I guess I’m not the first one complaining on the soil here in the Houston area. Its completely compact clay. So when I plant something I have to do a serious effort to improve the plants new growing site. That means pouring in a lot of organic matters and sand. So I dig three spade-blades depth.
First I remove the St.Augustine turf and then dig two spade depths deep under the turf. Then I empty all the organic material I have at hand like branches, leaves and weeds in the bottom of the trench, turning the lawn turf I digged up first upside down partly on top of the organic matter. Here I had some grass clippings which I poured over the turned turf, mixed it with fine grained bark, sandy soil, the clay and some precious sphagnum mull.
I read somewhere that its better with a 1 dollar plant in a 10 dollar hole than the opposite, and in Houston, that is the most important thing you have to remember about gardening.
The main keywords are:
- Improve the soil with organic matter and sand
- Raise the beds somewhat to improve the drainage
- Fertilize little, but often because the heavy rain washes out the nutritions fast and pollutes the waterways instead.
You can safely buy smaller plants and cheaper plants because the growing season are incredibly long and things grows fast most of the time.