How Do I Start a Small Vegetable Garden in Texas?

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Starting a small vegetable garden is a great activity to undergo in the fall. Start a small vegetable garden in the fall with help from a social entrepreneur in this free video clip.

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Hi, I'm Holly Hirshberg from Dinnergarden.org. It's Fall, the weather is turning cooler and I'm ready to plant my Fall garden. I decided to go with a raised bed. Our soil here isn't great so I'm going to mix my own soil that way I'm sure my vegetables will grow. First of all I'm going to take my raised bed and I'm going to put some paper down as a weed barrier. Some people use plastic, some people use a weed barrier they buy, you can use newspaper, pretty much we just want to put this down to keep the weeds from growing through. Now when you make your own dirt you have a lot more control over how your plants are going to grow. I'm going to start with potting soil. I picked it up at my local grocery store. It's heavy so be careful when you're doing it. If you need help picking it up, just ask. I'm sure you have a neighbor who would be happy to help you in exchange for some fresh vegetables later in the season. They also sell these in smaller bags too so don't be intimidated and think you have to get the giant bag. If that's too much for you to deal with on your own, get the smaller. There's a lot more dirt in one bag than you think. I love gardening. I especially love the raised beds because they're so much less work during the season then planting in the ground. I'm not going to have to worry about weeds. I'm not going to have to worry about digging in rock. This is just all the fun of gardening without any of the hard work and misery you remember as a child. Next I'm going to add compost. This is a good way to feed your plants. You can make your own compost in your backyard using kitchen scraps. This I'm going to start with some composted manure from my garden store. It's not very expensive and it will give my plants a good start in life and it is composted manure so you don't have to worry about sticking your hands on anything gross. This is called amending your soil. So a lot of times you'll read in those garden books where they say you need to amend your soil, that just means add some nutrients to your plants grow better. We're going to mix, I'm just going to put this on top right now. We're going to mix it all up at the end. Next comes peat moss. Peat moss is kind of hard to deal with because it's really solid in here but that's okay, I'm going to make it happen and you can make it happen too. What peat moss is going to do for the garden is it's going to help it hold water. Here in Texas we're always in drought so we always need to add soil amendments that will keep the water by the plants instead of having my plants dry out. So, I'm going to go ahead and add some peat moss. You can see it's really light and fluffy and just kind of gets everywhere but that's what makes it fun. This peat moss is making me work for it. The good news is it's not heavy. It's just kind of stuck together it's not heavy or painful to deal with, it's pretty light and I really want to get a lot of it in here because I want to give my plants a good chance at getting some water and be able to conserve water in the garden at the same time. There's probably some sort of magic way to do this that other people know about and I don't but this is what you get from me. And part of the fun of being in the garden is all the dirt. Now you can see there's a lot of peat moss in this bag. You can see there's still a lot left. I'll be able to put this in my potted plants too. Alright now we're going to mix it all up. I need it all integrated so that every bit of my plant gets a little bit of everything. We want it to get some of the peat moss for the water retention, some of the compost for the fertilizer and some of the dirt for the other nutrients it needs. So I'm just going to give it a quick mix. It's not heavy because this is all dirt that I've imported. It's all dry, you know, I'm not going to have to worry about rocks or weeds or anything like that. That's why I like this method. I can have this garden up and running in ten minutes. Now the raised garden bed here I made out of a palette that I took apart and put back together in a different way. You can buy the raised beds at the hardware store if you want to do that, however you decide to do it works out just fine. Some people use fencing, I like the wood. Okay I'm going to break up my big clumps here, my dirt's looking pretty nice. I've been out here, I don't know, maybe five minutes doing this so far. So this is not what I remember from my childhood and you probably remember from yours where gardening just took hours to get everything ready. Break up my clumps and then I'm going to be ready to plant. Okay I like being in the dirt so I wanted to get down here and mess with this with my hands. You don't even really need a shovel to mix it. You can see I'm not using any strength here it's just as easy to do with your hands and I tell you it's good exercise as well so if you're looking for a way to add some exercise into your day, gardening is a great way to start. My dirt is looking pretty good. I'm going to go ahead and smooth it out and then you know what, that was quick and easy and I'm ready to plant. Okay it's Fall here in San Antonio, Texas so I'm going to plant some plants that are good for Fall where I grow. Depending on how cold your temperature is where you grow, that's going to depend on what you choose to plant. What I want you to do is just get on the search engine real quick and do a quick search of what to plant in your area so you'll know you're planting the right stuff. I'm going to plant peppers because that's going to grow really well here in Fall. I think I'll do some eggplants. I have a tomato over there and I'll put in some leafy greens, I'm not sure which one I'm going to pick Yet. You want to plant what you like to eat. The first time you grow a garden, stick with what you know. You don't want to branch out too much, because if you end up growing something that you don't like you're just going to be miserable. So let me go ahead and get one of these peppers out. Now one pepper plant can produce, you know, 20, 30, 40 pounds of peppers so I don't want to put in all four. Six peppers came in a pack from my nursery. You can just as easily plant these from seeds. I'm getting started a little bit late in the season, so I wanted to get my plants already going. If you decide to plant from seeds, you're going to want to start them indoors a couple weeks before they're supposed to go in the ground. That way they get a little height on them and they're better ready for the season. I'm going to take these apart very gently because you can see, we have the roots there and I don't want to traumatize my plant. Moving a plant is going to be hard on the plant so just try and do things gently. There's the one I'm going to plant. I'm going to loosen up the roots just a little bit here. You can use a trowel. I just use my hands, my dirt is soft and easy to work with. I'm going to put my pepper into the dirt, cover it up. I have peppers ready to go. Alright next I'm going to do eggplants. I have my sunglasses on because the sun keeps coming back. I had overcast earlier, it was really nice. It's getting a little hotter now. I'm going to pick the eggplant with the flower already on it because you know what, because I want to feel successful in my garden faster so that's the one I'm going to use, dig a hole, put it in and I'm good to go. Next I'm going to plant kale, I love kale, really good for you. You can eat it so many different ways. My favorite, bake it, is kale chips with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, so I'm really excited about the kale. Pull it out of the container, again, you can grow it just as easily from seeds, don't feel like you have to buy it from the garden store. I'm going to dig a hole, put it in. I'm almost done with my garden, can you believe it? Less than ten minutes. My last thing I'm going to plant, bush beans. I love fresh beans from the garden. This one came two to a container so what I'm going to have to do is break this up so that it's not competing for root space. I'm just going to kind of break it apart really gently. Again, you don't want to traumatize your plants so just do it really really gently, kind of shake off the dirt as you go. We're going to separate them, they survived. I'll plant that one somewhere else. I can plant that one in a container in my front yard or something. Put it in here, there we go. I only planted four things. I have about enough root space here for these four. I just don't want to overwhelm myself with too many things to care for. This is a great starter garden. I'm going to get a lot of vegetables from this and then next year when I'm a little more confident, I can put in another garden and grow even more. Next I have to water. I'm in a community garden so I don't have a water supply. I have to bring in my water. If you have a hose, use your hose. I just brought in my cooler because it's portable, it's easy. I filled it up with tap water, have a cup and I'm just going to water my plants. You're going to want to keep these kind of wet, so maybe come out every day just depending on the heat where you live or your rain. We don't have rain here in Texas so I have to water a lot. If you have rain where you live, you'll have to water less. Give my plants some water, they're ready to go. There's my beautiful Fall garden in under ten minutes.

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