Dallas-Fort Worth Vegetable Garden Success: Three Tips
Grow a vegetable garden in your DFW back yard by knowing how and when to plant; how to prepare your soil; and how to keep weeds from stealing all the soil’s nutrients. You’ll harvest plenty of your favorite tomatoes, peppers, melons, and more.
A vegetable garden grows well in the Metroplex, but with variables such as extreme weather, inhospitable soil and plenty of weeds and pests, it’s important to know how to care for your plants so that you can reap juicy homemade tomatoes, squash, onions, and more from your back yard. Here are three tips to make your vegetable garden a success, whether you are an experienced cultivator or a new gardener.
Know When to Plant
Planting is safe generally after early April, which is the latest it usually freezes. Outlying areas may still experience freezes after that, so if you live north and west of the Metroplex, you will want to monitor the weather closely.
Early May is typically the last chance to plant tomatoes and other popular summer vegetables. If you are starting planting now, forgo seed and plant seedlings. Try your hand at peppers, cantaloupe or sweet potatoes. Remember that we also have a fall season, so if you didn’t get your onions planted in February, you’ll get a second chance in August.
Prepare the Soil Properly
Most weekend gardeners simply add a little potting soil to their flower bed or a tilled section in their back yard and plant, but the key is to make sure the soil is prepared before you even put the plants in the ground. Many Dallas-Fort Worth area nurseries have soil testing kits to give you an idea of what nutrients you need to add to make your soil healthy for planting.
Do your research on the vegetables that you are planting to find out what nutrients and soil types are important and get the plots prepared. Melons, for example, require sandy soil that you may have to bring in.
Adding compost is a great way to provide nutrients the plants will need. It also provides protection from the sun and pounding rain.
Keep Weeds at Bay
Weeding is an important part of caring for your Metroplex-area vegetable garden. Weeds rob your vegetables of nutrients, so it’s important to stop them before they start. You can avoid using herbicides by preventing weeds before they even start.
Texas Gardener offers a tip to keep weeds at bay — newspaper. Placing several pages of newspaper over the uncultivated part of your garden can keep weeds from popping up all season. Place the newspaper around your plants, and spray it with water to keep it on the ground. Cover with pine needles or mulch to keep it from blowing away. If a tenacious weed pops through, simply break off the stalk and cover with the mulch.
A vegetable garden is a great way to enjoy the outdoors as well as fresh food. Preparation and care will help to guarantee your success.
Image Source: Flickr/Steve Cornelius