The FarmGirls are counting down the dog days of summer.  

Texas gardeners face many challenges including the extreme summer heat of North Central Texas. Fall is coming and for Texas residents fall is like a second spring.  

The nights are cool and the outdoors are pleasant again. Fall gardens are a bit tricky because some vegetables, the warmer weather plants had to be planted the last of July.  

Our fall gardens are coming in, baby veggies are sprouting in both our gardens and in our shade tree nursery. We will soon be planting the 4-inch transplants of  cabbage, collards and Kale. Later in the fall we will be seeding lettuce, beets, kohlrabi, spinach and turnips.  We are still harvesting squash, tomatoes and okra.

This year we added two new herb gardens.  

One ground garden bed was added in the late spring and rosemary, bee balm, catmint, thyme, lemon grass, thyme and others have successfully established.  

The second herb garden was planted by our perennial interns.  

It is a raised garden made from a beautiful slab rock. We specifically planned the raised garden hoping to establish lavender that needs good drainage. This garden is a distance from our water source so we have installed two 50 gallon rain barrels and many Dripping Springs Olla pots.  

The rain barrels have no catchment for rain but are placed strategically in a location that water hoses can reach. This will allow us to fill the rain barrels from a water hose and attach drip line providing watering for these lovely new herbs.  

The olla pots are red clay urns buried in the ground and filled with water. Each olla pot waters the root systems of the plants in a four by four area.

These herbs will be used in numerous herb blends including Herbs de Provence, a wonderful blend or rosemary, fennel, lavender, oregano and marjoram.  

To prepare this herb blend, little bundles of herbs will be gathered and hung in a clean room with good ventilation.  

When the herb bundles are dry the leaves will be plucked, blends will be assembled, and then stored in spice jars.  

Herbs de Provence is great in omelets, quiche, and on grilled vegetables.  Donelle brought our first Herbs de Provence blend all the way from Paris, France.

 The first cold snap will damage the sweet basil, so we are busy harvesting this tasty herb. The Cuisinart will be chopping basil leaves, pine nuts, onions and garlic with olive oil to use on our cooked veggies and some will be frozen and stored for winter months.  

My mother-in-law, Sharon often kept a beautiful bouquet of a variety of basil on her kitchen counter.  This was my first introduction to this fragrant herb.  

She would have African basil, sweet basil and lemon basil. There are well over 100 varieties of these herbal treasures including cinnamon, lime, purple ruffle, and Thai basil.  

 It is rather difficult to consider making chili now with the temperatures soaring, but gardeners must think ahead.   

Red, green and yellow bell peppers are bountiful in our North Central Texas Fall Gardens. Jalapeno, serrano, ancho, cayenne and many more thrive in our gardens.  

We use our herb grinder to blend cumin, garlic powder, and dried peppers to make a wonderful chili powder.

The FarmGirls encourage gardeners to grow herbs in their gardens.  Many of the herbs adapt well in our soil and climate.   

Plant herbs long side your vegetables and harvest veggies and herbs.  Organic vegetable and herb gardeners have it all fresh, local nutritious, pesticide free and flavorful.  

Tune into the FarmGirls Organic Gardening Radio Show every Friday at 1 p.m. on KAAM 770 AM and like us on Facebook: Garden Inspirations, from our garden gate to yours…

 

FarmGirls of Garden Inspirations, a garden education company are Marilyn Simmons and daughter, Donelle Simmons.  You can email us at farmgirls@gardeninspirations-tx.com and join our weekly email by signing up through our website: www.gardeninspirations-tx.com, like us on Facebook!  Tune in every Friday at 1 p.m. to the FarmGirls Organic Radio Show on KAAM 770 AM.