You Can Learn to Garden in Central Texas
Gardening in our part of the world is quite a challenge, but with the right plants and the right techniques you can be a successful Central Texas gardener. Visit the pages above to find the plants that do best in our area and how to take care of them. You can also visit my blogsite. I just started it, so I am still learning the ropes. I hope that it will be a place that we Central Texas gardeners can share information together. Let me know what's on your mind.
View Handout on Gardening Year Round|
Preparing for Spring Handout
Fall Gardening Notes
Butterfly Gardening Handout
Read this article on possible danger of asbestos in vermiculite.
Events Around Central Texas
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WARNING! I have been recently made aware of a danger to your pets that you should consider. Cocoa mulch can be a great danger to dogs in your yard. Some dogs are attracted to the chocolate smell and think the mulch is edible. Can you imagine the harm that could be caused if your dog eat mulch? Please give careful consideration before you use this kind of mulch if you have dogs.
List your gardening event here. Just send me an email.
Due to the many requests we have received, we have included a list of Internet resources on poisonous plants. Be sure that if you have a question about poisoning, call your physician or vet immediately. When planning your garden, these links will help you know what plants can be a problem:
- Poisonous plant info for cat owners
Visit TEXAS GARDNER MAGAZINE, the magazine especially for Texas Gardeners.
1. Know the light and watering requirements of all your plants, and the best time of the year to plant them.
2. Enrich the soil. Our soils here are heavy clay with a high pH. The cure to poor soil is to amend with at least 40% organic matter. The best organic material is shredded leaves and rotted compost. Peat moss is not a good amendment material. Do a soil test to determine what nutrients your soil needs. Contact your County Extension Service to get details on a soil test.
3. After planting, cover all bare areas with mulch; that is, partly composted material, shredded leaves, shredded tree trimmings, or shredded cedar. This will keep the ground cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, and will break down to form organic matter in the soil. Do not worry about this material robbing nitrogen from the soil. It will not do this as long as you keep it on the surface and do not till it into the soil. This mulch will save you much work watering and removing weeds.
4. Plant during or after a rain in the fall for best survival rate.
5. Never pack down the soil when planting anything, and do not walk on the beds. Always use stepping stones or paths and keep off the soil. This is absolutely vital!
6. Do not mix plants in a small bed that have different water and light requirements.
7. Plan, plan, plan! Make your mistakes on paper, not in your yard. Study out what to do and how to do it before you act.
Here is a list of the best books on gardening for our area:
Easy Gardens for North Central Texas-- I was wowed by the great organization of facts and pictures in this book. Even though it indicates that it is for North central Texas in the title, gardeners in all of the Central Texas area will find this book indispensable. It is the best organized information that I have ever seen on plants for our area. It has hundreds of wonderful photos too. This book belongs on every Central Texan's bookshelf. A great new addition! It may be hard to find, since it is so new, but you can find it at amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and Home Depot.
Doug Welsh's Texas Garden Almanac--an essential month-to-month reference to gardening in our state, written by a well-recognized authority on Texas gardening. It has activities to do each month, as well as essays on various gardening subjects that you will need to know that month. If you could only have two gardening books, I would choose Easy Gardens for North Central Texas and this Texas Garden Almanac. Between the two of them, you will have at your fingertips almost any conceivable answer for which you might look for gardening here.
Texas Bug Book--This is a book written by J. Howard Garrett (The Dirt Doctor), and Malcolm Beck, a Central Texas Expert on organic gardening. It explores the many insects, both good and bad that we have in our area. There are many pictures to help you identify what's bugging your garden, and a recommendation of what to do to get rid of the bad bugs. This is an essential guide for one of the big problems we face in Texas.
J. Howard Garrett's Organic Manual (2nd Edition)--This is the essential manual on organic gardening in Texas, with plant lists, pest and disease controls, month-by-month guides on what needs to be done. Don't try to garden without this book!
Texas Wildflowers--You'll appreciate this guide on Texas wildflowers which comes with plenty of pictures for identification.
Lasagna Gardening--This is one of the best books ever written on gardening the easy way. This book changed forever the methods we use to put in new beds--no more aching backs for us after putting the advise in this book to use. It also has sections on raising individual vegetables. This is another essential book, written by Patricia Lanza.
Howard Garrett's Plants for Texas--We couldn't garden without this essential reference to all the wonderful plants to use in our Texas gardens. Lots of pictures too.
Plants of the Metroplex--Another plant reference book by Howard Garrett. It is especially for gardeners living in the region from Dallas-Ft. Worth to Waco. It is a great guide, with cultural recommendations included.
Herbs for Texas--Guide to the herbs that grow best here with lots of pictures and helpful advise.
Rodale's Garden Answers--Wonderful guide to everything concerned with gardening, with many formulas, things to make, solutions to problems, and all organic.
Decorating Your Garden, A Bouquet of Beautiful and Useful Craft Projects to Make and Enjoy--by Mickey Baskett. This book has many artistic projects to make your garden beautiful. One favorite project shows you how to make a cement patio look like it is paved with rocks. Really great ideas!
The Art of Pebble Mosaics--This is one of the most unique books ever written. It has the most clever ideas about things you can make for your garden using pebbles. It must be seen to be appreciated!
Making Concrete Garden Ornaments--This book will open up a whole new world to you. You can make the most wonderful garden pots, lanterns, statues, and stepping stones with cement. I love this book. See my projects page to see the Japanese lantern I made following the instructions in this book.
Have any questions not answered here? Comments about the site? Email us and we will get back to you right away!
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