You’d have to be buried under a rock not to notice the shift in temperature this week. The cool morning air and luminous afternoon light has arrived in Austin, making this the perfect time to dig into fall rituals.
In addition to breezy scarves and pumpkin-flavored everything, this is my favorite time to head outdoors, trowel in hand, and revamp my garden beds. Whether you garden in your backyard or on your back deck, now is the perfect time to plant!
One of my favorite aspects of calling Central Texas home is that we get to cheat the system a little when it comes to gardening. Because of our scorching summers and relatively mild winters, the shoulder seasons—fall and spring—are optimal times to plant the vegetables, herbs and flowers you’ve been dreaming about.
If this is your first garden, take a few tips from Sustainable Food Center’s Sari Albornoz. She advises you to:
- Choose a site that’s convenient and visible. You’ll be more likely to remember to check on it consistently, water regularly and harvest.
- Veggies need 6-8 hours of sunlight per day. Pay attention to where shadows fall and remember that, in the Northern Hemisphere, the sun is always in the south sky and makes a lower arc during the winter. This means shadows get longer this time of year, so take that into account when choosing a gardening site.
- Choose a site close to a water source. Hauling water is a pain, so it’s better to situate your garden where it will be easily reachable by a hose. If you make watering easy, you’ll be more consistent in your care.
If you want to delve into the nitty gritty of what to plant right now, check out Texas Master Gardener’s handy vegetable planting guide. From carrots to herbs to spinach, this exhaustive rundown of what to plant will help you narrow down what is best for your beds. If you want to up the ante, Sustainable Food Center hosts a slew of gardening classes, appropriate for all experience levels.
Once you have your game plan, check out some of my favorite spots to purchase seeds, transplants, wind chimes and everything in between. It’s hard to resist inspiration at these dreamy, local garden stores.
Breed & Co.
This little store, nestled just west of the UT campus, has it all. Breed & Co. is the only place where you can pick up a wedding gift, get a key made and snag a new houseplant, all in one stop.
Their garden section is tucked in the back of the store. Though it’s small in size, it offers everything you need to get your garden started. It’s my go-to spot to pick up a new succulent or impulse-buy some herbs. Because you can never have enough parsley, right?
718 West 29th St. – Website
The Great Outdoors
Situated just south of the ever-busy South Congress shopping district, The Great Outdoors will make you forget you’re in the heart of the city, as soon as you walk through the gates. Chill vibes infuse this garden center. It’s impossible not to feel the love as you load up your cart with vegetable transplants.
2730 South Congress Ave. – Website
The Natural Gardener
This longtime Austin staple requires a bit of a drive, but it’s totally worth it. You’ll want to pack the camera and brings the kids because, in addition to a huge selection of plants, they also have donkeys, goats and chickens to see, and lovely demonstration gardens to stroll through.
Be sure to peruse their signature fertilizers and compost, available either bagged or in bulk.
8648 Old Bee Caves Road – Website
Armed with seasonal information and tons of new transplants, now is the perfect time to try your hand at gardening in Central Texas.
When you’re harvesting fresh sage, leafy chard and sweet carrots through the holidays, you’ll be glad you got started now.
@kristinmleigh wants to know:
Where do you find local gardening inspiration?