The FarmGirls are proclaiming 2014 to be a great gardening year.  

Many New Year’s Resolutions may involve eating healthy and improving exercise. Both of these goals can be accomplished in the vegetable garden.  

Having the complete assurance of eating fresh pesticide-free vegetables is positively done if you grow the vegetables. If you grow it you know it!  

Our six week vegetable gardening classes start this week both in Waxahachie and Dallas. So many people do not even think about vegetable gardening until March or April and miss the opportunity of planting onions, potatoes, beets, carrots, lettuce, broccoli, cilantro, beets and Brussels sprouts.   

Why?  

Because they are all cool weather plants and cannot be planted late because of our Texas heat.

It is January and gardeners this is what we do now: Clear any remaining debris from the garden and all dried plant material, with the exception of tomato plants can be put in the compost.  

Take advantage of a beautiful sunny Texas winter day and turn the soil in your garden.  

Next, send a sample of your soil off to be tested.  (We send ours to Texas Plant and Soil Lab.) Go on their website for instructions. When filling out the paperwork be sure to say that you are organic and pesticide free, that this test is for a vegetable garden and express the vegetables that are high on your list for planting and growing.  This lab will send you detailed information on your soil, how to amend the garden to have a successful gardening year.  

Watch the nurseries for onion slips. This is a bundle of immature onion plants. Onions slips can be planted close. We plant ours about 1- to 1 1/2-inches apart by establishing a straight row with a string, then making the holes with our finger or a dibbler and dropping individual slips in each hole.  

Then pull the soil in and around each onion, tucking the soil snuggly around each onion.   

We plant the slips close with the intention to pull and eat fresh green onions in our salads throughout spring.  

By May our onion row will have been thinned allowing 3- to 4-inches between each onion, enough space for the remaining onions to form beautiful bulbs. We fertilize our onions with blood meal.

It is time to plan the garden layout.  

When planning the layout remember the importance of crop rotation. Do not be tempted to plant tomatoes in the same spot every year. Root knot nematodes attach many plants and especially tomatoes. The best prevention from this parasite is crop rotation.  

Colorful and inspiring garden catalogs have flooded our mailbox. These catalogs are wonderful to thumb through, much knowledge and insight to vegetables and varieties can be attained with this gardening tool.  

Read the information about the family of vegetables, expected germination time, different varieties available, expected harvest dates and the needs of each of the vegetables.  Remember that North Central Texas is unique and not all varieties of vegetables will grow here.  

One of the ways to be a successful gardener is to investigate variety selections that have proven to grow well in your planting area.  

It is fun to experiment with new varieties, but in your planning include Ellis county proven winners by checking with your local master gardeners, a seasoned gardener and sign up for The Farm Girls Organic Program where we send a monthly e-mail reminding home owners what to do in the organic and pesticide- free landscape!   

From our garden gate to yours … tune into 770 AM every Friday at 1 p.m. and like us on Facebook: Garden Inspirations.

FarmGirls of Garden Inspirations, a garden education company are Marilyn Simmons and daughter, Donelle Simmons.  You can email us at farmgirls@gardeninspirations-tx.com and join our weekly email by signing up through our website: www.gardeninspirations-tx.com, like us on Facebook!  Tune in every Friday at 1 p.m. to the FarmGirls Organic Radio Show on KAAM 770 AM.