Garden Starter A “How-To”

Houston is a very unique area to grow in. We have four seasons Tropical, Sub-Tropical, Desert and Arctic. This makes it very difficult to know how and what to grow. If you are a flower person and you want to grow beautiful perennials (they die and come back every year) our four days of freezing weather often ruins your investment. If you love a beautiful hydrangea that loves moisture and can handle the freeze our desert temperatures in the summer will ruin your investment. I’m sure this issue is happening all around the globe so I’ve decided for my flowers to go with bulbs! I enjoy flowers like my hydrangea near an indoor window and only take her outside every once in a while.

If you want to start a flower garden that will come back year after year and can deal with a variety of temperatures a great way to go is with bulbs. You can buy bulbs that are dormant ready to root or you can buy bulbs that have flowered already for that instant finished look. If you buy dormant bulbs you could have to plant them in the fall and not expect to see flowers until the spring. Others you can plant and within a few weeks they will flower. It’s up to you. Bulbs and seeds are the least expensive way to go. I prefer bulbs for my flower bed because they come back even after the freezing temperatures.

For the pretty annuals (they die and don’t come back) I like to start with seeds. I am a dollar store junkie when it comes to my garden. It is the most cost effective way to make a mistake and keep making them. With a garden you will have to get accustomed to this fact. I purchase flower seeds as well as a large seeding tray you can pick up in any store that sells seasonal items. To prepare my soil I like to add blood meal fertilizer. For my planting medium I use “garden soil” versus “potting soil” for seeds. After I make my mixture I fill my tray about half-way and I scatter the seeds. Never fill the tray to the top because you will need to cover your seeds. Water your seeds gently or in the bottom water tray until you see all of the soil turn a darker color showing it is saturated. Place under a grow light or in full sun and let the waiting game begin. This method works for all seeds.

For my veggie garden I choose a wide variety of seeds. If you are a beginner I would suggest a salad garden. A salad garden can be grown anywhere, even in containers. To get started with a salad garden I like to suggest a famous five in the seed game:

  • A lettuce
  • A tomato
  • A cucumber
  • A pepper
  • An onion

With these five you can harvest pretty quickly and start enjoying your home grown salad. You will use the same technique used for planting flowers. After my leafy greens start peeking their head from beneath the soil and get about two inches tall, I transfer them to their forever home and lightly fertilize with more blood meal to encourage strong rapid growth. Water is very important when growing your vegetable garden. Unlike some flowers that can tolerate going without water, your fruits and veggies need that water to become nice and juicy or crunchy. One of the most important things you will need if you plan to start your seeds before the spring sets in is a grow light. A grow light will allow you to start your seeds indoors while temperatures are still below 50 degrees.

So to sum it up here’s what you need to get started

  • Seeds or bulbs
  • Garden soil
  • Blood meal fertilizer
  • A planting tray
  • A grow light
  • Larger container or ground to transfer larger plant into
  • Water
  • Sun
  • Time

Steps to take

  • Combine blood meal into soil
  • Add soil to planting tray leaving a little space on the top
  • Place 2 seeds in each soil space
  • Cover lightly with more blood meal soil mix
  • Water until soil is moist
  • Place under a grow light
  • Watch your seeds sprout
  • Fertilize monthly and lightly

Enjoy the fruits (and vegetables ) of your labor! Happy Planting from Lisa’s Lane!

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