Whether you’re a first-time homeowner, dedicated gardener, or landscape professional, if you’re gardening on the Gulf Coast, you need Howard Garrett’s Plants for Houston and the Gulf Coast. Garrett is one of Texas’s top organic gardening experts, and gardeners rely on him for accurate, sensible advice about what to plant and how to maintain healthy yards and landscapes without synthetic fertilizers and toxic pesticides. In Plants for Houston and the Gulf Coast, Garrett presents nearly 400 plants, both native and adapted, that grow well in Southeast Texas.
Like all of Howard Garrett’s books, Plants for Houston and the Gulf Coast is loaded with indispensable gardening information:
- Nearly 400 trees, shrubs, groundcovers and vines, annuals and perennials, and grasses
- 400 full-color, close-up photos of the plants
- Expert information about each plant’s appearance, growing requirements, landscape uses, potential problems, and other interesting facts
- Precise, easy-to-follow instructions about how to design a garden, prepare the soil, install trees and other plants, grow grass and control weeds, and maintain the landscape and control pests
- A detailed gardening calendar for Southeast Texas that lists specific plants to plant and maintenance tasks to perform each month
Excellent book for novice and pro gardeners alike. Going to local nurserys and picking out plants based on what looks nice can translate into loads of frustration, expense, and disappointment. Here is a book that gives the reader a some degree of confidence that one can plant a garden and / or landscape that will actually thrive under our unique climate conditions. The number of plant and trees he has listed along with the detail specification on where and how to grow the plants have given me renewed confidence and inspiration to beautify my bayou jungled backyard.
Garrettt provides succinct information in an easily accessible manner. Photographs are lovely and leave no question about plant identification. It is an excellent guide as well as reference.
- Contrary to popular belief, growing an organic garden doesn’t mean you’re one step away from joining a commune or living off the land. It just means you want healthier food, bereft of the harsh chemicals that are used by mass-producing farms. Here are some tips to ensure that your garden will always grow.
Making your own compost for organic gardening is extremely simple and easy to do. It provides soil of gardens with rich nutrients and keeps soil cool during summer months. You can use kitchen waste, sawdust, aquarium water, coffee grounds, tea leaves, rabbit or hamster droppings, a thin layer of lawn clippings, spices and eggshells in your compost.
Keep the temperature in your home between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, if you are keeping or growing any kind of plant in your house. It is important for them to be kept in this temperature range if they are to grow properly. If you don’t want you house to be really warm during the cold season, you could use a heat lamp on organic plants instead.
Your plants need to be fed properly as soon as they start sprouting leaves. If you did not use compost in your soil, you have to fertilize your plants. You can mix water with a liquid fish or sea weed solution and spray it on your plants, or add this mix to the water in which your trays and pots are bathing.
Make sure your seeds have enough room to grow. It is fine to have many seeds in one container before they sprout, but you will have to replant them as they grow. Use containers that are actually big enough for one plant, and avoid having more than one plant in each container.
Manage your garden hose to prevent frustration. Garden hoses, especially longer or heavy duty ones, can become unwieldy and annoying when you have to drag them around the garden, all twisted up. Invest in a portable hose reel or a stationary one, depending on your garden configuration, to more easily manage your garden hose and make storing it fast and easy.
Use mulch to fertilize your beds. You have to make sure you spread mulch evenly, as you need a certain quantity and do not want to waste any of it. Sprinkle mulch as best as you can and use a rack to spread it flatly and evenly. Make sure you cover all the areas that need it.
When building or maintaining a compost pile, it is important not to add coal ash or charcoal to the pile. Both ash and charcoal have high amounts of iron and sulfur, as well as other unwanted chemicals, that may pollute the soil and potentially harm the health of your plants.
If your yard’s soil isn’t as healthy as you want, or has been contaminated in some way, you can still grow organic produce using raised beds. You can use wood, brick or stone for the border. Make sure that it is at least 16 inches high so that there is room for the roots. Fill it with organic soil and compost.
Organic fertilizers are better for the soil than chemical fertilizers. The soil will absorb the organic fertilizer of its essential nutrients and natural substances which will foster growth in plants. This is ideal because you are not adding unwanted chemicals to the soil that might harm plants long-term. The key to successful organic gardening is building healthy soil so that plants will thrive today and for future seasons.
Yes, there is a stigma that comes with the word “organic,” but that’s because most people fail to realize that the word organic, basically means natural. In fact, growing organic is as natural as you can possibly get. So make sure to use these gardening tips when you’re ready to grow organic food.