One of the best parts of living in MorningStar is its location – smack-dab in the middle of the beautiful Texas Hill Country. There is something magical about the natural light, the terrain and the climate of this area, just north of Austin. While it may get a little toasty in the summer, the fall, winter and spring are mild and usually sunny.
This climate encourages some residents to put in a garden in the backyard, even in the winter. Just think of it as edible landscaping!
Why Winter Gardens are so Hot
The National Gardening Association notes that “gardeners in mild winter areas, such as coastal California, Arizona; Texas and Florida, can really bask in fall and winter’s glory. Gardeners in these mild winter areas are loving the cool temperatures to sow and grow a variety of vegetables that don’t survive the heat of summer. In some areas, such as southern Florida and Texas, they are even growing warm season crops of tomatoes in winter.”
There are many reasons to plant a winter garden in Morningstar. Gardening experts point out that it’s the only time to really be able to get cool season crops such as broccoli, spinach, lettuce, and carrots to grow properly. Plus, there’s less work involved!
The Gardening Association notes that the days are shorter, the sun’s intensity less, and there are fewer insects and diseases around to attack your plants. “This allows cool weather seedlings and transplants the luxury of growing slow and strong to maturity. For the gardener, there’s less weeding, watering and care involved and more comfortable weather to work in. Weeds will germinate, but they will not grow strongly during the short days and are easy to remove. Moisture holds in the soil longer in fall so the garden requires less watering. There’s time to harvest plants as needed, knowing they will hold in the garden longer than if growing under high heat conditions.”
What to Plant?
This is the fun part of this process! It really depends on what you and your family love to eat.
Greens, such as arugula, spinach, collards, lettuce, Swiss chard, mustard and kale, thrive in the winter. Root crops, such as carrots, beets, onions and radishes, grow well. Brassicas, such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage, form large heads. Legumes, such as fava beans and peas, grow and flourish. All these vegetables have better flavor and texture than if you tried to grow them during the heat of spring or summer.
While there are many commercial nurseries located minutes from the MorningStar community, the Native Plant Society of Texas – Williamson County chapter, suggests a few that specialize in plants that are native to the area. Click here for a list. Most people who love the taste of fresh vegetables will continue this “back to the land” trek in the spring and summer. For that trip, it might be fun to order a Garden in a Box.
Whatever the month and in any of the seasons, something good is always growing in MorningStar. Whether it’s delicious vegetables or happy, healthy families, come see why this community is a great place to put down roots.