Would like to Start Garden

Updated on March 13, 2007
J.K. asks from Arlington, TX
6 answers

I would like to start a garden but have no clue how to start. I would like to plany flowers and maybe small shrubs. Other then digging a hole, what kind of soil should I buy? And how about mulch? What flowers are good to plant this time of year? Any help would be appreciated.

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answers from Dallas on

Contact the Texas A&M Extension Center in Richardson, (Cambell Road I think-it's in the phone book under county blue pages) They have an entire gardening program you can go through or just helpful info (at no charge).

Local gardening centers (Calloways) will be helpful, but will charge you for each little thing. And buy the book the Texas Gardener.

You should have your soil tested to know what you need in the way of fertilizers, soil enhancements, etc.

Best luck and happy planting. Remember choose drought resistant plants, or you'll be paying a huge water bill to keep it alive in the summer.
Susan in Dallas



answers from Dallas on

Hi J.-

Go to Calloway's Nursery. They will not charge you for advice. They have experts there that can tell you exactly what you need. Also, one great thing about Calloway's is that they only sell plants/flowers that will do well in TX at specific times of the year. For instance, Petunias, Begonias are great for early spring. The big boxes (Lowes/Home Depot) will carry more, but are not really 100% geographically appropriate. Calloway's also offers free clinics Saturday mornings at 10am. Check out their website and I believe there is a list of the upcoming ones. Also, if you sign up for their Garden E-Club you will receive all kinds of coupons for great stuff! Send me a message if you need more info!
One more thing, they also do free soil tests, but that is ending soon so hurry if you'd like to take advantage of that. Just bring a baggy of dirt and I think that's all you need!



answers from Dallas on

The best advice I could give you is to go to a gardening store - the ones I like are Calloways and Home Depot. Usually the people whoo work there are pretty knowledgeable, and they can help you out.



answers from Dallas on

We are doing the same thing in our back yard, and we're just guessing at what to do. We added to the landscaping in our front a couple of years back. Right now petunias seem to be the best to plant. Add mulch at the very end and make it pretty thick to keep weeds away. We bought top soil when we added to the front, so that's what we're using in the back. We're going to dig up the grass and level it out before we get started. It's good to have different levels of what you're planting (tall, shorter, shortest, etc). It's also good if you get plants that bloom at different times, so you get year round color. We didn't do that this year, but we did get shrubs that are green year round. Hopefully that will help some. Good luck!!



answers from Austin on

I just emailed a friend of mine who works in soil conservation if she had any advice. This is what she told me:

An idea that I had is to find a Master Gardener. They are a group of people that has taken all the gardening classes that extension offers and they are now ready to give trainings and help people. You can find one by searching for county extension agent and then finding the Master Gardener section on their website. It will be by county so you'll need to find the one in your county. They are usually great resources and should be willing to come out and help. At least I know ours are.
And sometimes you can find a really great person at Lowes or Home Depot. Take some pics with you to show them what the sites look like. Sometimes they have hired someone who really knows a thing or two about landscaping. Also take a look at the sites during different times of the day to determine if it's a full sun site or partial shade and the times of day that the sun hits them and for how long. This is really important for selecting plants.
There's also a site on line....I think it's landscaping.com that you look for plants based on the location of the planting spot and/or the colors of the plants that you want to plant there.



answers from Dallas on

Usually Home Depot/Lowes are good places and they will help tell you what plants have a better chance of living (in Texas you can almost guess nothing will live expect for the crummy weeds you dont want!). Also Walmart on Basswood had a gentlman in his late 40-50's I guess help me I wish I had his name to give you but he was really helpful. I have tried so many flowers and it seems like anything thats just greenery will live and not the flowers esp. if its in direct sun like at my house. Im about to plant a garden too and Im a bit clueless my self but my father in law is always successful and he tills the ground and adds a layer of top soil and then plants the plants that have already started growing vs. planting seeds and his garden is always so nice and produces alot of food.

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