April Vegetable Garden Update

by Tammy Taylor~

WHEW!  April is traditionally a busy gardening month anyway but since RancherMan & I changed up our whole garden area this year it’s really busy at the Taylor Household!  As you know, the tenacious Bermuda grass was creating way much more weeding work than necessary by growing underneath the boards of our raised beds where they were neigh impossible to dig out.  RancherMan always says “Work Smarter, Not Harder” so last fall we ripped out the raised beds, split the garden almost in half (now sharing with the chicken run) and started over.  It’s making for lots of work for us, but the efficiency of this layout should give us close to the same production with a fraction of the daily maintenance required and hopefully, finally, allow me to win the battle against Bermuda grass!

Planting zone 8 I had to purchase some veggie plants this year but was still able to plant some heirloom seeds directly into the garden #TaylorMadeHomestead

After RancherMan tilled several times & I raked as many of the grass runners as I could, we started preparing for our vegetable garden.  We found an avenue to obtain as much Free Wood Mulch as we wanted so I first lined the perimeter of the garden with leftover empty paper feed sacks and topped the paper with bark mulch to both make it look nice as well as give me a walking surface.  My hope is that this combination will keep grass runners encroaching from the exterior of the garden at least manageable.  (fingers crossed!)  Time will tell…

Planting zone 8 I had to purchase some veggie plants this year but was still able to plant some heirloom seeds directly into the garden #TaylorMadeHomestead

Then we lined the walkways between my planting rows with the same flattened paper sacks and bark mulch and then I got to planting. Even though we cut the garden area almost in half, my planting spaces are now much more efficiently laid out with a lot less wasted space so I should be able to roughly harvest the same amount of produce with this smaller area.  Less weeding, less maintenance and the same veggie harvest?  YES PLEASE!

Planting zone 8 I had to purchase some veggie plants this year but was still able to plant some heirloom seeds directly into the garden #TaylorMadeHomestead

Here in planting zone 8 we’re typically able to safely start planting outside around Easter or after.  As I typically do I started my Indoor Greenhouse about 6 weeks in advance, planned my garden layout and vegetable options and planted my heirloom seeds.  But an illness in our family this spring kept me from my traditional tasks and my neglect kept the indoor greenhouse from performing as it should.  So this year I had to purchase some of the veggie plants for the garden but I still planted some heirloom seeds directly into the garden for things like zucchini & green beans that I knew would grow fast & still have enough time to produce.   I also planted a row of mammoth sunflowers along the side of the garden that borders the chicken fence.  It serves two purposes – I always plant them for my mom since she mentions every year how beautiful they look in my garden (they’re my faves as well) plus they will shade the chickens this year during the hot Texas late afternoons.  Win/win!

Planting zone 8 I had to purchase some veggie plants this year but was still able to plant some heirloom seeds directly into the garden #TaylorMadeHomestead

So far I’ve been busy planting:

Tomatoes – 6 heirloom slicing, 1 hybrid Roma
Peppers (hybrid) – Red, green and yellow bell peppers & jalapeno
Heirloom Squash – Zucchini, Spaghetti squash
3-sisters garden (heirloom corn/heirloom sugar-pie pumpkin/hybrid pole beans)
Heirloom Green beans (bush)
Hybrid Okra
Heirloom Pickler cucumbers
Hybrid Melons – cantaloupe & watermelon
Onions & garlic
Herbs: Sage, Oregano, Basil, Thyme
Mammoth Sunflowers (you know, ’cause they make a veggie garden pretty!)

What are you planting this year? How are you planning for excess production?

~TMH~

 

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10 thoughts on “April Vegetable Garden Update

  1. Jennifer A

    I hope you win against the Bermuda grass! That stuff drives me crazy. Anyway, I love the look of your garden. Our battle plan this year is a deep layer of hay over the entire garden. It seems to be working so far. And I love that you plant sunflowers. They are beautiful. I read a long time ago that they have tubers on their roots that are edible, so technically it is still a vegetable in your garden. Thanks for sharing on the Homestead Blog Hop, Tammy! I enjoyed all of your posts this week.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      Last year with optimism I did the ‘deep mulching’ method you mentioned Jennifer, and it worked beautifully for the weeds… but not the Bermuda grass. I keep having to change it up to find a way to finally win over that dang stuff! But if you’re not dealing with Bermuda grass I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the success you’ll enjoy with deep mulching. ~TMH~

      Reply
  2. Angela @ Setting My Intention

    I’m just starting my garden – one raised garden bed. Keeping it simple! I just have compost in there now, but what do you think about the Mel’s Mix with vermiculite and peat moss?

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      My garden soil has only been amended with compost Angela so I’m not familiar with other amendments. Good luck with your garden! ~TMH~

      Reply
  3. Margy

    I’m finishing up pulling my winter crops (carrots, beets, kale and chard) and getting the new spring ones ready to go. So far the peas, beans and two new blueberry plants have gone in. Much more this coming week if the weather holds. – Margy

    Reply
  4. Linda

    I have not found ANYTHING that stops Bermuda grass, so I wish you much luck with that. If we ever have too much harvest we give it to friends. Have a blessed week!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      Fingers crossed that I’ll be able to stay on top of it this year Linda. ~TMH~

      Reply
  5. Judith C

    I love it! The feed sacks/mulch should help with the grass. The more your walk on them the better. One year my sister had resources to acquire carpet samples. Those that are like 18″ long. She put those down and they did the trick. Anything heavy that blocks the sunlight. I also like the way you have the chicken yard back there. Turn those girls out when the garden is established and let them go to town on the big nasty Texas sized grasshoppers.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      I’ve heard of the carpet option Judith and wondered if it really worked like they say it will – good to know of your sister’s experience with it. I’m also pretty excited to let those girls into my garden to eat up those grasshoppers – they’re a problem every year! ~TMH~

      Reply

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