Winter is mostly a time of rest for the vegetable gardener of North Texas. However, there are a couple of activities that can be done during this time in preparation for spring vegetable gardens. These activities are planning and bed preparation.
Beds– Can be added or extended. Most vegetables need at least 6 hours of sunlight each day. In general the more sunlight that is directly on the vegetables, the better.
- In ground– requires the removal of grass and addition of compost and other amendments.
- Raised beds– are above the ground level. They can be bordered with non toxic materials such as untreated wood (cedar and locust are naturally rot resistant), stones and bricks. For rasied beds, add compost and other amendments to create a giant container and avoid as much exposure to ground contaminants.
The nutrient levels found in soil can be evaluated through home testing by use of a kit.
Plants– can be added as seeds or small plants. The earliest planting date of the year for North Texas is Feb 10.
See Vegetable Planting dates for North Texas
If planting into an exhisting bed, it is good to rotate crops around. If a variety of plants are grown in the same spot, biodiversity is encouraged. Biodiversity helps to control pests. Specific plants can be planted along the borders of vegetable gardens to attract beneficial bugs and birds.
Some beneficial border plants include:
- Dead nettle
- Bee balm
- Native grasses
Compost and necessary amendments can be added to the beds in preparation for the spring. These materials can be added and mixed well to get air into the soil.
For organic seeds and plant starts:
Elizabethannas Old World Garden
Online purchase of organic seeds:
Seeds of Change
For compost and amendments:
Pick up compost in bulk at Living Earth
The city of Ft Worth offers free compost for residents. Read more about it here
For more information:
Learn more about gardening through the Texas Home Gardening Guide
Learn more about organic gardening on local expert, Dirt Doctor’s website.