Though San Antonio is usually hot and dry during the summer, it’s possible to grow a large variety of vegetables all season long if you plan ahead and have a gardening strategy. If you’re tired of getting tasteless, pale vegetables imported from far away all summer, there’s nothing better than starting your own garden and growing flavorful veggies right outside your kitchen door. You can enjoy traditional favorites like tomatoes and cucumbers, as well as more exotic items, from your very own soil.
Select a location for your garden. Although you might want to protect your garden from the harsh sun of a San Antonio summer, your veggie plants will soak it all up happily--as long as you provide adequate water. Choose a location with at least six to eight hours of full sun every day. Also be sure that this area drains well and does not have standing water or continually damp soil.
Loosen the soil thoroughly using your shovel and/or a garden fork. Vegetable plants prefer loose soil. Remove rocks and other hard matter, such as large clumps of clay, that might interfere with plants’ root development. Gloves make this task more comfortable.
Mix your compost – if you’re choosing to garden organically – into the soil, or add another fertilizer of your choice. Plants like a little additional food and will respond well to the enrichment.
Select the types of vegetables you’d like to grow. Tomatoes are a common favorite and grow well in San Antonio summers--though to prevent cracking, you’ll want to water consistently. Cucumbers, eggplant, squash, melons, herbs, strawberries and other varieties might all be options, depending on your tastes. If you use seeds, you’ll probably want to start them in pots or trays indoors, then transplant them outside. You can also buy ready-to-plant transplants at a nursery.
Place your seeds or vegetable transplants into the ground, following the directions provided on the seed packets or the tags on the transplants. Use a garden trowel to dig holes and shape rows for seeds. You can usually place plants a bit more closely together than the directions state, as long as you also provide sufficient fertilizer and water. Remember to plant tomato transplants deeply; you can leave as little as half or a third of the transplant’s foliage above the ground and bury the rest to encourage greater root formation.
Water your seeds or transplants gently and deeply. You’ll want to set up a system for watering your vegetable consistently, whether it's just building watering by hand into your daily routine or buying and installing a drip irrigation system. Drip irrigation is excellent for San Antonio summer gardens to ensure that plants receive consistent deep watering and don’t dry out. Your garden will be much more productive with regular watering.