The FarmGirls are trying to stay up with the weather patterns, 60 degrees, 30 degrees.  

We take full advantage of weather phone aps to plan our days. Especially with the greenhouse up and running and the baby seedlings popping up, our attention is on the weather.  

The warmer days have allowed us to clean up the property, amend beds,and plant onions, spinach and Swiss Chard.  

February we will be seeding lettuce, English Peas, beets, collards, kale, kohlrabi and turnips. We will purchase cabbage and broccoli transplants to plant in the garden.

We are cleaning up the gardens. Any dead plant material will go to the compost pile.  

It is time to amend the garden beds.  

Taking a soil sample and sending it to Texas Plant and Soil Lab will reveal the specific amendments, nutrients and minerals needed for the garden soil. The soil test will take the guess out of amending the garden beds.

Home owners of Ellis County and surrounding areas typically have black clay and caliche soil.  Both are challenging for vegetable gardeners.  

To grow a viable garden the soil must have life.  The difference between dirt and soil is life. The soil also needs to be loose in order to allow for drainage and air flow.  

Clay is tight and compacted, if picked up and squeezed in the hand it would form a ball.  

By adding special amendments the clay can be transformed and loosened, the nutrients released and will allow micro life to abound in the soils.

We will be using mushroom compost, molasses, dusting sulfur and worm castings on our gardens.  

If we install a new bed we would use additional amendments of enriched mulch and expanded shale. Expanded shale is very important and helpful to gardeners. Each pebble of expanded shale absorbs 10 times its weight in water. It also breaks up the clay allowing space for airflow. The addition of expanded shale to a garden is superb for breaking up clay.

Deciding the amount of amendments to use can be challenging. If this is daunting for you, go to a local nursery such as The Greenery for help. Take measurements of your garden or raised beds and they will help you decipher the amounts of amendments needed or email the FarmGirls and we will try to guide you to the appropriate amounts to purchases.

Take advantage to sunny days and prepare the garden beds.  

Spring is on our heels and this is going to be a great gardening year! Tune into The FarmGirls Radio Show every Friday at 1 p.m. on 770 AM and like us on Facebook: Garden Inspirations! From our garden gate to yours…

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