Not Too Late to Dig Into Gardening

growing your garden
It doesn't take a lot of room or money to grow your own vegetables. Photo by Amanda Rogers

You’ve been staring at that bare patch in your backyard for days, weeks, months, maybe even years. You keep saying you’re going to plant a vegetable garden and grow your own dinner.

With the COVID-19 quarantine, even people who have never thought about digging into a new hobby have had some time at home to consider gardening. Knowing where your food comes from and what goes on it doesn’t seem like such a bad idea right now either.

But is it too late to dig?

Nope, says Tarrant County Horticulture Agent Steve Chaney, and shoveling up the backyard may not be required.

“Containers are best and bigger than a pot,” Chaney said. “You can build or buy large containers, like feed troughs. You can take a 55-gallon drum, cut it lengthwise so you have two large containers for very little money. Drill some holes for drainage and you have two perfect-size containers.”

Build your own containers and dig in

Put some 2×4 pieces of wood underneath each to get them off the ground, he advises.

Fill each container with a mixture of half top soil and half compost and you’re ready to plant.

“It’s a little late for tomatoes, but you can still plant peppers, zucchini, melons, squash, carrots, beets, eggplants, just about any of the warm season crops,” Chaney said.

“It’s late for seeds, maybe radishes,” he said. “It’s best to get transplants (small plants).”

Don’t forget to have fun

And remember, gardening is supposed to be fun.

“For novice gardeners, it’s important to get some immediate success,” Chaney said. “Plant carrots, you can plant and harvest in 30 days.”

Add some flowers to make your containers even prettier or paint stones with the pictures and names of the vegetables to mark where each is planted. Plant things that do double duty as flowers and food, like kale, kohlrabi or sunflowers.

Other veggies, like beans and peas, need structures to climb on, which allows gardeners to get creative, too.

“You have to look for the silver lining to make things fun,” Chaney said.