In the Garden: December.

Here’s a wee little task list of what to plant and do around the garden during the month of December:

  • Seed in Ground: carrots, cauliflower, onions, chives, spinach, mustard, peas, beets, radishes, lettuce (somewhat protected)
  • Seed Indoors: bok choi, broccoli, cabbage, kale, leeks, head lettuce, bunching onions


  • Plant flowers!  Petunias, calendulas, annual candytuft (Iberis umbellata), pansies, sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima), cornflowers (Centaurea cyanus), stocks (Matthiola incana), scabiosa (Scabiosa atropurpurea), verbena, pinks (Dianthus spp.), and daisies.
  • Plant bulbs, corms, and rhizomes of iris (Iris danfordiae, I. histrioides, I. reticulata), amaryllis, anemone (Anemone coronaria, A. sylvestris), calla, and liriope.
  • Clean up garden debris to eliminate overwintering areas for diseases and insect pests.
  • Start to build beds for spring by adding lots of compost.
  • Plant bareroot trees, shrubs, roses, and vines.

In the Garden: November.

Red Giant Mustard Greens at the Training Farm.

Here’s a wee little task list of what to plant and do around the garden during the month of November:

  • Seed in Ground: carrots, leaf lettuce, kale, mustard greens, swiss chard, collard greens, bok choi, onion seed (early), radish, spinach, turnip (early), peas, Brussel sprouts, beets, strawberries, cilantro, fennel, dill, cabbage
  • Seed Indoors: broccoli, cabbage, leeks


  • Fruit trees will arrive at nurseries for fall planting; shop early for the best selection.
  • Harvest cold-sensitive veggies—such as tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers—that you planted in July.
  • Under row covers, plant cool-loving crops, such as Brussels sprouts, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, broccoli, peas, carrots, kale, radishes, mustard, turnips, beets, and spinach.
  • Plant strawberries (‘Chandler’, ‘Sweet Charlie’, and ‘Sequoia’) so plants will be established by spring.
  • Sow seeds of poppies, larkspur, and delphiniums for early spring color.

3 Harvest-Ready Signs for Your Onions

from Dixondale Farms:

One of the most common questions we get is, “How will I know my onions are ready to harvest?”

One way is by keeping track of the number of leaves on your onion plants. While 13 is the ideal number of onion leaves, some onion varieties may mature with fewer leaves than that. When your plants reach at least seven leaves, start watching them carefully. There will be three key physical signs that your onions are mature and should be harvested.

1. Soft Neck

When the area right above the neck (the place where the leaves meet the bulb) starts feeling soft, the transfer of carbohydrates from the leaves to the rings has finished, and the final cell division within the rings has occurred. At this stage, you should water less frequently, to prevent sour skin and black mold occurring in wet soils.

2. Tops Falling Over
When some of the tops fall over, this reflects 100% soft neck, even though not all the tops are down. If you are planning to consume the onions right away, this is the earliest stage they can be harvested
and the tops cut off. There is good skin development at this stage, and adequate green tops to prevent sunscald during drying.

When all the tops are down, the onion is finished pulling sugars out of the top and moisture out of its roots. But skin development will continue to occur. If growing for storage, a light last watering should take place, to allow onions to respire some moisture before harvest. For sweeter onions, give them a moderate final watering.

3. Last Leaf

Examine all the leaves, particularly the most recent one to appear (last leaf). The leaf sheaths mature and dry from the oldest to the youngest leaf. If you pull the onions from the soil before the last leaf is dry, rot could occur during storage. The neck cavity or top of the onion should not be sunken or soft before lifting the onions out of the soil.

It’s best to remove your onions in the morning, before the worst of the heat and direct sunlight occur.

After Lifting Your Onions
Now that your plants are out of the soil, you’ll want them to last as long as possible. This requires thorough drying and curing.

Happy harvests, everyone!


