Do you live in Houston and wish to grow your own garden? The soil and weather conditions of every city are different and this directly changes the way you should do your gardening to get a healthy garden. Here are some gardening tips for Houston gardens.
All plants can be started from seeds, but starting plants from seeds will be more time- consuming because seedlings require more care. Although buying small plants from a nursery is more expensive than buying seeds, the plants are already established and it will be easier to grow plants with a higher production rate.
If you start plants from seeds, you can either plant them in a smaller pot and leave them somewhere separate from your larger outdoor garden, or you can plant the seeds directly into your garden. When planting seeds, you should water them immediately upon planting them and then continue to gently water them every 2 or 3 days. Once the seed sprouts, cautiously water them so you do not knock the plant down or break its stem. If you start your seedlings in separate containers from your garden, you should move them to your garden when they are 2 or 3 inches tall
Houston doesn’t get cold until late November/December, so we must plant our fall crops much later than recommended in most planting guides or on seed packets. We don’t really plant for a winter season because Houston’s temperature is relatively warm and not suited for cold-weather plants.
Spring and summer crops can be planted 1-2 months earlier than recommended (depending on the temperature recommendations on the seed packets), and fall plants need to be planted 1-2 months later than recommended (depending on temperature).
- Spring: Lima beans, asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, lettuce, onions, spinach, tomatoes
- Summer (Plant in April): Peppers, watermelon, eggplants, okra, beans, snap peas, cucumbers, cantaloupe, squash, tomatoes, gourds, sweet potatoes.
- Fall (Plant in Oct.-Dec.): Collard greens, mustard greens, bok choy, pok choy, leafy Asian greens, cabbage, carrots, beets, turnips, onions, radish, kale, lettuce, peas, arugula, chard, spinach.
Many herbs will grow year-round in Houston, such as basil, rosemary, lavender and lemon balm. You can always cook with/consume your herbs raw, but if you want to dry them out, the best time to do so is right when they begin to flower. You will begin to see small flowers and seeds/seedpods form on the herb, which is an indicator that the plant is about to flower and throw its seeds.
Weeds will rob the nutrients from your plants, so weeding is a necessity of gardening. If you spot weeds daily, you will be able to control the weed population more successfully. When weeding, make sure to remove the entire plant (root included) so it doesn’t grow back from the root. Also, make sure you are not weeding a smaller plant you may have started from a seedling.
If weeds are a problem in your garden (e.g. during the summer when they rapidly grow), you can cover the soil around your plants. To successfully cover your soil you should first weed the bed to the best of your ability. Then spread newspaper (2 or 3 papers thick) over the top of the soil. Be careful not to cover any of your intended plants. After spreading your newspaper, water it thoroughly. This will both keep the paper from flying from the bed due to wind and allow the newspaper to form to the shape of the beds. If you cover your beds in newspaper you will have to water your beds longer to ensure the water is soaking through the newspaper. The newspaper will keep the soil from getting scorched and it is great food for the worms. The paper will eventually break down and you can cover it with soil or compost without worry.
These are some pointers to grow a healthy garden in Houston.