Clayton’s Corner

By | Published Thursday, February 1, 2010

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Spring garden season is upon us and if you happen to be a novice home gardener here are a few suggestions that could contribute to your success.

First and foremost you should ask: who will be doing the work? Will the garden be a family project or will you be handling the hoe alone? Remember, a small weed-free garden will produce more than a large weedy one. Make a list of your family’s favorite vegetables and rank them in order of preference. This can be a useful guide in deciding how to use your available space.

Plan your garden on paper first; in your plan, place tall and trellised crops on the north side of the garden so they won’t shade shorter vegetables. Vegetables grow best in a level area with loose, well drained soil that receives at least 8 hours of sunlight each day. Avoid low spots that may be subjected to flooding but locate near a water source. Try to rotate your plantings so that related vegetables are not planted in the same location more than once every 3 years. Rotation prevents insect and disease problems.

Once your plan is in place, come by the Extension office to pick up a soil kit. You will need to check soil fertility and pH. This information will assist you in making basic fertilizer applications and the cost of the test is only $10.

How many of you home gardeners knew that Decatur has its own community garden? This can be a great opportunity for you to get involved in the community while gaining valuable gardening skills. The garden is located just north east of Carson Elementary. There are individual plots (20′ x 4′) and a large plot for all members. The dues are only $24 per year and that includes the water. You can work individually or as a team, it is up to you. All that is asked is that 50 percent of the harvest goes to Wise Area Relief Mission (WARM). The rest is yours to enjoy. Finally, it is an opportunity to garden with friends and support a good cause. The plots are ready for plants so come join the fun and make some new friends. For more information on the community garden contact Jim Hencken at (940) 644-2473 or Look in an upcoming issue of the Wise County Messenger for more details.

A Mare/Foal Clinic is 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 18, at AgVantage Farm & Ranch (1817 N. U.S. 81/287 in Decatur). The Texas AgriLife Equine Specialist, Dr. Dennis Sigler, will discuss the following topics: Recognizing signs your mare is in labor, when to assist the mare in parturition, weaning techniques to minimize stress on foals, and balanced diets to promote sound development in weanling horses. The program is free and a hamburger meal will be sponsored by Martindale Feed and AgVantage Farm & Ranch. Call the Extension office to sign up at (940) 627-3341.

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