Melody's Gardening In Central Texas

 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.
About Me
Email me your gardening questions.

book coverRead my new ebook, Cool-Season Gardening in Central Texas. This book is a guide to gardening in the cool, pleasant seasons of the year; a time when you can grow flowers and vegetables with the least trouble with insects, diseases, and stress due to heat and drought. Go to this link at Amazon: Cool-Season Gardening in Central Texas. If for some reason the link doesn't work for you, just go to www.amazon.com and look in the Kindle Store. Search for the book by its name.



Events Around Central Texas

Email me your events to include here.

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.

JessicaDue 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:

Visit TEXAS GARDNER MAGAZINE, the magazine especially for Texas Gardeners.

General Practices

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:

Great garden

Easy Gardens for North Central Texas-- I was wowed by the great organization of facts and pictures in this . 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 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 belongs on every Central Texan's shelf. 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 s, 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 --This is a 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 !
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 s ever written on gardening the easy way. This changed forever the methods we use to put in new beds--no more aching backs for us after putting the advise in this to use. It also has sections on raising individual vegetables. This is another essential , 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 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 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 s 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 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 . See my projects page to see the Japanese lantern I made following the instructions in this .

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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Melody FitzgeraldABOUT ME

I am Melody Fitzgerald, a McLennan County Master Gardener. I have lived in Central Texas all my life. My family came from Utah and settled in Central Texas before I was born. After God and family, gardening is the thing I love most. I have been gardening under our tough Texas conditions for over 40 years. As a Master Gardener, I give lectures on gardening and engage in gardening projects for the community. Master Gardeners do not get paid to speak or do projects. We offer these things as a public service. Our primary goal is to educate the people in our county on the subject of gardening. To become a Master Gardener, I underwent 52 hours of training and 52 hours of public service. To stay a Master Gardener, I am required to continue to acquire training and participate in projects in the community. I work with a great bunch of people.

In real life, I am a marketing consultant, but nothing makes me happier than to be out in my garden with dirt under my fingernails and leaves stuck in my hair.

All my life I have met bewildered people who came from somewhere else to settle in Texas. None of them knew how to grow plants here. I come from Utah Mormons who could grow huge vegetables and flowers like pansies and tulips all summer. It is a bit more of a challenge here. I became aware that people need guidance on how to grow things in Central Texas. We have a unique climate here, with special challenges such as uneven spring temperatures varying as much as 40 degrees in just a couple of days, and a tough bunch of insect pests that thrive in 100 degree droughts. To be successful, we have to adapt. We have no reason to feel sorry for ourselves if we choose from among the wonderful native and adapted varieties of plants that have made Texas there home--just like we have.
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