AAs spring approaches, many people begin to wonder when is the best time to start a garden. According to Sherrian Jones, operations and marketing manager at Texas Pure Products, the answer is always “now.” The key is to understand what to grow and when.
She recommends going to the Collin County Master Gardener website cmmgatx.org. Here you’ll find information from the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension on the types of trees, shrubs, fruits, and vegetables that will grow best at any given time.
Of course, successful planting starts with good soil. Few people in Plano know more than Jones. When residents pack up their lawn clippings or pile up tree branches to pick them up, they send them to his facility.
Texas Pure is a partnership between the cities of Plano, Richardson, Allen, Frisco and McKinney. Garden clippings and tree branches from all five cities are brought to its facility at the intersection of Custer Road and Ridgeview Drive. Tree scraps are turned into mulch and sold on site. Garden clippings are shipped to a second Texas Pure location in Melissa.
Once there, organic produce donated by local shops and markets is mixed. About a year later, the mix has turned into a healthy mulch and is being returned to Custer Road. There it is sold in a variety of combinations to commercial and residential customers.
“It’s the best mulch you can buy,” Jones says. “It has been approved for use by organic growers and farmers who are part of the USD Organic Program.”
One of the biggest mistakes local gardeners and landscapers make, she says, is thinking they have to remove the natural hard Texas clay and replace it with new soil. This clay is actually very good soil with lots of potassium and phosphorus and other excellent minerals and nutrients for planting. You just have to break it up a bit.
Turns out all you need for this is some compost. Sometimes companies even market it as “clay buster”.
“It aerates and provides a plethora of nutrients, microbes and bacteria — all the things plants need to grow that aren’t always in potting mixes or artificial soils,” Jones says. “Nature has been doing it for millions of years so it’s a perfect plan.”
Before deciding what to plant, gardeners should also consider buying from a local nursery. Often, large national chains sell plants on a national or regional basis. This means that they may not be perfectly suited to the local climate and its extreme temperature variations. Jones says you can probably still farm these non-native vaterites, but
they may need a little more special attention.
For those looking to hone their gardening skills, the City of Plano offers classes and webinars to help those looking to improve their green thumb. The city’s website also has information on certifying your garden as wildlife habitat and what it takes to establish sustainable gardening and landscaping practices.
Jones and Texas Pure are also available to advise and educate people on how to achieve gardening success.
“It’s so good for you,” she said. “Not just to have food to eat, but also just to have this place to enjoy it.”
Texas Master Gardner