Spring Gardening in Texas

Photo credit: romanboed via Foter.com / CC BY

Spring is the season of new beginnings, and that also means a rebirth of your garden. It’s time to plant, prune, prepare beds, and care for your lawn. Whether you love to see your flowers in bloom, or you’re planning to create your very own homegrown vegetable garden, your options are endless as you have the choice to bring color and life into your landscaping this spring. Spring gardening in Texas can sometimes be a challenge, but by following these tips and tricks you’ll find success in no time. Get your green thumb ready, it’s the season of growing in your backyard garden.

Photo credit: romanboed via Foter.com / CC BY

10 Expert Tips for Spring Gardening in Texas

To get you started this spring, we’ve compiled 10 of the best tips from gardening experts from across the country. From Better Homes & Garden and the experts at HGTV, to Martha Stewart and the minds at DIY Network, check out the following tips and tricks to begin your spring gardening in Texas:

  1. During Early Spring: Check for signs of growth, prep the beds—remove winter mulch, or if well composted, work into the top layer of the soil, prune your trees, divide perennials, perform basic maintenance—check stonework for front heaves, check and clean your deck, start seeds indoors, and plant veggies. Better Homes & Garden
  2. Order Tools and Plants: Tune up tools so everything is ready when things start growing. Make note of what is missing, and order tools for the new growing season. Choose new plants for the garden. Order perennials, trees, and shrubs for spring planting. – Martha Stewart
  3. 14 Easy-to-Grow Plants this Spring: Lacecap Hydrangea, Stella D’Ora Daylily, Knockout Rose, Florida French Lace Weigela, Jackmanii Clematis, Gingko Craig Hosta, New Guinea Impatients, Thundercloud Plum, Blue Sage, Kristi Chrysanthemum, Large-cupped Daffodil, Scotch Heather, Tickseed, and Gable Azaleas Rhododendron. – DIY Network
  4. Clean Your Pots: To remove the salt deposits that form on clay pots, combine equal parts white vinegar, rubbing alcohol and water in a spray bottle. Apply the mixture to the pot and scrub with a plastic brush. Let the pot dry before you plant anything in it. – HGTV
  5. Take a Soil Test: Check soil pH with a home soil- test kit, taking several samples from different planting areas for an accurate reading. Enrich soil as necessary: Add dolomitic lime to raise the pH or elemental sulfur to lower the pH. – Martha Stewart
  6. During Mid-Spring: Build new flower beds, stop feeding the birds—remove bird feeds until fall, enjoy the spring show, plant hardy annuals, and apply mulch. Better Homes & Garden
  7. Home-remedy For Your Soil: Use leftover tea and coffee grounds to acidify the soil of acid-loving plants such as azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias, gardenias and even blueberries. A light sprinkling of about one-quarter of an inch applied once a month will keep the pH of the soil on the acidic side. – HGTV
  8. Start a Compost Pile: Start a compost pile, or use a compost bin, if you don’t have one already. Begin by collecting plant debris and leaves raked up from the garden. Chop these up first to speed decomposition. Add equal amounts “brown” (carbon-rich) materials like dried leaves and straw and “green” (nitrogen-rich) materials like grass clippings and weeds in even layers with water and a compost bioactivator. Turn regularly. Continue adding to the pile throughout the season for rich, homemade compost next spring. – Martha Stewart 
  9. Add Some Color to Your Garden: You can add vibrant colors to your garden by planting Columbines, Dicentras, Azaleas, Viburnums, Spirea, Lilacs, and Dogwoods. – DIY Network
  10. During Late Spring: Deadhead bulbs—remove spent blossoms from spring-flowering bulbs and let foliage die back without removing it, go shopping—pick out flats of your favorite bedding plants, and prune spring-flowering shrubs. Better Homes & Garden

Spring Gardening in Texas: Vegetable Gardens

Now that you’ve heard some of the tips from gardening’s best, it’s time to turn our attention to another major player in your spring garden: your vegetable garden. The keys to a successful vegetable garden is to maintain a certain level of comfort, security, food, water, and a nice environment.

If you’re creating a vegetable garden from scratch, be sure you start small. Start with just one or two beds, then work your way up to more. As with anything in life, trial and error will become your friend as you move forward. As for the exact size of your beds, you should always try to use raised beds with 6″ of soil—you can even consider raising that number to 9″ of soil to ensure that it will hold enough moisture to get your plants through very hot Texas days.

When choosing a location for your garden, direct sunlight is crucial. It’s no surprise that sunlight is one of the most important ingredients in keeping your vegetable garden happy and healthy. You should also keep in mind that the location should have easy access to a water source, as well as somewhere your garden can drain. Last but not least, never pick a location that is too windy—an area with a slight breeze throughout the day is perfect.

Of course, you’ll also need good soil, fertilizer (a.k.a. food), and mulch. You can purchase a wide variety of different kinds of blended soils from the store that will be perfect for your vegetable garden. When it comes to fertilizer, organic fertilizers with a slow-release work best, and balanced and complete fertilizers are also ideal. Mulch is additionally useful because it helps retain moisture and promotes even soil temperatures.

Last but not least, it’s time to make one of the most important decisions regarding your vegetable garden: what veggies do you want to grow? Keep in mind climate and conditions as you make your choices. Some of the best options to grow during the spring months in South Texas include beans, carrots, egg plants, melons, peas, peppers, potatoes, and watermelon.

For additional gardening tips, check out our article Tree Trimming and Pruning in South Texas. Feel free to share your own gardening tips and tricks with us at the San Antonio Daily Sun Facebook Page.