Joette Reger's archive

We hear about the USDA hardiness zones and most garden centers sell plants with tags clearly marking which zone the plant is best suited for. With few exceptions, gardening success is vitally linked to selecting plants that suit your climate. Our area hardiness zones are Zone 8 and Zone 9.

If you want a low maintenance garden, stick with plants for your zone. But that being said, you can cheat the zones a little. It might be interesting to expand your plant palette and push the limits by creating microclimates.

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When it is just too cold, too wet, and just too nasty outside to plant in your yard or garden, get thee to a nursery that sells seeds. Just standing there and looking at those racks of colorful seeds and dreaming of the garden you could have should make you feel better.

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December is a great month for gardening in our area — in a way. Unlike in areas where the climate means soil is covered in snow, here we can still go outside and get a lot done.

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Gardening doesn’t stop in Texas when it’s December, but it does slow down. This is a good month to check all of your gardening tools. Repair, replace, discard, oil and sharpen tools. Are there some tools or gardening supplies that you need? Make a wish list.

Vines, ground covers, ornamental grasses: Ground covers and ornamental grasses can be planted or transplanted. Make sure they stay moist but no need to fertilize until next spring. Cut back growth of vines if there is a freeze or brown damaged growth. Mulch to protect the roots from extreme cold.

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The International Seed Saving Institute has the mantra “Feel the need for seed!” Yes, this institute does exist. It is located in Arizona and is a great resource for seed saving, permaculture and any questions related to seed saving.

Why should you become a seed saver? Seed saving is as old as gardening. Years ago gardeners considered seeds from their favorite plants to be treasures to be guarded. Since seeds these days are relatively inexpensive, you may ask, “Why should I be a seed saver.”

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