My name is Rebecca and I started the Experiential Gardener channel to share practical how-to Texas gardening information and tips that I have found to be useful based on my experience gardening in North Central Texas Zone 8a over the last forty plus years. Gardening in Texas is not difficult; it is just different. Much of the gardening information on seed packets and gardening publications/sites is written for milder climates and may not work well here. “Full sun” in Maine is very different from full sun in Texas. Gardeners in the Lone Star State need gardening information that works here, in Texas.

I first began to learn how to garden from my father and our closest neighbor Ann Gallagher. My father’s garden was one plus acres of all the typical garden vegetables (plus peanuts), and 1/2 acre watermelons and cantaloupes. My father created my first garden for me when I was five years old. I remember planting bean seeds five or so inches deep. I planted them again when they did not sprout. I have had a garden every year from that year forward (except the year I lived in a college dorm).

We planted traditional long rows and had access to a tractor to plow between them. My father and I hoed between the individual plants to keep out weeds. During dry summers we would also lay and move irrigation pipes to bring water to the plants from the nearby pond. I made extra money hoeing and made Christmas money thrashing/picking/selling pecans. We also picked wild crops such as Mustang grapes, wild plums, mulberries. We would always have a lot of produce from a garden this size (despite the deer) and so we would store all root crops in our root cellar on the hill behind the house and we had a second freezer and my mother would can beets and make jellies. My father would also periodically load the back of his pickup with watermelons and cantaloupes and drive to town and give them away. ​

Ann, was the wife of a second generation Irish family who was a wealth of gardening knowledge. She owned a green house full of exotic flowers that I had never seen before and every issue of National Geographic. I would read National Geographic, gardening books, seed catalogs and dream of seeing some of the places I read about and the countries where the exotic flowers grew naturally. Ann also had a cold frame, a cistern, and kept bees, doves, quail, chickens and guineas. ​

In the fall she would have me gather seeds from all the heirloom plants she grew and then we would plant flower, tomato and pepper seeds in December and January for our spring transplants. Ann never went to a store to buy flowers or any other plants. Besides, back then we only had a feed store that had a few tomato and pepper transplants in the town anyway. ​

When I was in my early teens, I began to order seeds from seed catalogs and experiment with different varieties. I began to grow specific varieties of tomatoes for my father that performed well in our climate.​

When I went to college, I moved to an urban environment with average size yards. At first I was very distraught about the lack of large available gardening space that I had when I lived in a rural area. Then I began to learn how to garden in smaller spaces in an urban environment and still get large yields without all the extra row spaces to maintain between the plants. I became an organic urban gardener and have been gardening in this type of environment since 1990.

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To show several winter greens growing in the garden.
Vegetables
Rebecca

Fall and Winter Vegetable Gardening in Texas

A selection of vegetables that grow well during the winter in Texas. The entry for each vegetable includes: the best time to plant, the best varieties, and the temperature at which the plant should be covered for extra warmth.

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Transplanting extra Sweet Basil into 6-packs to give away.
Garden Tips
Rebecca

Growing Transplants from Seeds

A method for increasing the success rate of growing transplants of plants that have very small seeds that are not as easy to grow in the open garden. This method increases the chance of more plants germinating, gives the plants a good start away from pests on the ground, and provides a back-stock for replacement plants and extras for gifts.

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Persian cucumbers ready to harvest
Vegetables
Rebecca

Growing Cucumbers in Texas

How to successfully grow cucumbers in Texas. The best trellises for cucumbers and when to harvest. Persian and English Cucumbers are specifically discussed.

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Ruffled Oak Leaf Lettuce.

Ruffled Oak Leaf Lettuce. ...

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A white hyacinth preparing to bloom.

A white hyacinth preparing to bloom. ...

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Hyacinths look nice with pansies. This is a planter from a past winter. Place hyacinths near your entry door to enjoy the exotic perfume every time you walk by.

Hyacinths look nice with pansies. This is a planter from a past winter. Place hyacinths near your entry door to enjoy the exotic perfume every time you walk by. ...

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Some happy dianthus flowers. Save your dianthus plants that have stopped blooming once winter is over and spring begins to warm. They will grow thicker and produce more blooms next winter.

Some happy dianthus flowers. Save your dianthus plants that have stopped blooming once winter is over and spring begins to warm. They will grow thicker and produce more blooms next winter. ...

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Hyacinths blooming at our old house in the early spring.

Hyacinths blooming at our old house in the early spring. ...

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Bougainvillea can really brighten a winter day. Bougainvillea is easy to grow. It should be brought inside the house before the first frost of the winter. I put mine on a sunny patio in the spring, summer and fall. https://buff.ly/2LW3jd4

Bougainvillea can really brighten a winter day. Bougainvillea is easy to grow. It should be brought inside the house before the first frost of the winter. I put mine on a sunny patio in the spring, summer and fall. https://buff.ly/2LW3jd4 ...

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The hyacinths are blooming and they smell divine. Ah, spring cannot be far away. History of the hyacinth: https://buff.ly/2N7g45m

The hyacinths are blooming and they smell divine. Ah, spring cannot be far away. History of the hyacinth: https://buff.ly/2N7g45m ...

19 1
A quick Bok Choy stir-fry (sautee) for lunch. Ingredients: Bok Choy in sesame oil with 4 oz water and 1 tsp of teriyaki sauce on medium heat with lid. Stir often. Cook until stalks are tender.

A quick Bok Choy stir-fry (sautee) for lunch. Ingredients: Bok Choy in sesame oil with 4 oz water and 1 tsp of teriyaki sauce on medium heat with lid. Stir often. Cook until stalks are tender. ...

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Bay Laurel leaves. My bay tree is in a large pot on the back patio. It is evergreen, can be pruned into a topiary,  provides leaves to add to soups and stews or to make beautiful wreaths, and much more. More uses and history of bay: https://buff.ly/35EG3Yf

Bay Laurel leaves. My bay tree is in a large pot on the back patio. It is evergreen, can be pruned into a topiary, provides leaves to add to soups and stews or to make beautiful wreaths, and much more. More uses and history of bay: https://buff.ly/35EG3Yf ...

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A close-up of the center of a pansy. Can you imagine what a bee or butterfly experiences when they visit these beautiful blooms with brightly colored individual parts that construct the whole?

A close-up of the center of a pansy. Can you imagine what a bee or butterfly experiences when they visit these beautiful blooms with brightly colored individual parts that construct the whole? ...

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