The brutal cold temperatures have kept The FarmGirls inside for most of the week.

We were required to go out one day last week, we bundled up in layers and wore our wonderful Rosie overalls. They come in bright gardening colors pink, purple, teal, beige and blue. They have great pockets with zippers that a gardener can efficiently tote tools in.  

When the work requires the gardener to be on their knees the large, thick knee pads provide comfort and ease. And best of all when the Texas weather turns up the heat, just zip away the overall pant legs just below the knees and magically overalls become capris.  

We love this gardening tool that protects our clothes, that both keeps us warm and cool, allows pocket space and knee protection. Gardening on the cooler days is doable when dressed appropriately.

With the absence of snow we could not build a snowman but the FarmGirls kept busy preparing seeds and labels for the Greenhouse.  

Typically our green house would have many flats of tomatoes and peppers on grow mats by now.  We are wisely considering the cost and energy that would be necessary to fire up the greenhouse and holding out for at least a few more days. We are gathering seed, ordering onion bunches and making labels. Very soon we will start seeding in the Greenhouse.

We are preparing class materials. Donelle and I are garden educators. We like to experiment with many styles of vegetable gardening.  

Students that attend our classes have so many different gardening situations to consider. Some have large spaces and plenty of room to ground garden, some have balconies and front porches that only allow for container gardens, some need raised beds.  

Last year we discovered the Tower Garden that is an aeroponic system and only takes about 7 square feet and sun. Square Foot gardening is encouraged, designed by Mel Bartholomew and a popular and successful way to garden in a small space.  Sometimes people are in situations that allow them no place to garden and we advise them to seek out a community garden plot.

We are now learning aquaponics and hope to have our system set up in just a few weeks. This is a style of gardening that has a raised grow bed with rocks and fish tank below the fish provide the nutrients and the water circulates through the rocks. The plants grow in the raised grow bed with no soil.

Whether you are a novice gardener or an experienced gardener the goal is to be successful and gather a bounty of local, fresh, nutrient rich and pesticide free vegetables.

After you have selected the style of gardening that best suits your needs then look at location. Choose a perfect garden site that receives at least 6 hours of sun.  

Locating the garden in a convenient and visible to the gardener is wise.  A water source is vital, whether it is rain water, drip irrigation pots or a water hook up the garden will need water. If you have dogs allow a space for the pets and a space for the garden. If you have cute furry playful bunnies in your yard, seriously consider a fence.

Educate yourself on vegetable varieties that thrive and produce well in our unique Texas climate.  Your grandmother may have had incredible green beans in Kansas, but this “ain’t” Kansas so plant a tried and true Texas proven variety of beans such as Blue Lake or Contender.  

We have a FarmGirls North Central Texas Vegetable Selection Chart that provides suggested varieties and best planting dates.  Master Gardeners of Ellis County will be glad to assist you, also.

Timing — gardening is a whole lot more about timing than a green thumb.  Learn that onion slips are planted in January, garlic is planted in October, asparagus is planted in February. Cilantro is a cool weather plant and okra is a hot weather plant.

The FarmGirls would love to meet our readers take some time and go out to our Website www.gardeninspirations-tx.com and check out our many offerings of gardening education, FarmGirl Organic Gardening radio show, Market Days with free education, cooking and fun.  We are exciting to hear about your successes in the vegetable garden.  

From our garden gate to yours… Follow us on Facebook: Garden Inspirations and tune into our weekly radio show: The FarmGirls on 770 AM Fridays at 1 p.m.

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.