The Yard

In June 2019 I moved from a house on almost 2 acres to a regular city lot. As far as distance is concerned, it isn’t that far. But for most other purposes, its a world away. Where I was on top of a hill, now I’m not. I had permanent raised beds, with borders in cemented stone. Now I have wood boards kept together with corner braces. I used to have an orchard with apples, pears, plums, and nectarines. All gone now.

But that doesn’t mean I’ve given up on my garden. I now have two raised beds, about 4 x 8 feet, and not quite a foot tall. It took quite a few bags of soil to fill them. I also garden in a lot of pots. I have a back patio that is covered, and a raised deck that is in the sun. I don’t have as many permanent plants as I once did. I used to have one bed that was just perennials, plants that come back year after year, or what I call my permanent plants.

Perennials are not the same as those that reseed themselves year after year. Perennials just come back, more like a tree or a bush, though in veggies the plant may die back but them come back in the spring. Herbs such as mint do that. My sorrel doesn’t even die back (given enough cold and no covering it froze -2021), its just there all year round. Plants that reseed themselves die completely each year, then you get a fresh plant from the fallen seed the next year. Something like basil can reseed itself and come back the following year.

Growing plants in Texas can be an interesting proposition. Here where I live, in the outskirts of Austin, we have long hot summers. The past summer, 2020, we had over 40 days of triple digit weather (100+ degrees). But to make life more fun, our summer evening temperatures also don’t cool down much. So your daytime may be 105, but your evenings may still be in the high 80’s. This fall, its been warm 70-80 degrees a temperature many places would consider spring or summer. This is fall weather here.

But when your summer days get well above 90 degrees growing vegetables can be tricky. You’re not so worried about them getting enough sun, you worry about them getting too much sun. Plants burn and die quickly in these temperatures. So its not uncommon to grow various veggies fall, winter, and spring, but the heat of summer, not so much. That’s also why in addition to my raised beds, I garden in pots. This allows me to move things around so they can get shade in the summertime, or move them to more sun in the winter time. It all depends on the plant.

A new issue we’ve experienced this year, Feb, 2021, is record breaking cold. We had 6 days (144 hours) at or below 32 degrees. One day we hit single digits, it was 2 degrees. To say people lost plants is an understatement. Even here I have yet to know what I’ve lost.