Growing Your Own

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Gardening can be an enjoyable and rewarding endeavor. Regardless of the size of your yard, or lack thereof, everyone has the potential to grow some of their own food. Not only does it taste better, to me, one can be assured of what is on your vegetables (think pesticides and waxes) and what isn’t. It can be a great hobby and pastime that can be enjoyed by the entire family. It can also be a great way for neighbors to get to know each other by swapping bags of veggies. It can even earn you a little money if you choose to sell your excess. If not, you can always freeze or can and help offset some of your food costs through the rest of the year.

Here in central Texas, for the most part, we are in Zone VIII of the USDA’s hardiness zone with just a fraction of the area caught in Zone VII. Either way this is great news for gardening and anyone who enjoyed the 80s and 90s of this past February can attest to our good fortune. When it comes to gardening, I will admit that some skills did not come naturally to me. What I had when I first started out was a lot of ambition and very little experience. Fortunately for me, I also have a great deal of luck.

I say all of this because my first attempt at gardening yielded only a few squash, some cucumbers and tomatoes. It was hardly the robust harvest I had imagined, but due to my good luck (but mostly my wife’s internet skills) we did manage to gather some delicious vegetables. Over the years, I have learned quite a bit about gardening, but far from everything. Some of my education came from plain old trial and error, but most came from sifting through the numerous gardening sites available on the internet.

One driving force behind this site is to focus on preparedness here in central Texas instead of gleaning information from hundreds of other sites. To that end, my vision for this article is to gather as much information about the varieties of fruits and vegetables that grow well here. This is not meant to be a catchall and, disclaimer, I am by no means an expert. I merely wanted to provide some consolidated information and perhaps start a discussion amongst our community.

So, without further ado, here are the varieties of some vegetables that do well here in central Texas.

Tomatoes. Who doesn’t like tomatoes? They are great for salads, as pasta sauce, salsa or just cut up with some salt.

Small: Red Cherry, Presto, Saladette

Large: Big set, bonus, homestead, terrific, bingo and carnival

Summer squash.

Yellow: Dixie, early prolific, early summer

Zucchini. Ambassador, aristocrat, president, senator, sure thing

Cucumbers. The root of all pickles. 🙂

Slicing: Burpless, sweet slice, sweet success

Pickling: Liberty, Carolina, calypso

Peppers. A Texas tradition

Sweet: Bell Tower, California Wonder, Yolo Wonder

Hot: Jalapeno (of course), Long Red Cayenne, Hidalgo Serrano

Potatoes.

Red: Dark Red Norland, Norland, Viking

Yellow: Yukon Gold

Russet: Century Russet, Norgold M, Russet Norkatah

Strawberries.

Annual: Chandler, Douglas, Sequoia

Perennial: Sunrise, Allstar, Cardinal

Blackberries.

Thorny: Womack, Brazos, Shawnee

Thornless: Navajo, Arapaho

Beyond gardening the inclusion of fruit trees on your property may provide some welcome addition to your food supply. While trees obviously take longer to reach maturity, once they do you have a reasonable expectation of getting a yield for many years to come.

Apple. Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Gala, Holland, Fuji, Ein Shemer

Pear. Warren, Garber, Kieffer, Moonglow

Plum. Methley

On that note. I will draw this post to a close. As I said before, I am by no means an expert and this list is obviously not all inclusive. I am hoping that others will join in the discussion to build on the post. What do you think? What varieties of fruits and vegetables have you grown here? What did you have success with and what was a dismal failure? What’s not on the list that you grow and what varieties perform the best? Until next time, take care and keep on preppin!

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