Robert Sullivan, an experienced band director in Austin, TX, has built a career that has earned him regional, state, and divisional awards. In his free time, band director Robert Sullivan enjoys growing vegetables in his home garden.
Vegetable gardening can be difficult for the new gardener, particularly if he or she is also facing the soil and climate differences that tend to vary dramatically even in small geographic areas of Texas. The first step for any Texas gardener is to consult with a master gardener about regional soil types, and to bring the soil as close to a neutral 7.0 pH as possible. If this is not possible or too expensive using the gardener’s home soil, he or she can build a raised bed with six to nine inches of high-quality soil.
Experts suggest that gardeners start with just one to two beds, as the first season or two often requires experimentation and can easily overwhelm the gardener who tries to start out on too large a scale. Whether small or large, however, the garden patch must be in a location that receives at least six hours of full sunlight per day and is close to a reliable water source. Good drainage is also necessary, however, and should prompt garden placement away from swampland.
Finally, the gardener should consult with a local store or planting calendar to select climate-appropriate plants and planting times. Local professionals are particularly useful, as they can provide not only advice but also access to fertilizer, mulch, and other tools that support strong growth.