So, it’s days before our first freeze (estimated) here in Central Texas, and it’s a good time to do a wrap-up on the garden I started in the Summer. I’m really loving my little place in the country, out of the way of things where I can relax, be creative, and get some work done.
Sidenote: I outlined what I was going to grow and the build in Part One – a wrap up of actually building it and starting off.
I think the kale, cabbage and cauliflower, and some other leafys will survive through our cold, but I’m preparing for most of the other plants to be lost. I’ll plant a new arrangement this coming March. However, that’s what I’m going to test, as well – to see how different variants do in the cold.
Although I didn’t get much fruit in this short, off-season time, I did get some good cucumbers! The squash, however, all died before fruiting – I replanted several times and I had a lot of trouble with them. After the 3rd planting, I planted radish and spinach where the squash was, instead. The radishes are doing great, as are the fledgling spinach. The garlic did so, so well! Huge and healthy – I’ll have some this weekend! All of the peppers grew very slowly, though – it’s almost like they were dormant from October to now. My other ones grew twice as fast from April to June (2016, at my other garden) than these did from August to December – so something learned there.
Cauliflower ^ (new radishes and spinach in the BG)
The best performers are probably the lettuce, cauliflower, and kale. They all look very healthy and continue to grow every day. While they aren’t ready yet, I expect them to survive the freezes and come through to continue their growth in the Spring. The lettuce is ready to eat, while the other still need time. The corn and wheat did kind of okay – I do have a corn ear coming out. The tomatoes are still growing strong but with no fruit – I think the winter will kill all of them like it did last year. And, sadly, the strawberries and onion hardly did anything at all but sprout… They’re still alive, though. We’ll see what the Spring will do to them if they survive the freezes.
Baby cucumber^ with volunteer Jalapenos in the BG
So, I learned quite a lot from this experiment. I watered them twice a day without missing a beat and watched success in the off-season with my own eyes. But, I also saw several failures. It adds to the grower I want to be 5 years from now, this knowledge. The pH’s, temperatures, and moisture levels were paid attention to, and I managed the caterpillars and bugs pretty well, all with zero pesticides – that’s part of the test as well. Flowers were pollinated and fruit was made.
In hindsight, I really put that first bed too close to the workshop shed because the sun doesn’t hit it as often as some plants need, even after I put the clear roof on – the sun just is not as high in the sky during these winter days. The back wall is the South wall. I’ll take that into account for the Spring. About the outdoor workshop, though…
I put up this little station next to the garden to hold some of my garden and wood tools, and some of the stuff that can stay outside – shovels, hammers, clamps, saws, levels, bolt and screw collection, etc. They stay dry. Also, to do sheltered woodworking in. I have already built 3 tables and several drums, sanded, stained, glossed, and finished in this little shed. It leaves me more storage room inside the house for things that don’t need to go inside. For instance, I have a small storage area for my power tools, electronic stuff, paints, and main toolbox inside the house, but not shovels, etc – they stay outside.
With the help of my father, I moved the building into place, roofed it, and put tin up on some of the sides. The frame is metal with a heavy-duty plate floor, built by him for another purpose that fell through. I have learned a lot from him. It’s a great little platform. I built a tool rack, refurb’d a table, and put up a few flourishes. It’s nice to have it right next to the garden and the field. I love doing work out there next to the green plants and in the sunlight and breeze where I can sand and cut wood and really position and move large planks of wood around.
I also have this metal table on the other side of the garden where I can build jigs and clamp stuff to. This one’s an angle ripping jig for 1×4 lumber. It’s so nice to have something like this to lay stuff out on – about 4’x4′ for the whole metal table. It’s my main work table. It makes me very happy as a craftsman – amazingly sturdy and heavy and takes plenty of abuse – hammers banging, cutting wood and hide, hundreds of Newtons of downward force, and it doesn’t sway a bit – solid bit of kit, there.
Anyway, that’s it. Just a quick wrap-up of the garden stuff and a few views of the outdoor workshop in the country. Love this stuff.