The month of April is the essence of Houston springtime. With mild temperatures and steady rainfall, this month is perfect for planting a vegetable garden. Having a vegetable garden is not just about having fresh produce on hand, it is an educational and rewarding experience the entire family can do together. You don’t even have to have a green thumb to make your first try successful. To get your first batch of veggies up and growing, follow these five tips to for foolproof plants.
- Choose seeds that are compatible with Houston’s climate. Before choosing the vegetables you would like to grow, consult with a local nursery about vegetables that flourish in Houston weather. These vegetables include tomatoes, beans, green beans, cucumbers and collard greens. Avoid asparagus, Brussels sprouts, iceberg lettuce and other veggies that aren’t susceptible to Houston’s climate.
- Plant your vegetable seeds in the perfect soil. There are many types of soil uses for various purposes. If you aren’t familiar with soil, you could choose the wrong one and deprive your vegetables of valuable nutrients. Consult with your local nursery to find the soil with just the right organic material and pH balance for the vegetables you’re wishing to plant.
- Start your seeds indoors. To protect delicate seedlings from drastic fluctuations in Houston weather, grow your seeds indoors. Growing your seeds indoors gives you the opportunity to control the amount of light and water your new plants will receive. In fact, starting indoors will result in more of your seeds germinating. After seeds have become big and strong enough, they can be transplanted to an outdoor garden.
- Use fertilizer. Adding fertilizer to the soil can produce vibrant, plump vegetables. The right fertilizer recipe can be tailored based on the vegetables you are growing. Whether you decide to use chemical or organic fertilizer, your local nursery can assist you with finding the right balance.
- Protect your garden from weeds and pests. Weeds and pests can destroy a garden. Weeds take all the nutrients from the soil and choke your vegetables. An infestation of pests can eat your plants and destroy your harvest. Be diligent and remove weeds from your vegetable garden immediately. Pesticides may be used to get rid of bugs and insects, but do not use them if your vegetables are already sprouting.
Houston, TX 77081
Hours: Mon to Sat -7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sun -10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Southwest Fertilizer offers chemicals and fertilizers to care for Houston gardens. You’ll find a variety of products tailored to the unique needs of your vegetable garden. Southwest Fertilizer boasts of one of the most extensive selection of organic fertilizers in the Houston area.
C & D Hardware
314 E. 11th St.
Houston, TX 77008
Hours: Mon to Fri – 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Sat – 9 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; Sun – 10:00 a.m. to 5 p.m.
C & D Hardware has all of your gardening needs. Whether you need the tools to get the job done or the accessories to look the part, C & D Hardware is your one-stop shop. The store has served the historic Houston Heights area for over 50 years.
Houston Farmer’s Market at Rice Village
2100 University Blvd.
Houston TX, 77005
Hours: Tues – 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
If your family cannot eat your bountiful harvest by themselves, you might want to take your veggies to the Houston Farmer’s Market at Rice Village and sell them. At the Farmer’s Market, you will meet other farmers who are dedicated to bringing locally grown produce to Houstonians. Visiting the Farmer’s Market also gives you the opportunity to learn new tricks of the trade for growing an even better garden next season.
For more great tricks, tips and advice about your home, visit CBSHouston/YourHome.
Amber E. Wilson is an educator, writer, and entrepreneur who lives in Houston, Texas. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Masters of Business Administration degree. She is also the founder and Executive Director of a nonprofit home high school that helps teens earn their diploma. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.