Texas Ups and Downs

Reader Contribution by Amanda Stoffels
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Weather in Texas has a reputation of changing very rapidly but this year it seems to have been extreme even for Texas. I think that I have felt the weather changes more severely due to the major desire for spring planting. This will be my third spring to garden. With this being said, I have gotten the worse case of spring fever I can ever remember.  As soon as I have planned out a project on the farm or in the back yard, weather has reared its ugly head and put a hold on it. 

Project #1:  Cabin

As written about in “X Marks the Spot,” we have been gathering supplies for our cabin made out of as much recycled material we can get our hands on. We have been successful in gathering a few trailer loads of lumber. Since the groundhog saw his shadow and we got six more weeks of cold winter weather, we are still waiting on the ground to thaw. This leads us to our first building project on the farm. Can you guess what we are building?

An outhouse is a true essential to the comfort of a future cabin with no running water on the farm. We hope to finish this up this next weekend.  

Project #2: Plant Cold Weather Plants

Last year I planted my leafy plants like lettuce and broccoli too late and only had a small window of harvest. This year I wanted to make sure that I planted in plenty of time for great kale, lettuce and broccoli in the garden. So I planted two of everything – romaine lettuce, kale, swish chard, and red lettuce – on March 1. I was so excited. I knew that a cold front was scheduled to come in late on Sunday so I planned to cover my plants that afternoon. The next morning was cloudy as we headed off to church and to my dismay the freezing temps and sleet hit before I could get home.The plants looked dead by Monday on our day off from school due to the icy roads. When I told a friend, who is a master gardener, what I had done, she said in shock, “Why on earth would you plant so early with the weather we are having?” “Because I just HAD to be outside in the dirt,” I thought. But I am happy to say that I accidentally planted the lettuce a little too deep and so it will prevail through the sleet and freezing rain!!

Project #3: Haul dirt 

I have been working on creating more raised beds in the back yard but I haven’t mastered the ability to make high volume of compost so I needed to buy a trailer full of composted manure. Most of my friends here in the metroplex would ask, “Why are you SO excited about moving dirt?” Yet this is exactly how I feel, EXCITED. More dirt means more garden space which means more plants, different foods to try, and awesome times in the garden.

It seems that I have encouraged my daughter down the same path as well. She found a way to haul her own dirt to the backyard to have her OWN container garden where she can plant whatever she likes. 

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