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IN THE GARDEN: Your grocery list can help you garden

It's time to plant your bean seeds — inside. After the last freeze, you can move your seedlings outside. Soon, you will have a bountiful crop for soups, salads, and sides.

Not sure how to choose which vegetables to plant this spring or decide how much space to give each vegetable or herb? Here’s an idea. Do you have a running grocery list on your refrigerator, dry erase board, or a notepad? Use these to learn which vegetables are your staples.

How often do you buy potatoes, corn, tomatoes, or green beans, for instance? Convert your grocery list to your very own produce section in your garden. If possible, stagger your plantings so you don’t yield all your vegetables in one week.


Before the mosquitos start to hatch, use these plants to help keep them away: basil, chrysanthemums, garlic, lemongrass, lavender, and marigolds. You can border your backyard and garden with these plants for a wonderfully smelling, beautiful, and, hopefully, mosquito-free spring and summer.

BEANS (green, snap, lima, pole)

Now, when it comes to growing beans, the birds think that first sproutling with the seed still intact is yummy, too. So, start your seeds inside before you move them out to the garden.

Bean, broad bean, and bush bean plants like being around: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, corn, marjoram, and potatoes. Please do not plant your beans in the vicinity of onions, garlic, fennel, or chives. (They go well together in the cooking pot, but not in the garden.)

You can start your seeds now inside and then, after the last freeze (perhaps mid-March), move them outside. Wouldn’t it be nice if, after the last freeze, the clouds spelled out: This was the actual last freeze?

Bush beans: Plant the seeds 1 inch deep.

Pole beans: Plant 3-4 seeds 1 inch deep around a pole.

Depending on when our last freeze is, you might need to thin the sprouts before you put them in your garden. Beans prefer to be planted in moist soil so they germinate quickly. As with most vegetables, beans need well-drained soil and lots of sunlight. Once your beans are established in your garden, be careful when you are weeding. Bean roots grow close to the surface of the soil.


If you’re new to the area, let us give you a word of wisdom about wood ash from the fireplace. It’s not necessary to spread ash on the lawn or in the garden because, for the most part, our soil is plenty alkaline. As you noticed, we said for the most part. After you have done your soil test, if you need to lower your pH a little, wood ash is great. Wood ash (not to be confused with coal ash) is about half to two-thirds the calcium carbonate equivalency of lime.


The 23rd annual Hill Country Lawn and Garden Show, sponsored by the Highland Lakes Master Gardener Association, is March 25 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Burnet County AgriLife auditorium, 607 N. Vandeveer in Burnet.

The Llano County Master Gardeners' Lawn and Garden Show is April 1 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on the Llano County Courthouse square, 800 Ford St. in Llano.

Till next time. Keep your souls and soles in your garden! Remember the True Master Gardener: Jesus said, “I am the vine; my Father is the Gardener.” John 15:1

"In the Garden" is written by daughter-father gardening team Martelle and Bill Luedecke. If you have gardening questions, contact Martelle at 512-769-3179 or or Bill at 512-577-1463 or Read more "In the Garden" columns in the 101 Lawn & Garden Guide.

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