Bruce “Onionman” Frasier

Herbs for your Health Garden Workshop (Dallas) – May 18th

Upcoming event information:
Herbs for Your Health Garden Cafe, 5310 Junius St, Munger Square Center, Dallas, TX 75214
Date: 05/18/2013 6:00 PM CDT

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme….What can herbs do for you? They are easy to grow and maintain, but pack a powerful punch when used holistically.

This talk will discuss chronic illness and scientific research of treatment using herbs and other plants. Justin will cover common herbs that you will find in your garden, and some not so common ones that could be beneficial.

Instructor: Justin Duncan, owner of Xeriscaping Solutions and Director, Region 5, Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Assn.

More information and online registration: Herbs for Your Health

Best regards,

In the Garden: May.



Seed in Ground: basil, beans, corn, okra, peanuts, southern peas (black-eyed, purple hull and crowder peas), sweet potatoes
Transplant: eggplant (early), melons (early), peppers (early), squash, tomatoes (early)


  • Harvest spring crops daily to keep them producing for as long as possible.
  • Continue to plant heat-tolerant tomatoes, such as ‘Heatwave’, ‘Sunchaser’, and ‘Sweet 100′.
  • Plant caladiums in shaded sites. Try narrow-leaved zinnia (Zinnia angustifolia) for hot spots. Give new plantings plenty of water.
  • Continue planting daisies, asters, coreopsis, marigolds, and sunflowers—they nourish the beneficial insects, which will help keep pests in check.
  • Check your drip irrigation system—you’ll be depending on it soon.
  • Pray for rain.

Spring Training Farm Update

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This spring has been an exciting season at the Urban Training Farm in East Waco. We started this winter-spring season with a great group of 50 hard workers composed of community members and Baylor students – who helped prep the garden for the spring growing season on the 2013 MLK Day of Service. Winter weeds had overtaken a number of the beds – but within 3 hours, everyone had cleaned up the entire garden and built a trellis for our sugar snap peas and nasturtium (edible spicy flowers!) out of branches found around the periphery of the Training Farm. We also capitalized on the amount of extra hands that day and put some of the strapping young lads and ladies to task of hand building a new 80-foot bed! All in all, the day was a success!

Throughout these early spring months, we’ve continued to have a number of great one time work groups out in the garden for large one time projects – especially over spring break, with groups touring the country in search of service projects enjoying a morning of weeding and seeding at the Training Farm.

However, we want to highlight two special groups that we’ve been working with throughout the past couple of months: the Baylor’s Reformed University Fellowship and the Junior League Provisional Class.
We continue to have community work days every Friday afternoon – but have put the early morning workdays on hold until the weather consistently warms. We’ve been fortunate to have a dedicated group of Baylor students from the Reformed University Fellowship every Friday – since last fall – come out to the garden for weeding the peas, planting carrots and cover crops, fertilizing with fish emulsion, and harvesting the bounty of broccoli for Market the next day. Without their help, we wouldn’t be able to get half as much work done in the garden each week!

Last fall, the Urban Training Farm was selected by the Junior League for the winter/spring project for their provisional class – specifically focusing on developing an expansive four-part herb garden at the Training Farm. They first decided to incorporate recycled elements into the garden – including repurposed tires for the tea garden, reclaimed brick pavers for the healing herb garden, repurposed pallets for the culinary herb garden, and reclaimed cinder blocks for the edible flowers garden. For irrigation, they also installed a two-barrel rainwater catchment system, collecting rainwater off of the roof of the HOT Produce building – which will supplement our irrigation needs. Right now the Herb garden is in full production – including blooming calendula, fragrant lavender and rosemary, tasty chives and cilantro – as well as five freshly planted fruit trees: a plum, a pear, and three peach trees. Since this February, the women of the Junior League have diligently tilled, mowed, planted, and watered the newly installed herb garden.

Lastly, we are so excited to have received several great applications for the 2013 Intern Program – and will be revealing the final five candidates shortly! They will begin their orientation process of the business curriculum and growing season at the Training Farm and the Waco Downtown Farmers Market starting on April 4th.