Tough Growing Conditions

January 31, 2006

Facing tough growing conditions doesn’t mean that you have to totally give up on gardening, or that you can’t make the situation more hospitable and better suited to growing a productive garden.

Listen to how Carolyn describes her gardening conditions: “We live in the Dallas area where the soil is rocky and dry. Rain has been scarce and snow is nearly unheard of.”

“I would like to grow some herbs and tomatoes for a fresh salad. Can you suggest a plan? Thank you so much. I enjoy reading your articles even if we don’t have a garden. They are delightful.”

Thanks Carolyn. Yes, I do have a plan for you. There’s no reason to allow your growing conditions or environment to stop you from enjoying a garden loaded with more herbs and tomatoes than you and your family can eat.

Gardening is all about working with what you have, improvising, and discovering creative ways to adapt and improve your growing environment. A quick way for you to start out would be to explore edible container gardening.

That would work around the issue of the rocky soil, and as for the rain, a hose or watering can will supply all the showers you need to keep your container garden growing.

You can grow any herb you desire in a container, and there are determinate and patio sized tomato plant varieties that are perfect for raising in pots. The book Bountiful Container Tough Growing Conditions is a great resource if you’d like to learn more about growing vegetables outdoors in containers.

I would also recommend including some other vegetables such as lettuce, arugula, spinach, kale, and Swiss Chard. They’re all easy to grow, don’t require much space, and will complete that fresh salad that you mentioned.

As a long term solution and to expand your gardening beyond the containers, start composting to help build and improve your soil, and construct a raised bed or two for future vegetable production.

It may take longer and require more effort to get the soil in the raised beds in shape to produce decent harvests of fruits and vegetables, but you can rely on the container garden until the raised beds are ready for production.

I’ll be posting more information about creating raised beds on this site in the future, or you can pick up a copy of my gardening ebook for details on making and using raised beds.





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