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Ready, Set, Grow

Tips From Our Local Expert to Harvest More This Season

Article by Staci Adams

Photography by Jessi Edison

Originally published in Boerne Lifestyle

As we begin to say goodbye to colder temperatures and look ahead to warmer months, crafting a successful spring and summer garden requires thoughtful planning and strategic execution. Luckily, Justin Fyffe, the garden master at Cibolo Nature Center, is here to help. 

Start With a Plan
Whether you are a seasoned gardening pro or this is your first attempt at horticulture, it’s essential to have a plan. First, think about what type of space you have, and how much time you have to care for it. Think about your garden’s location relative to the sun, as this will determine what plants, fruits, or vegetables grow best in your space. Most importantly, Fyffe says, “Don’t overdo it!” Start small and as your knowledge grows, so can your garden.

Test Your Soil
Testing your soil is a critical step in preparing for a successful spring garden. Local nurseries often provide a way to test your soil, or you can explore easy ways to do it at home. Armed with this knowledge, adjust your soil to create an optimal environment for your plants.

Fertilize Well
The magic of mulch, compost, and fertilizers cannot be overstated. Consider making your own compost tea, something Fyffe did quite easily by simply using excess comfrey, a bucket, and water. Utilizing any green nitrogenous plant material will make for a nutrient-rich blend. Top off your soil with fresh compost or liquid fertilizers, sealing the deal with a protective layer of mulch.

Maximize Spring
As the season changes into spring, focus on seed and transplant selection. Delve into cool-season plants such as Swiss chard, leafy greens, radishes, and strawberries. “The sooner, the better” on these, Fyffe explains. He says that while they don’t have a long season, they “can be a great jumpstart to a bountiful garden.” 

Switch for Summer
As the weather warms, it’s a great time to think about what will go into the ground following the Hill Country’s very short spring season. Bush beans, cucumbers, summer squash, and tomatoes are excellent choices, but Fyffe always suggests getting advice from your local nursery for specific recommendations. This is also an ideal time to take any successful plant’s new and emerging growth and either divide it into new areas or share it with friends and neighbors.

Stay Vigilant
Once your garden is well underway, ensure its health by checking for pests and weeds. It’s a common challenge, and there’s no shame in facing it. Develop a game plan to tackle these issues as they arise, maintaining the beauty and productivity of your garden. 

With these steps, your garden can not only survive but thrive throughout the spring and summer seasons.

If you’re ever in the vicinity of Cibolo’s Farmers Market, stop by to see Justin and ask any questions you have about plants—he’s always happy to help make your thumb a little greener. | 830-246-4616 | 33 Herff Road