2017 Winter Garden Woes

posted in: gardening, Texas | 5

We had 2 nights of freezing weather in mid December. It was estimated at 17 with wind chill. The cold weather killed most of my broccoli, which are supposed to be cool weather plants.  I guess they have their limits.




My kales and collards (under the tall nets) did fine.  My walkways are pitiful and need work, don’t they?



Only a few cauliflowers survived, but the plants look damaged.  I trimmed up and fertilized the plants to see if I can get the cauliflowers to grow before I harvest them.

I went ahead and cleaned up the 4 x 8 beds that had some small mustard greens and Swiss chard.  I went ahead and planted out peas, which are a cool weather plant for my 8B/9A climate.  Peas are usually springtime plants in the rest of the country.  They definitely die out with regular temperatures over 80 degrees, so they are basically a wintertime plant for central Texas.


2017 pea varieties


I am using my tomato support cages as my pea supports.  That cluster of green is my Cilantro.  Cilantro is a wintertime plant for us too, because it does not like temps over 75.  It survived the freezing weather just fine.


I went ahead and started 36 peppers and 18 tomatoes ( most heirlooms).  I started each seed in a peat container containing 1/2 Miracle Gro potting mix and topped with Organic seed starting mix.  The bottom layer of potting mix must be suitable for indoor and outdoor plants, to minimize the gnats and insects it may contain. Other gardeners recommend microwaving the soil or pouring boiling water on seed start soil.  I find that to be a big mess! If I get gnat problems later, I kill them with a spray of Neem oil.

my seed starting technique


Tomato and pepper seeds like warm temps of 80 to 85 degrees so that means using a seed warming mat underneath to warm up the soil.

seed starts on warming mat


I find it necessary now to individually label each pot to avoid confusion later.  As they start to sprout, I shuffle the pots around under the lights based on their size and it’s imperative that the labels be present. I try to keep similar types together.

The tomato and pepper seedlings will be ready to go into the ground Mid March.  Successful gardening requires this type of pre-planning.  Of course, I could just buy transplant at the nursery store in March and put those in the ground, but I’m trying to save a bit of money.  Compost and soil amendments are most of my recurring costs.  If I can save $200 in plants every season (twice a year), I’m happy.

Yea! Spring is here soon! I will take the local Master Gardener’s class this spring so I can learn even more about gardening.  2016 was an unusually busy year and the blogposts were few and far between.  I will write many more blogposts and make more gardening videos after I complete the classes. I will set aside some time soon to write blogposts about some interesting things we saw on our 2016 travels.

Happy New Year 2017!





5 Responses

  1. Audi Reinthaler

    Love the purple broccoli.

  2. Great information. Thank you much for sharing. Stay calm and plant on !!!!

  3. Hilda Mejia Abreu

    Dear Friend,

    Great information. We miss you!

  4. How are the peas doing? Your seed warming mat is very impressive. Good luck with your 2017 garden!

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