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Extension Agent: Spring finally here

By By Peter J. McGuill
April 1, 2014 at midnight
Updated March 31, 2014 at 11:01 p.m.


After what seemed to be an unending winter, I am happy to finally see a few days of sunshine and warmer temperatures.

The cabin fever was almost more than I could bear, and I am ready to get outside and enjoy nature again. It has been years since I have had a vegetable garden. I have come up with just about every excuse known to man as to why I, an agricultural extension agent, don't have a garden. This year, however, I am going to turn some soil and plant and tend a garden again.

Gardening brings forward great childhood memories for me. I learned early on in life that the assortment of vegetables grown is only limited by your time, space and imagination. Sure, there are some things that just don't grow well in our area, but there is more than enough that do very well to choose from.

I remember the large garden that we had in our backyard as we were growing up having snap beans, yellow squash, sweet corn, watermelons, cantaloupe, onions, peppers and tomatoes that we harvested, processed, ate and preserved.

We were quite practical with our selection of vegetables and kept it fairly simple. My grandparents down the road, however, were a little more varied in their gardening produce. I remember helping them pick popcorn to dry, digging peanuts and several different kinds of potatoes along with cucumbers, okra, carrots, summer squash and pole beans.

Putting in a vegetable garden does not have to be as extravagant as that of my parents and grandparents. In fact, I don't know where I would find the time to tend to a garden much bigger than a postage stamp.

Container gardens are a great way to have a productive garden in limited space and in an unsuitable area. A window sill, patio or small backyard is plenty of space for a minigarden. Almost any vegetable that will grow in a typical garden will also do well as a container-grown plant.

Variety selection, however, is important as some varieties of plants are better suited for container gardens than others. There are several AgriLife Extension publications that provide great instruction for container gardening as well as conventional gardening that will get you started on the right path.

There is certainly nothing better than harvesting and enjoying the fruits and vegetables of your labor. Happy gardening.

Peter J. McGuill is the Victoria County extension agent - ag and natural resources. Contact him at 361-575-4581 or pjmcguill@ag.tamu.edu.

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