There’s something uniquely wonderful about gardening. You take a seed or tiny plant and with a little tending to and water you’ll watch it grow and mature over time. If you’re planning your first garden in your new home, you probably know the weather and the soil in Texas can be a bit of a challenge, but a green thumb isn’t a requirement to have a beautiful garden. Arm yourself with some tips, roll up your sleeves and get your hands in the dirt to get your garden growing.
Get Familiar with Your Property
Just as location is important when buying your home, finding the right area(s) in your yard to plant is essential. Take a walk around your property and think of which spots would be best to plant in for overall aesthetics and enjoyment. Consider any existing landscaping you’ll want to add to or complement; if you have a patio, deck, pool or other hard landscaping, take some photos to help you map out a plan. You may not have thought about choosing a particular style, but think of your garden the same as you would your interior design. It may be useful to have a clear vision of what you want your yard to look like, and a little inspiration can help.
Consider Sunlight, Moisture and Soil
Not every spot in your yard will be ideal for planting so be sure to pick locations based on three important factors: sunlight, moisture and soil. Sun exposure through most of the day (at least six hours on average) is important for many types of flowers and vegetable plants, and Central Texas is blessed with a lot of it all year round. If you have spots in your yard that become waterlogged during heavy rain or any low-lying sites it’s best to avoid planting here. Ideally the soil should be loose, moist and well-drained, but if you’re dealing with heavy clay or dry, sandy soil, the addition of mulch should help.
Pick the Right Plants
Texas has been known to experience periods of drought, so plant accordingly and research native drought-tolerant plants to make the best selections. Varieties like Live Oak, Desert Willow, Texas Redbud, Texas Persimmon and Crape Myrtle are great choices. For year-round beauty, select plants that bloom in different seasons as well as perennials and annuals to add interest.
Some of our favorites to add a splash of color are:
- Bluebonnets: Our state flower does very well in Central Texas. Plant in the fall and supplement with new seedlings in the spring.
- Daffodils: Plant bulbs by the end of January for spring blooms.
- Blackfoot daisy: Blooms in the summer and thrives in dry conditions.
- Iris: Great for planting on slopes to control erosion.
- Turks cap: A hardy perennial that attracts hummingbirds.
- Larkspurs: An easy to grow annual that keeps deers at bay.
Start at the Right Time
Nothing spells disaster for your garden more than starting at the wrong time. Seeds can be started indoors as early as February, but as a general rule you should hold off on any outdoor planting until the soil is dry enough to work with in the spring.
The Texas climate is typically good for a home vegetable garden when following a planting calendar like this one:
- Early March: Beets, celery, kale, lettuce, spinach, cauliflower and parsnips.
- Late March: Watermelon, peas, beans, okra, sweetcorn and squash.
- Early April: Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and cucumbers.
- Late April: Sweet potatoes, peas, corn and pumpkins.
With a little love, a lot of watering and these easy gardening tips, you’ll be sure to plant your roots in your new home in no time.