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Being a gardener  in Lubbock is a greater challenge than I imagined, but each year is getting better.
Come follow my progress as I get my hands in Texas soil.

Joy Blooms . . .
with veggies, flowers, birds, butterflies, & creatures
                                                                                                                            This page last updated:   05/08/2016 08:07 AM
                                                                                                                                                                            


My Veggie Garden in Lubbock, TX

Lubbock is in USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 7.  What a welcomed change from Thornton, Colorado's Zone 5!   The growing season here is longer, which means that I can put seeds and transplants in the ground much earlier than I did in Colorado.  It also means that I can harvest to Thanksgiving and maybe even beyond.
 
I have found that just about everything grows here.  Below is a list of crops that I favor:
 
  • Beans grow easily by directly sowing. It is best to plant them in garden when the soil temperature is 60 degrees F.  This is generally beginning in April and continuing sowing seeds every 3 weeks until September.  I grow Bush beans about 1 foot apart so they can support each other.  I grow pole beans on a trellis and I also interplant with corn.  The corn stalks act as a trellis and the beans help anchor the corn.
  • Bell Peppers also grow easily by directly sowing.  I generally sow in May, well after any threat of a frost.   I plant them on the east side of okra.   Daddy always fertilized peppers when they began to flower and again when they set fruit.   I am not as faithful to that schedule as he was.
  • Corn does better for me in the shop garden.  During the first couple of years here, I planted corn in a two of the raised beds.  I had beautiful stalks, but produced NO COBS.   Hubby plowed an area on the west side of the shop and I now plant corn, dry beans, squash, melon and cucumbers.   All these crops now have room to grow & ramble.   The busy bees and pollinators can do their jobs better.  There is certainly plenty of wind to carry pollen.  I have found that planting corn in compact short rows does best for me.  I space the 1 foot apart in a 4 X 4 area.    

    I fertilize before planting but am not as faithful in fertilizing when tassels form.   Daddy taught me that I must water the stalks consistently because they have shallow roots.  And they won't do well if their "feet" get too dry.
  • Cucumbers or cukes as I call them are my favorite.   I plant in the four raised beds that have permanent trellises.   I alternate E/W side with the pole beans each year.  In this location, the cukes get plenty of sun.  The cool thing about beans and cukes is they produce more when you pick them.   I plant some Bush varieties in the shop garden as well.   Although truth be told, I prefer the pole (vining) types.  

I am experimenting with growing pickles.   I have two raised beds with Cukes and two with pickles.

  • Eggplants are really something I would prefer others to make for me.  But none the less I always plant a few mixed in with okra and peppers.    I plant the okra in the middle, eggplants on the west side to get full sun and peppers on the east side to get some shade. I sow seeds directly in May.   I read that I should put mulch around them but have not done so.
  • Okra is also something I would rather someone else prepare.  Texas is a perfect place to grow okra.   I thrives in hot weather.  I direct sow in May.   Again my 3-sisters = eggplant, okra, peppers.
  • Potatoes Plant seed potatoes (pieces of potato with at least 2 eyes) a week or two after the last spring frost date.  When cutting up potato pieces for planting, do so a 1-2 days ahead of time. This will give them the chance to form a protective layer, both for moisture retention and rot resistance.

    Make a 4" deep trench; Spread and mix in organic compost in the bottom; Plant seed potatoes one foot apart, eye side up.  Potatoes thrive in well-drained, loose soil.  Potatoes need consistent moisture, so water regularly when tubers start to form. 

    Potatoes always do well.  I don't practice hilling.   I dig red potatoes for harvest after 10 weeks after sprouting, usually in early July.  I harvest the rest once the vines die (usually by late August).  If I want too long the potatoes will rot.

  • Squash is something I plant because everybody else does.  I am experimenting with summer & winter squash.   Of course I am planting zucchini.   These are all planted in the shop garden so they have plenty of room to roam and ramble.  I have not planted them on hills - everybody recommends it, so maybe I will - or not.
  • Tomatoes can be grown from seeds that are started indoors.   I started some heirloom mixed seeds in February 2016.  Even though I hardened them they all died when I transplanted them in early May.   I was a tomato-killer.  Ended up buying plants from Lowe's, Ace Hardware & Walmart.  I grow them with stakes.  Daddy as my guide, I buried 2/3 of the stalk.  Tomatoes produce roots from the stalk.  Tomatoes with a strong roots produces more fruit.   I have been know to cut the tomato plant back in order to stimulate new growth & extend the harvesting season.
 

Most of the time I direct sow seeds in the garden, but occasionally I start seeds indoors or buy transplants.  If the transplants have not lived outdoors where they are exposed to changing temps, they need to be "harden off" before setting them into permanent home in the garden.

The "hardening off" process is quite simple. 

  • Put the seedlings/transplants outdoors for a few hours each day. 

  • It is preferable to put them in a shaded semi-protected area.  

  • The hours outdoors should be gradually increased by a few hours each day. 

  • After 5 - 7 days the Seedlings/Transplant will be ready for their new home.

Admittedly, I don't follow my advice.  I generally put plants from garden centers directly in the ground and don't go through the hardening process.   Bet you do too!

I find it helpful to thoroughly water plants before transplanting.   I like to transplant in the evening when the temps are a bit cooler.  When transplanting in the Iris River or Butterfly Garden, I dig the hole of their new home and fill it with water.  I put in the plant and fill the hole with soil. 

2016 -Seeds purchased & where they will live
 Sow What?   20 Raised BedsShop Veggie GardenBerry PatchIris River Flower Garden  &  Butterfly Garden
My Victory Garden Raised Beds - My plan for the veggie's utilizes Companion Planting guidelines, . . . well most of the time.

Lubbock is in USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 7.  A welcomed change from Thornton's Zone 5.   The growing season here is longer, which means that I can put seeds and transplants in the ground a couple of months earlier than I did in Colorado.  It also means that I can harvest to Thanksgiving and maybe even beyond.

When the seed catalogs start arriving arriving in November, I methodically page through them and circle the seeds and/or plants to order.  It is a great joy to day-dream about next year's gardens.   After narrowing down the "wish list" I order seeds.   I can't resist also buying some seeds locally as soon as the displays are up.   With seed packages in hand I complete an elaborate Excel spreadsheet  detailing the names, locations to be planted, dates to sow, dates to harvest veggies, and much much much much more.   I get as much joy out of planning as I do from the "doing."  Oh the anticipation of waiting to get my hands dirty.  By March I start to play in the dirt.  It seems the wind blows pretty steadily in March & April.   That's a problem.


Joy Blooms . . . with Planning
Gardening in Lubbock     Veggies Anyone?     Iris River Garden     Butterfly Garden     Joy is for the Birds      
Lawns & Landscaping
    Compost It!     Gardening Lessons from Daddy     Mindful of the Fur-Kids


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