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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A closeup of English Thyme. Thyme is another herb that is used at Thanksgiving. Use it fresh or dry. If using it fresh, use 3 times the dry amount. Thyme prefers a sunny location and forms a 6 to 8 inch evergreen spreading carpet. It is also a pollinator plant that blooms in mid-spring.

A closeup of English Thyme. Thyme is another herb that is used at Thanksgiving. Use it fresh or dry. If using it fresh, use 3 times the dry amount. Thyme prefers a sunny location and forms a 6 to 8 inch evergreen spreading carpet. It is also a pollinator plant that blooms in mid-spring. ...

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Sage is one of the herbs of Thanksgiving. It stays green year-round and loves a sunny, well-drained spot.

Sage is one of the herbs of Thanksgiving. It stays green year-round and loves a sunny, well-drained spot. ...

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Rooting a couple of rosemary sprigs. These will make nicely formed rosemary bushes. Rosemary cuttings can also be rooted in horticultural vermiculite. Once they develop a good root system, they can be planted in soil.

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A tiny fig remains on the fig tree after all the leaves fell in the fall.

A tiny fig remains on the fig tree after all the leaves fell in the fall. ...

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Pretty veins on the underside of a Purple Lady Bok Choy leaf.

Pretty veins on the underside of a Purple Lady Bok Choy leaf. ...

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Tatsoi is full of vitamins and minerals. It is oftentimes called Vitamin green. Here is a description of this Asian veggie and how to use it in recipes: https://buff.ly/3m3k2Za

Tatsoi is full of vitamins and minerals. It is oftentimes called Vitamin green. Here is a description of this Asian veggie and how to use it in recipes: https://buff.ly/3m3k2Za ...

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Banana peppers in late November.

Banana peppers in late November. ...

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Marigolds are symbolically associated with the sun. So, here are some marigolds for today, the day of the Sun (Sunday).

Marigolds are symbolically associated with the sun. So, here are some marigolds for today, the day of the Sun (Sunday). ...

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The Tronchudra Biera Kale is growing well in the cooler weather.

The Tronchudra Biera Kale is growing well in the cooler weather. ...

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The Heavenly Blue Morning Glories are still blooming on this third week in November. They are becoming deeper in color. A little bee jumped into one of the flowers just as I took this picture.

The Heavenly Blue Morning Glories are still blooming on this third week in November. They are becoming deeper in color. A little bee jumped into one of the flowers just as I took this picture. ...

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