The easiest garden for a first-time gardener to start with is a fall garden. One advantage is you can get your garden established without battling the challenges of the Texas sun and heat. Start small at first. You can expand your garden later.
Some vegetable to consider are: broccoli, arugula, spinach, Swiss chard, lettuce (Romaine & Black-Seeded Simpson) and carrots. These need to be planted by September to get a complete growing season. Do not plant squash, tomatoes, cucumber or any warm season vegetable like these because they do not have time to mature for harvest before our first killing frost. Choose the right variety for Texas. Avoid plants suggested for other regions. We want your gardening experience to be a successful one.
When you prepare your garden bed, use an ample amount of compost (at least 6 inches). Work the compost into the soil no deeper than 12 inches (90% of plants roots reside in the top foot of soil). Be sure to check out our Texas Pure Compost.
If you choose to get your garden bed ready for planting next spring rather than tending veggies through the winter, you will want to let your garden bed lie unplanted or tilled over the winter. You can then plant in the spring mulching after planting your little plants. You can also plant a cover crop like cereal rye in August or September which will grow through the winter and adds nitrogen to the soil. This enriches the soil even more over the winter months. In the spring hoe or till the cereal rye under the soil, this natural nitrogen feeds your new spring plantings beautifully. The cover crop also adds organic matter to your soil and keeps your garden soil from flying away in the wind. Farmers have been utilizing this organic method of delivering nitrogen to the soil for hundreds of years. Cereal rye is also a beautiful rich green and grows about 12-inches high. This form of delivering nitrogen to the soil is called a green manure.
Remember only choose varieties of plants for this region regardless of whether they are vegetables or landscape plantings for gardening success. Doing a raised bed and need soil? Try our Texas Pure Planting Mix, a nice blend of soil and compost for a nurturing beginning. A step up from this product is our Powerful Potting Mix but you have to order it in advance if you need bulk. It includes shale and worm castings to add an extra boost of minerals and nutrition.
We’d love to watch your garden grow. Feel free to share photos with us on our Texas Pure Products Facebook page. It’s a great place to learn about upcoming gardening classes, plant sales and other gardening resources. Happy planting!