Garden: Getting ready for spring

It’s the perfect time to prepare a garden plot for spring planting. The weather is cooler and digging is no longer a hot and uncomfortable job.

There are many things you can do. If you start now, any additions you add to the soil will decompose and will be ready to plant when spring arrives.

Melody Fitzgerald is a McLennan County Master Gardener who has been working on gardening challenges in Central Texas for over 35 years.

So what kind of addition am I talking about? Please let me explain. After growing vegetables and flowers in the garden bed each year, the soil becomes fertile and needs to be built up again.

Additionally, our soil tends to compact easily and needs to be loosened again before it can be replanted for the next year’s production. is needed.

I noticed that garden centers already sell truckloads of organic matter. increase.

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Many people don’t know how much organic matter to add to their soil and end up using far less than they actually need. Recommended. Anything less than this is not very effective for soil amendment.

In addition to adding organic matter, we need to add nitrogen to the soil seasonally. Most of the time, our soil needs nothing but nitrogen. The other main elements are well supplied and need not be added.

Organic matter adds the missing necessary elements. If you want to be sure that your soil meets exactly what you need, you can do a soil test. Texas A&M University can send you a test kit. Some tests in Texas.


You may hear that the pH of your soil is too alkaline and you need to add something to make it more acidic. It’s easy to make soil alkaline, but almost impossible to make it acidic. It requires so much sulfur that the soil turns mostly yellow and cannot achieve the desired changes.

If you keep an eye on the nutrients your soil needs and add organic matter to loosen it up, you don’t have to worry about soil pH. additives do the necessary work for soil health.

Remove as many weeds as possible while tilling the soil amendment. If not, they’ll be back with revenge next spring. .

don’t give them a chance. follow them. Once you’ve plucked all the weeds you can, lay a 3- to 4-inch layer of mulch over the soil to discourage unplanted weeds from growing.

seed catalog

My first seed catalog arrived in the mail on November 15th. I receive nearly every seed catalog known to mankind. I put them in a special place and watch the stack grow bigger and bigger. On December 26th, I pull out my catalog and notepad and start making a list of the seeds I want to order.

Compare costs across catalogs and who has the best vegetables for my garden. Nothing compares to the catalog’s glowing descriptions, but at least you’ll find some old trusty ones to try out this year, as well as some new ones.

It is with great confidence and hope in these promises that I submit my order, weighing the cost of the seed against the value identified. Having done small ceremonies, this has been an event for me for decades. It’s still as fun now as it was in the old widows.

garden journal

It’s a good idea to keep a garden journal to record the seed varieties you’ve purchased and how they’ve grown. Record both your successes and failures so you can learn more in the coming year. I like to take lots of pictures of my garden during the season, from the beginning of planting until the end of harvest.

These are fun to see how things have changed and progressed in later years. It would be great if I could copy a child or grandchild I didn’t know in the background.

If you haven’t explored what and how to grow, get started now. Get a good book on Texas gardening. Don’t rely on garden books written for California or New York. We are unique and need advice for our state.

Not only that, but I need advice on Central Texas above all else. First, search for “Central Texas gardening” on Amazon. Many gardening books expect you to follow their advice even if they are hundreds of miles away. I didn’t understand how it was supposed to help us. (If you can’t garden in California, you might as well give it up entirely and pick up another hobby.)

I hope 2023 will be a great gardening year. Taking care of your plants will bring nutritious food to your table all year round. I wish you good luck and hope my article will guide you on your way.

Melody Fitzgerald is a McLennan County Master Gardener who has been working on gardening challenges in Central Texas for over 35 years.

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