Updated: Dec 14, 2020
Whether you were testing out your green thumb, or, like many, planting a COVID Victory Garden, 2020 saw a "bumper crop" of home gardeners spring up locally and nationwide. Library staff got in on the action, experimenting with planting fruits and vegetables in a variety of containers and locales: in-ground, on patios in planters, and in raised beds.
Given North Texas' unique growing region, garden pests, and temperamental temperatures, staff had more success with some plants than others. Check out the results below!
Library Tech Specialist Kelley shows off his (delicious!) pickled Yellow Lemon Cucumbers, one of the many successful vegetables he grew in his patio garden with seeds from our Seed Library, including tomatoes and a variety of peppers.
Library Manager Lynette had great luck with potatoes and squash, but not much else. A promising Blue Lake green bean harvest turned into the neighborhood squirrel buffet. The Texas heat proved too much for her peppers, melons, and cucumbers, causing buds to drop and leaves to wither no matter how much she watered them. She sacrificed her cabbages as "decoy" plants to save the other greens, and was able to enjoy homemade salads with fresh lettuces, tomatoes, and onions.
Audrey II, the monster green
patty-pan squash plant.
An initially unidentifiable plant turned out to be a green patty-pan squash that grew so big and produced so prolifically that Lynette named it "Audrey II" after the plant in "Little Shop of Horrors." Potatoes proved surprisingly easy to grow, and red-skinned potatoes with fresh rosemary and sea salt provided a savory side for many meals. Her sweet potato experiment had some surprising results: black grow-bags and hay bales worked better than the raised beds; the roots even grew through the bottom of the grow-bags into the ground! Slips taken from organic and regular potatoes grew equally well and produced several potatoes 6"-8" long. The raised beds produced lots of vines, but tiny potatoes; the suspected culprit was too-rich soil.
With the exception of the potatoes, all plants were grown from seeds borrowed from the Little Elm Public Library Seed Library. Patrons can check out packets of organic, heirloom, and non-GMO seeds for six month checkout periods. If your harvest isn't fruitful, don't worry: you don't have to return the seeds, just notify library staff to remove them from your record, and try again next season! See what's new in the Seed Library by visiting the catalog at www.littleelmlibrary.org.
Want more North Texas growing tips for spring? Visit the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension's page at https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu, and don't forget to visit the site of our friends at the Denton County Master Gardener Association for virtual presentations and gardening tips suitable for all skill levels: https://dcmga.com.