Any experienced gardener will tell you never to stop learning. Don’t wait till you think you “know it all” to begin. Some guidelines are helpful, and plants do have certain needs such as food, water and shelter.
While it’s a nice idea to start off big, think small first. Nature is complicated, and it’s hard to find the right balance. So to avoid getting frustrated, begin with one or two vegetable beds at first.
Soil in our North Texas region is hard to deal with. While you can amend the soil with minerals, a much easier and more economic solution is to build a raised bed. At REAL School Gardens, our beds measure 4 x 8 feet and are built at a depth of 9 inches. We have found that size to permit a fruitful amount of plants while keeping the soil deep enough to hold moisture through our hot Texas summers.
A few tips.…Your beds should be placed in an area that receives six hours of sunlight. You might want to consider their proximity to a water source and their protection from extreme winds. If you walk by your beds everyday, you will notice any problems before they start. Keep an eye on weeds, water and pests.
Soil will rarely have enough nutrients on its own, so add an organic mixture of minerals, sand, clay and fertilizer. Organic fertilizers can be purchased at nurseries and should have enough nitrogen and phosphorous in them. Make sure to fertilize plants as soon as you plant them and after they fruit.
Mulching around your plants with wood chips or hay will help hold in moisture. Make sure your mulch doesn’t touch the stem of the plant or it will rot.
Growing the right plants at the right time is very important. Wherever you live, it is important to consult a local planting calendar.
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