Hands in the Dirt: MLT gardening tips for July 2021

How did your garden fare through the heat wave? The Ballinger Organic Garden (BOG) did pretty well, with only the tips of some rhubarb leaves a bit crispy and a bit of leaf curl on some plants.  The high water table at Ballinger Park may have helped keep everything hydrated. Many folks weren’t so lucky…

Hands in the Dirt: MLT Gardening Tips for June 2021

In a rare turn, June actually feels like summer this week. Most garden veggies can be planted now without extra protection. Basil, cucumbers, and both summer and winter squash can all still be direct sown early in the month, and can even outpace seeds sown last month that may have stalled in cooler weather. With…

Hands in the Dirt: MLT Gardening Tips for May 2021

  We’re in for a rollercoaster of May weather this week, with rain, heat and maybe even lightning! I plan to nip outside between storms to tend my young plants. Mother’s Day is the “all clear” to plant most things in our area. The 50°F low mark is the signal to transplant tomatoes and direct…

Hands in the Dirt: MLT gardening tips for April 2021

It truly feels like spring outside. My forsythia is blooming (time to prune the roses!), and so are most of the cherries and plums. My apologies to those with allergies, but I love it! Does anyone else feel like they’re growing a production farm of shotweed? I pull and pull, but it just keeps popping…

Hands in the Dirt: MLT gardening tips for March 2021

March and the sun are here!  Not much gets a gardener’s blood pumping like the first days with 50-degree highs! What should you do this first week of March? Weed. What should you do next week? Weed. And the next and the next?  WEED! Get those pesky plants out now before they have the chance…

Hands in the Dirt: MLT gardening tips for February 2021

Most of the gardeners I know are getting antsy to start their 2021 garden. If you haven’t yet, it’s time to finalize your planting plan so you can purchase seeds and mark your calendar with start dates. It’d be terrible to get so excited about tomatoes that you forget to start your onions! If you…

Hands in the Dirt: MLT gardening tips for January 2021

This month is looking awfully wet. The water level in Lake Ballinger is very high and walking through the park is often like walking on a sponge. Is your lawn the same way? Avoid walking on it too much, as the compaction can harm the soil structure. January is a great time to take care…

Hands in the Dirt: MLT gardening tips for December 2020

For most gardeners, December will be spent looking at seed and tool catalogs and dreaming about spring. Given the recent increase in interest in gardening due to the pandemic and potential seed shortages as the gardening industry adjusts to the demand, it could be a good idea to get seed orders in as early as…

Hands in the Dirt: MLT gardening tips for November 2020

Not much new to be done in the garden this month.  Clean up and prep for winter is still the name of the game. The only annuals to plant in the ground are for harvest next year, including greens, peas, garlic, and flowers.  Planting now can get you a few weeks jump start on spring….

Hands in the Dirt: MLT gardening tips for October

After the mad dash this week to soak up those last few rays of sun and 70-degree days, soon the garden will transition to mostly clean up. A few annuals can still be planted in the vegetable garden — mostly seeds for overwintering crops like garlic, onions, and peas, that you won’t be able to…

Hands in the Dirt: MLT gardening tips for September 2020

The rain on Monday and the cooler nights are starting to make it feel like fall. Have you noticed signs that your plants feel it, too? Luckily our gardening days are not yet numbered since we are projected to get back into the 80s this week, which should help ripen the rest of those green…

Hands in the Dirt: MLT Gardening Tips for August

It feels like summer just started, but the days are starting to get shorter and the plants will soon be showing signs of the coming of fall. Hopefully you are reaping what you sowed back in spring and your garden is producing like crazy. To keep it going for a bit longer, make sure to…

Hands in the Dirt: MLT gardening tips for July

Ah, July. Time for summer to officially begin — but not until after the holiday, of course! July is a bit of a limbo month for a lot of gardeners. The heat is building; heat lovers are growing like crazy, spring planted greens may be bolting and going to seed, and while the last of…

Hands in the Dirt: MLT gardening tips for June

Welcome to June, even though it kind of still feels like May with the rain and cool nights we’ve been having. Nighttime temperatures are still hovering around the 50-degree mark, which means depending on your garden microclimate, tender plants like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant can still benefit from a little extra protection like a cloche…

Hands in the Dirt: MLT gardening tips for May

Can you believe it’s May? If you weren’t busy in the garden yet, you’re about to be! Nighttime temperatures are still hopping around in the mid-40s, so hold off on transplanting your heat-loving plants like tomatoes and peppers in the ground until our lows are consistently over 50°F.  It may feel good to set out…

Hands in the Dirt: MLT gardening tips for April

While the world is in a very interesting place, at least gardening has not been canceled. We can trust that if we plant seeds in soil, and provide water and sunlight, the seed will sprout. Bring on April! If you are new to gardening and looking for plants or seeds, you still have many local…

Hands in the Dirt: MLT gardening tips for February — time to get outside?

Anxious to get outside? You probably can this month. Our soil is often still too cold and waterlogged to do much in the ground, so pay attention to what is going on in your planting beds. A digital kitchen thermometer can be a great way to check your particular ecosystem, just don’t forget to bring…

Hands in the Dirt: MLT gardening tips for January

MLTnews welcomes this new monthly column from Robyn Rice of the Ballinger Organic Garden. From the outside, January looks like a sleepy time for gardeners. The weather is abysmal, the soil is cold and wet, and not much is actively growing. But on the inside, January is busy busy busy! There are seed catalogs to…