Question: How much land do I need to have a vegetable/herb garden?
Answer: Very little! A small 4 foot by 4 foot patch of ground can provide a nice organic bounty year-round. Additionally, adding a trellis allows vegetables like peas, beans and cucumbers to grow up and not out, creating a vertical garden. Yes, even your new micro-yard in the Mueller Complex can have a great garden! 🙂
Container gardens are another great option, especially for growing delicious herbs or those juicy summer tomatoes.
Question: I’ve heard of lots of different kinds of gardening – raised beds, in-ground, no-till. Which is the best way to garden?
There is no “best way” to garden. Any garden is better than no garden at all and each garden, just like each person, is unique. Gardens should not be cookie-cutter. The best garden is the one you like to spend time in. For a detailed account of many of the most common forms of gardening see our blog post here.
Question: Do I have to have a raised bed garden?
No. Many parts of Austin and Central Texas have great soil for gardening. In our experience the majority of people who used raised beds do so for aesthetic purposes. They look beautiful! There is nothing wrong with that! Now, if you have no soil and live on limestone a raised bed may be the only way to go. Soils very high in clay can also benefit from being raised, but the addition of compost can also mitigate the high clay soils as well. Keep in mind, soil has to come from somewhere. There is an environmental cost. A raised bed will have higher inputs than amending the soil you have naturally in your yard.
Question: How much sunlight do I need?
Answer: While some herbs can tolerate full shade most vegetable plants need about 6 hours of sunlight to be productive. Morning sunlight is better is than evening sunlight if light is limited as morning light helps dry moisture on plant leaves and decreases the chance for various pathogens to damage your plants.
Texas has an abundance of sun and many vegetable plants benefit from some shade, especially in the afternoon and evenings. Growing in partial shade can extend you summer growing season in central Texas and increase the productivity of your garden. So, shade can be good! If you have to much sun, consider adding a shade cloth over your garden.
Question: I live in the Hill County and my yard is nothing but limestone rock! Can I still grow a vegetable and herb garden?
Answer: Absolutely! Using raised bed gardens (imagine a cedar box filled with soil, compost and healthy microbes) you can grow your own bounty of vegetables and herbs. It takes a little more effort up front but with the use of organic gardening methods your garden will be productive for as long as you like. In fact, many people prefer raised beds in order to control their growing environment to an even greater degree. They also look cool. 😉 So raised beds aren’t just for bad, rocky soil!
Question: What kind of vegetables and herbs can I grow in central Texas?
Answer: It’s easier to name what you cannot grow! Central Texas in has 3 great growing seasons (Spring, Fall and Winter) and one brutal season (Summer). During that time you can grow just about anything from Artichoke to Zucchini. Interested in herbs? Download our herb garden checklist. Is the plant you are looking for not on our list? Not a problem. Send us note and we’ll see if it can grow here and what it takes to get plants or seeds.
Question: I have deer and other native wildlife in my yard. Can I still grow a vegetable garden?
Answer: Yes, but you’ll have to take precautions. Native Texas wildlife can decimate a garden overnight. Deer are especially destructive but feral hogs in rural fringe areas are just as bad. Various commercial products are available to deter deer but nothing works as well as a good fence. This can either be a multi-wire electrical fence, a large 8-foot tall fence or a more practical (and economical!) small curved fences protecting just your garden spaces. Compact solar-electric units can be set up in garden spaces away from convenient electrical plugs. Organic control methods include planting deer-repelling plants especially aromatic herbs like thyme, sage, mint, and lavender. Squirrels and birds can damage crops like tomatoes and netting and caging can deter both.
Question: Do I need an irrigation system?
While an irrigation system is not necessary, most gardens benefit from the reliable application of water a system provides. It is also one more thing you don’t have to think about if you have your water on a timer. Systems to not have to be elaborate or expensive to work. A drip hose on a battery powered timer can make a huge difference. We’ve had good luck purchasing from DripDepot.com. We can say for a fact, the Bohemian Bounty gardens on irrigation systems in 2009 were more productive than those not on a system.
Question: Does Bohemian Bounty install irrigation systems?
No. Texas law requires irrigators to be fully licensed with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality in order to protect the quality and safety of our drinking water. Jennifer has completed all TCEQ irrigator training in order to be fully informed on the complexities of irrigation systems but we are not licensed and do not perform installations. We refer our customers to Cougar Irrigation who does quality work and understands the needs of gardeners. Additionally, since Jennifer has been through the training we can work with your irrigation specialist to determine the specific needs of your garden plants.
As a home owner, you can install your own irrigation system. We recommend the simple drip kit systems to get you started.