds (1 and 2) that are too shady in the fall to plant anything in. They mostly contain our herbs that will do just fine through the winter there. Six gardens will be planted with all the fall garden goodies we can fit. We are sprouting broccoli seeds inside and they will be ready to go into the ground in a few weeks. It isn't too late to build a few beds and purchase some good quality plants at your local nursery. We purchase some very good quality plants locally from Nelson Water Garden or Cornelius Nursery. 

Broccoli is a plant that keeps on giving. Once you cut away the main head of broccoli, smaller heads will sprout around where you cut. It will keep giving all winter long. When it starts getting warm, it will be too hot for the plant and it will quit producing.

Cauliflower will not resprout once you cut away the main head. You need to pull the plant once the head is picked.

Cabbage and Kale are just like huge roses growing in the garden. They add beauty but are edible too.

While our Harris County planting schedule does not list it, many gardeners plant tomatoes in the fall. We planted some last fall and they did OK. We are going to give it a try again this fall and see if we do better.

Cabbage growing in the garden last fall

This year we will plant tons more cauliflower

Fall is a great time to plant lettuce

We couldn't get enough fresh broccoli last year

Beautiful head of cauliflower growing in the garden

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