Friday, April 6, 2012

Green Texas: From the Ground Up

We've decided to try our hands at growing our own food. We semi-successfully grew tomatoes once spring/summer back in Michigan, but this is our first attempt here in Texas, where you plant during the winter because the threat of frost blows out the window by March 1st.

The soil here is primarily clay, which isn't conducive to growing vegetables (or much else, for that matter), so we decided to start our seeds indoors in pots and then transfer them into a raised bed filled with soil from Lowes once the weather was sufficiently warm.

The first step was to build the bed. I'm pretty proud of how well it turned out, considering neither Tom nor I consider ourselves builders and we had little "helpers" swirling around us most of the time we were wielding hammers.

Watching Daddy first...
...and then giving it a try himself.
Upside down in the work area.
Finished and in its permanent home.
I loved watching Will watch Tom measure boards and hammer nails.  It reminded me of the time  Tom replaced our garbage disposal and one-year-old Will insisted on sitting in Tom's lap the entire time he worked.

A couple of weeks later we planted the seeds in pots. This step in the process involved attention to detail and precision, making it perfect for Hallie. This step in the process did NOT involve wielding tools that slightly resemble and could, when parents aren't looking, be used as swords, which is why Will was no where to be found.

Sorting the packaged seeds by color.  There were no
pink seed packages, which almost led Hallie to
abandon the planting project all together.
Watching Daddy first...
...and then giving it a try herself.
We kept the pots on a shelf in the playroom where we thought they'd receive the best sunlight throughout the day. It is an absolute miracle that all four pots survived until transplant time, considering the fact that they were, again, on a shelf IN THE PLAYROOM.

When it was time to transplant our seeds to the bed, Tom asked Will and Hallie to create labels for the different vegetables so that we'd know which vegetable was which. Here's what they came up with:
"Onion" (by Will)
"Lettuce" (by Will)
"Pepper" (by Will)
"Bonado" (that's "tomato", by Hallie)

Thus far our tomato (or bonado) plants are doing really well. The onion, pepper, and lettuce plants look like they'll survive, but whether or not they'll produce edible vegetables remains to be seen. The original goal was to grow the vegetables needed to make our own salsa (while Tom hardly ever cooks and NEVER bakes, he makes AMAZING salsa), so if that actually happens we promise to share. And if it doesn't happen, the process has been a great one to share with each other and our kids.

Any tips on growing vegetables in Texas?
Please share in the comments section!

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