Vegetables and Fruit forum: A budget friendly veggie garden in Texas

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Sboulter01
Jul 23, 2013 4:53 PM CST
Keys for preparing new garden zone 8 cent tex 20 x 20 on limited budget
Name: Vicki
North Carolina
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I sent a postcard to Randy! Region: United States of America
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vic
Jul 23, 2013 5:01 PM CST
Welcome!

Veggie garden or flower garden or both?

I'll let someone from TX answer your question Thumbs up
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
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Newyorkrita
Jul 23, 2013 5:27 PM CST
Welcome! Welcome to ATP.

Honestly I don't know anything about when to start a garden in your area. But you could prepare your soil this year for an early start in spring. If that is your plan, I would put down layers of newspaper or cardboard and pile organic matter on top to leave it all winter. Leaves, grass clippins, straw. coffee grounds and compost all work really well.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
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RickCorey
Jul 24, 2013 1:37 PM CST
I agree that prepping the soil should start ASAP.

Dig up the planned bed now to kill weeds or remove sod. If you don't grow veggies this fall, sow some cover crop to enrich and loosen the soil and keep the weeds down. Mulch like hay or straw or leaves greatly reduces weeding and watering.

Collect leaves, coffee grounds, paper, grass clippings, yard waste and kitchen scraps for composting or directly burying. If you leave them in a pile over the winter, you'll have great compost by spring.

Cover crops and compost can eliminate the need for fertilizer.

Know what veggies you like and what your family will eat. It doesn't help if you grow things that are easy and productive in your climate, if your family doesn't like it.

If it's cheap in the supermarket, don't waste space and time growing it, unless you want better-tasting and more nutritious version.

THEN, figure out if the things you want will grow where you live. Unfortunately, "Zone 8" only says the coldest an average winter is likely to get. I'm also Zone 8, but the coastal Pacific NorthWet is very unlike any part of Texas!

What-grows-well, and when-to-sow-it, and whether it does better started indoors in trays or pots, is a very local question.

I think that, in most parts of Texas, cool-season crops can only be grown in the Fall. Even heat-loving crops may need to be sandwiched into spring & fall, because mid-summer burns almost everything to a crisp.

Dave has a Fall and a Spring planting calendar under "Webapps".
Enter a zipcode or city and state
http://garden.org/apps/calendar/?q=Dallas%2C+TX
http://garden.org/apps/calendar/

For example, from Dave's Fall calendar fore Dallas:
"... beans, cowpeas, corn, squashes, pumpkins, cucumbers, watermelons, gourds and sunflowers, you should plant those seeds directly into the ground around August 12."

"Most tomatoes, peppers and eggplants, for example, require around 100 days to harvest, therefore you'd want to transplant those into the ground around August 17"


Can you water a veggie bed? That plus some afternoon shade may let you grow more things during a heat wave.

Try to find out what your neighbors plant and when they plant them. If you plan to start seedlings indoors, trade seedlings for seeds. Once you know you can grow certain things, offer to trade some of that variety for whatever a neighbor has lots of. They may already know what they like enough to grow, but would still try out some new variety that you grew. Like tomatoes or unusual greens.

Your local Co-operative probably has lists of crops suitable to local climate, but that should probably be at the County level, not state-wide. I'm not sure which counties are in central Texas.
http://www.csrees.usda.gov/Extension/texas.html
http://counties.agrilife.org/


For swapping plants and local advcie, try Dave's "Member Map" to find ATP memebers who live right near you. Hover your mouse over the dfots and sometimes a member names will pop up.
http://garden.org/users/memberlist/map.php



Last, if you don't get many Texans responding in this forum, try a similar question in the Texas forum. Mention your county and a few specifics like whether you have beds already prepared, good or bad soil, novice or experienced gardener, whether you plan to plant whole fields of corn or just a few rows of beans.
http://garden.org/forums/view/texas/
[Last edited by RickCorey - Jul 24, 2013 1:43 PM (+)]
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Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jul 24, 2013 5:05 PM CST
Here's a new thread that may go into starting up a new bed:
The thread "Tips for starting a new garden bed" in All Things Gardening forum

P.S. I guess you would not be growing much corn in a 20' x 20' plot.

You might consider whether it's possible to make it 4' x 100' or even 3' x 140'.
Or maybe 5 beds, each 4' x 20', with a 12" or 18" walkway between each. You can shovel soil from the paths onto the beds, giving more root zone in the beds. if the paths are excavated down to subsoil, it MIGHT discourage weeds from sprouting in the paths.

The narrower it is, the easier it is to reach the whole bed without walking on the soil, which leaves your soil much less compacted. If there are no unused soil between rows, there's much less to weed.

But watering is harder. And grass has more edges to invade from.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jul 24, 2013 5:13 PM CST
Here's a new thread that may talk about starting up a new bed:
The thread "Tips for starting a new garden bed" in All Things Gardening forum

They expanded on the idea of "pile compost makings on top of your bed-to-be" by using the "official" names "lasagna gardening" and sheet composting. That is the best way to look up the details.

The way that I think about compost is that the only hard part is collecting enough organic stuff to use. Once you have lots of greens and browns, almost anything you do with them will enrich your soil. The main advantage to getting fancy with compost is that you can make it break down faster.

P.S. I guess you would not be growing much corn in a 20' x 20' plot.

You might consider whether it's possible to make it 4' x 100' or even 3' x 140'.
Or maybe 5 beds, each 4' x 20', with a 12" or 18" walkway between each. You can shovel soil from the paths onto the beds, giving more root zone in the beds. if the paths are excavated down to subsoil, it MIGHT discourage weeds from sprouting in the paths.

The narrower it is, the easier it is to reach the whole bed without walking on the soil, which leaves your soil much less compacted. If there are no unused soil between rows, there's much less to weed. And it's easy to put some hoops and plastic film over a narrow bed, protecting crops from Spring cold snaps and early Fall frosts. Or to add summer shade covers.

But watering a narrow bed efficiently is harder, unless you have dripline, T-tape or soaker hoses.. And a narrow bed has more edges for grass to invade from.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jul 24, 2013 6:33 PM CST
Here's a related thread:
All Things Gardening forum: Tips for starting a new garden bed
The thread "Tips for starting a new garden bed" in All Things Gardening forum


Spot-composting tips and discussion threads:
http://garden.org/ideas/view/rebeccag/357/Compost-Here-and-T...
http://garden.org/ideas/view/postmandug/350/Bury-Your-Compos...

Fall garden maintenance:
http://garden.org/ideas/view/goldfinch4/111/Fall-Flower-Gard...

using wood as underground compost and water-retaining layer:
http://garden.org/ideas/view/dave/41/Building-a-Hugelkultur-...


http://garden.org/ideas/view/plantladylin/376/A-Quick-Tip-Ab...



[Last edited by RickCorey - Jul 24, 2013 6:42 PM (+)]
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