CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A local survivalist and outdoor educator will not let a pandemic stop him from teaching about home gardening.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Tevin Gray had been using his green thumb to teach hands-on classes about home gardening, cooking, and survival skills.
"Currently I am our Lead Educator with Grow Local South Texas & Enrichment Teacher at Corpus Christi Montessori School: Both focus on Gardening, Environmental awareness, Culinary Arts and Sustainable/Survival skills," said Gray.
Even though the COVID-19 pandemic caused both Grow Local South Texas and the Corpus Christi Montessori to take a pause on in-person learning, Gray thinks now is the perfect time to be teaching do-it-yourself food growing.
"Me just personally, I have noticed an increase in activity, ya know , social media, people asking questions, people trying projects from home," Gray told us. "There has definitely been an uptick in people wanting to do it from home."
With reports of possible food shortages looming, people have been turning to the "outdoor educator" for local resources that can help them start growing food from home. He can point you towards online guides and even do a private consultation.
"You have to know what you are working with first," Gray says. "Everyone's backyard is different."
Grays says summer is too hot for most plants to survive, but learning the right things to plant at the right time is all part of the experience. Gray calls edible plants that can survive the heat "South Texas Summer Survival Plants."
"As we approach summers here in South Texas Zone 9B (sub-tropical zone), the variety of edible plants we can grow will drop, as the heat rises," said Gray. "That being said there are still some drought & heat tolerant plants we can grow before it's too late! These are items like Okra, mellons, asain beans, perennial spinaches, fruit trees, and native plants!"
Gray works with gardening spaces all around Corpus Christi. The Garden Of Grace, Padre Island Community Garden, and The Edge Garden at Lindale Park are some of the local gardens he mentioned. He also spoke about some local businesses and organizations that have valuable resources for the do-it-yourself South Texas gardener. Businesses like Gills Nursery and Turners Gardenland have unique plants and tips about growing in our climate. On top of all that, Gray tipped us off to local organizations like the Texas Agrilife extension at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi and the Grow Local Learning Garden, who also have valuable resources about growing food in South Texas.