My exposure to gardening since our move to Texas has been very limited. I think the first year I wanted to give it a try and planted a hill of zucchini in front of the house. I got a big bushy plant and it grew lots of blossoms. When the blossoms dropped off and little zucchini started to grow, they got about 1" long and then they shriveled up and dropped off. I had planted the seeds in mid-May... something you do not do here in south Texas. It is already too hot by the time the plants are ready to produce. I think it was the following year that a neighbor gave me a couple pieces of a spineless cactus that I stuck in the ground beside the driveway... I did nothing special. The picture of the cactus today shows how much more successful I was at planting cactus. Two little paddles to this massive cactus... I'm impressed.
I have been wanting to have a garden ever since we moved here, but that experience the first year made me realize I had alot to learn before I could become a gardener in Texas. We have some friends that are ranchers, and one of the things they feed their livestock for a treat is some kind of special grain that has molasses on it. This grain comes in big black plastic bins... perfect for a container garden. One of the things that makes gardening so different, besides the climate change, is the soil where we live is almost exclusively sand. I am used to dealing with soil that is closer to clay, so this is really a challenge. Our rancher friend JB gave us about 8 or 10 of the black bins last year and I have been trying to get the courage to try my hand at gardening in these containers. Today I began digging.
Yesterday I stopped at WalMart and picked up some bags of top soil. This morning I started the process of submerging these containers about 1/2 way into the ground. I drilled holes around the base first for drainage. After the bin was in the hole I dug, I put about 1/2 of the sand back in the bottom, then I put a layer of leaves, about an armful, then covered the leaves with some more sand. Then I added a bag of topsoil. Voila, I had a mini garden... so I dug five more holes and ended up with six mini gardens. After I had the first four in place, I planted one with zucchini, another with watermelon, and a third one with basil. These were seeds I had on hand, so if they are not successful, it could be that the seeds are too old. After lunch Ron and I took a ride into town and bought some more topsoil and 2 tomato plants and 2 pepper plants. I also bought some onion plants and a package of green beans. I used one bin for the tomato plants and one bin for the peppers. The last bin I planted the green beans. I had another friend give me a small orange tree that you can see in a smaller container beside the six bins. To the right I planted the onions... directly in the sand, not in any bins. Ron thinks they could be in danger if we get a big rain, but I'm hopeful they will survive.
We shall see how my garden grows. I still may be just a bit too late, but I'm much closer to the right time.