I can't comment on growing vegetables in Texas, as I live in the UK, but what I can say is that certain vegetables give much bigger yields per square metre than others if you have only a small area.

I can grow enough parsnips for the winter in just 1sqm, using a precision sowing technique of putting 5-6 seeds into 30 stations 15cm apart in 3 rows, each row having 30cm between. When the seeds germinate, the young plants are thinned to the strongest plant at each station to give a good root come the autumn.

Carrots can be grown in a similarly precise way and spring onions (scallions) can be grown in clumps of 10 in a 10cm*10cm grid - 0.5m * 0.5m will give you a clump a day pretty much for a month.

You can grow 60 beetroot in a square metre by sowing four seeds in module trays together, then planting out 15 clumps at 30cm apart in three rows 30cms apart. You can harvest the beetroot over a few weeks in the UK by taking the big ones first, then letting the laggards continue to grow.

Potatoes, onions, shallots, garlic and winter squash tend to require larger spaces if you want to be self-sufficient. Even then, the first four require no more than 15sqm for a year's supply. Squash tends to need more so is more a crop for those with a bit more space to grow.

This winter, 4 Savoy cabbages were sufficient to provide fresh produce from 1st December to the end of March, using only 1.5sqm of growing area. 6 Brussels Sprouts plants took up 2sqm and again have been picked continuously from early December through to now.

The key thing to factor in is how you will store vegetables - with us in the UK, during many winter seasons, storage in an external shed is fine, but this winter we had 20+ days of hard frosts ( lower than -6C), which caused stored veg in the shed to rot. Inside a garage with a wall facing the home appears better for such scenarios if you don't have a cellar. Freezing is not as good as eating fresh, but pragmatism may suggest some of that taking place.

My top ten vegetables to grow in the UK if you are limited in growing area: scallions/spring onions; radish; beetroot; parsnip; carrot; lettuce, picking leaves every week for 10 weeks+; winter radish; celery; dwarf bean; bush tomato.

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I have a small container garden and so excited for this year! Last year did half veggies and half pollinator garden. Might try garlic this year!

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Feb 27Liked by John Day MD

Follow "Gardening with Leon" on YT on how to make self-watering garden containers. Leon, in his 80s, is intent on teaching the younger generation how to grow their own food. These work extremely well in West Texas where it's difficult to provide a consistent soil moisture to in-ground gardens. Two years ago, I cut a 300 gal IBC tote in half, raised it on cinder blocks which allows easier access for people who have mobility issues. I have several horse feed buckets, (free from people who have horses) made into these self-watering containers. Watering, fertilizing is easy (no desperate 2-3times a day watering!) and no weeding, either!


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Feb 27Liked by John Day MD

Dear John, I have had gardens before but I will have to move home to have another. Thank you for reminding me of my past gardening, you have painted that picture fresh in my thoughts! Teza from Sydney Australia.

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Mar 6Liked by John Day MD
Feb 27·edited Feb 27

*BLACK BOX WARNING* to new gardeners like myself!

With all the exhortations in the alt health and truth communities to "get growing", it is easy to get started in haste, as I did, and end up committing a critical, expensive, time and effort killing error.

*PLEASE* be extraordinarily careful about your soil source, whatever amendments you add, and here is why: AMINOPYRALIDS



Many veteran organic gardeners with decades of experience are still getting hit by this "better living through chemistry" stealth poison from the usual predator/parasites, same as what happened with glyphosate and so many other products pushed for "safe & effective" applications - turns out disease, disability and death aren't quite so sate & effective, unless you're evaluating it from a genocidal psychopath's POV.

Do your own thorough research and be informed, do not consent to their degenerative, life-hating/killing products & practices.

Gratitude to Doc John and all the gardeners out there for sharing the regenerative loving intention of stewarding life affirming gardening, feeding the foundation of all life on our home.

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