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Texas Gardening The Natural Way

Texas Gardening the Natural Way
The Complete Handbook
by Howard Garrett 
University of Texas Press, 2004

Landscape architect Howard Garrett's organic epiphany struck in 1985 following the birth of his daughter. "At nine months, she started walking, picking up things, and tasting those things," he recalls. "Why it doesn't hit every parent, I don't understand, but it hit me hard. I wanted no more toxic chemicals around my little girl."

Twenty years later, Garrett is a leading proponent of organic gardening in the state of Texas, hosting radio and TV organic gardening programs, writing a weekly column in the Dallas Morning News, and publishing widely on his "Total Gardening Program."

Like most of his work, this new opus is totally focused on gardening in Texas. It describes plants and pests and soils and climates specific to the state, and while much of the information is applicable to growing outside Texas' borders none of the content is aimed at such folks.

Promoted as "the first complete, state-of-the-art organic gardening handbook for Texas," this text details how to plan, plant, and maintain a garden without using chemical fertilizers and toxic pesticides. The opening chapter explains the fundamentals of organic gardening -- soils, planting, fertilizing, controlling pests, etc., but the greater bulk of this hefty volume is dedicated to describing and providing organic growing instructions for more than 600 native and adaptable trees, shrubs, groundcovers, annuals, perennials, grasses, fruits, vegetables, nuts and herbs.

Illustrated with over 800 photos, this is a substantial and impressive volume for both professional and amateur organic gardeners in Texas.

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Texas Gardening the Natural Way
First Edition

Raised Beds

     Raised beds are often used to improve drainage, for aesthetic reasons, or for ease of maintenance. Wood should not be used for the walls. If there are enough toxic chemicals in the wood to keep it from rotting, it will be far too toxic to be around plants, especially root crops. If there are not enough toxic chemicals in the wood, the wood will rot away quickly. Either way, wood is a bad investment,

     Acceptable materials for walls include natural stone, concrete wall systems, poured concrete, or cinder blocks. Cinder blocks are the most economical and easiest to install. If placed with the holes up, the blocks can be filled with paramagnetic sand, such as lava, to help hold the blocks in place and improve plant growth.

Also by Howard Garrett

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