Whether you're dipping your toes into gardening or want to build a full scale garden for spring, this should give you some insight on where to start. If you want gardening help in the Austin, TX area, then send us an email: email@example.com
What is your gardening zone?
Knowing your gardening zone is extremely important and the number one thing you need to research before starting any kind of garden.
Why is this important?
Your gardening zone is important because it will tell what to plant, when to plant it, what to expect from seasons, and what seeds or trees you should stick clear of OR when they should be planted. Your gardening, or growing, zone will also tell you how hardy something needs to be in order to survive.
What kind of growing do you want to do?
Knowing what kind of growing you want to do will allow you to decide what you want to grow and where it should go. If you want to just grow herbs, then you will not need as large of a plot as you would if you were growing herbs and vegetables. Additionally, you could grow herbs in simple pots rather than building a garden.
This photo is a small H2Grow herb garden built for a small patio space in Austin, TX.
In ground or raised bed?
Neither of these options are the "easy route" because building a proper garden takes some time, but it is not necessarily difficult. These two options both start with basic gathering of materials and pre-garden information.
Where is your garden going? Use your compass app and point it in the east direction and map it to the west overhead. If there are any large shadows or objects blocking the sun from the garden.
Source your manure based compost. I recommend getting it from a materials yard because it will waste less plastic and save you money overall.
Both of your options for gardens should use compost. Using just straight compost will ensure that your plants have the nutrients they need for the entire season. It also means fertilizing isn't necessary because you'll be topping your garden with fresh compost every season.
(Optional) Irrigation. If you are considering setting up irrigation, then I highly recommend doing it. It might seem like a huge project but it's very simple once you have all the right pieces. Not only does this make watering easy, but it can automate your watering if you are ever concerned about forgetting or going out of town. I like to get all of my irrigation materials from dripdepot.com
(Optional) Landscape fabric. Landscape fabric is a wonderful way to prevent weeds and lay rows. In regenerative farming, the goal is to preserve and encourage soil health. The main way to practice this is by not destroying or disturbing the soil. This means no heavy machinery because it destroys soil and further compacts it, we don't want this. You can use landscape fabric as a permanent weed barrier mat at the very bottom of your raised beds or you can lay it in the walkways of your in-ground beds for a tidy look and less weeding.
This photo was a garden makeover the H2Grow took on in 2021. The before is the above photo and the after is the completed in-ground beds with landscape fabric, trellising, and irrigation.
Where to get your plants?
You have many options when it comes to sourcing your plants. You could either buy them when you are ready to plant or seed them yourself. I would highly recommend starting your own plants from seed. Some plants, mostly herbs, can be very tricky to seed and raise; rosemary, thyme, lavender, and oregano are some of the more difficult ones to raise from seed but definitely try your hand.
Seeding vs Buying
Avid gardeners love to collect seeds, collecting seeds becomes a hobby in own. There are so many varieties out there of different vegetables and herbs. If you are going to buy and seed your own there are some very important rules to follow so your seeds grow into strong, healthy plants. Sources for buying seeds: Johnnys Seeds , Baker Creek Seed Co
Make sure your have a consistently warm and light area for starting your seeds. If you have constant light, your seeds are more likely to sprout quickly rather than going with just natural sunlight. Constant warmth will also ensure that your seeds germinate quickly. Keep your soil moist. Keeping your soil moist, warm, and lit will ensure that your seeds sprout. Keep in mind the germination rate of your seeds. Some seeds take longer than others so be patient.
Once your seeds have sprouted, it is a good rule of thumb to up pot after the first two true leaves have grown. This means, put the seedling into a bigger pot only once the first two leaves have grown that aren't the sprouting leaves. Once up potted, allow soil to dry a bit everyday rather than keeping the soil constantly wet. This allows the roots to grow stronger and deeper in search of water.
This chart shows when to start seeds indoors, plant the seeds, when to transplant, and when to harvest. IF the vegetable is a root vegetable, sow the seed directly into the garden. It is important for the root development of the vegetable to grow directly into the ground. Any fruit to vegetable that needs to be trellised is also recommended to be planted directly into the ground. Examples of these are cucumbers, watermelons, squashes. Also corn and beans should be directly seeded into the ground.
When buying starter plants, the best source is a local nursery, always. If you do not have access to a local nursery then Lowes or Home Depot must be your go-to. Make sure the leaves look healthy and there is no fruit on them yet.
Austin, Texas Area
If you are in the Austin, Texas area and would like to arrange for a garden consultation, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
H2Grow can build your dream garden whether it is a small space garden, huge in-ground garden, or raised bed garden in Austin! Check out our Instagram to see more of our past garden projects. Custom Gardens | H2Grow