Knowing your soil, the right plants, the necessary amount of water and possible diseases will help you have a beautiful garden.
Living in Lubbock can pose a challenge to any gardener, but local experts can help you grow your garden.
in the center of Lubbock at 4111 University, the Lubbock Memorial Arboretum is a wonderful resource and a natural environment. They offer educational opportunities on all aspects of horticulture in the Lubbock area, and they are a great place for people of all ages to learn to grow flowers, trees, and vegetables. You can take a free tour any day of the week between 5 a.m. and midnight to explore the various types of gardens – including sensory gardens, rose gardens and wild flower gardens. The plants you will see in the gardens will most often have nametags to help you choose what to buy for your own garden. The Lubbock Memorial Arboretum is also a great place to picnic and simply admire the beautiful plants of West Texas.
A great resource for learning to garden is the Lubbock Master Gardeners Association. It offers classes and information to help budding gardeners. The association has a resource on their website, www.lubbockmastergardeners.org, where you can pose a question to a master gardener. Just type in a question about your garden and a trained expert will get back to you. Want to know what is in your dirt and what will make it healthier for your plants? The Lubbock Master Gardener Association offers soil testing kits for $10 - $15. The test will tell you what nutrients are present in your soil and whether they are in balance. The results of the test will help you know what fertilizers to use and how to help your soil maximize fertility. Spring and fall are the best times to do this test.
If you already have seedlings and are having trouble keeping them alive, the Texas A&M Agrilife website, www.plantclinic.tamu.edu, can help you keep your garden healthy and growing. Here, you can learn out about common problems such as “damping off,”
The website explains, “Typical symptoms occur soon after plant germinates. This can occur very quickly and appear to start at the base of the seedling.” This kind of fungi kills the young plant or it can attack the seed before it breaks ground. They also offer useful tips on how to prevent such garden trauma. To help West Texans overcome their tomato troubles, for instance, they provide pictures to help you identify what is taxing your tasty tomatoes and advice on how to treat them.
Vikram Baliga, the Lubbock County Horticulture agent with Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Office, said living out in West Texas we must always think about irrigation regardless of what we are trying to grow. He suggests two ways we can help our gardens have the right amount of moisture. First, “all plants need to have all the water they need especially when they are young.” And he said, as the roots grow and become established, the less water is a concern, but still be sure to keep your garden irrigated. Second, he suggests using good mulch because it retains soil moisture and protects from a random late freeze. Putting about 3 to 4 inches of mulch around a young plant will protect it and keep it moist for proper growing.
Having a garden is work, but so much fun. Knowing your soil, the right plants, the necessary amount of water and possible diseases will help you have a beautiful garden.
Happy gardening this year, and may your seeds grow!
By Kara Leslie