Grow Great Vegetables in Texas by Trisha Shirey is a year-round gardening book for the people of Texas. Shirey is a native Texan who developed her love of gardening while assisting in her family’s large vegetable garden. For over thirty years, she has managed the renowned lakeside gardens of Lake Austin Spa Resort in Austin, TX. Herbs, vegetables, fruit trees, edible flowers, and native plants fill the 19-acre site and inspire the resort’s guests to start their own gardens and to manage them organically.
Shirey provides a month by month guide to gardening for each of Texas’s five zones. There is more to gardening than buying seeds and seedlings in spring and planting them. There are plenty of do-it-yourself tips for testing your soil, making trellises, composting, and making cold frames. The reader is also given guides on what to plant and when for each zone in the state. There is also information on where to plant certain plants to meet their sunlight needs and avoid overexposure to the Texas heat.
One of the most important sections of this book, for me, is on pest control. Even in the suburbs of Dallas where I live there are plenty of pests. Aphids will find your fruit trees. Squirrels will eat all developing fruit. Rabbits will get the greens. A small patch of non-native potatoes will bring an army of grubs. Perhaps the most troublesome are the raccoons who will eat anything. Anything but Habernaro peppers that is. It seems once your garden is discovered it becomes a landmark in the animal and insect community. Shirey does offer some ideas to control these pests with DIY solutions or a dog, less welcoming than mine.
Although my gardening time is limited nowadays, I am going to try the methods discussed in this book and get started with the January plan. Grow Great Vegetables in Texas provides the gardener with plenty of illustrations, graphs, and photos along with a wealth of written information. This is an excellent place for the beginning gardener to start and the experienced gardener to brush up. Very well done.