Gardening With Skip Richter
Skip Richter is a horticulturist for Texas A&M University in Bryan/College Station, and hosts the call-in gardening show “Garden Success with Skip.” He has gardened across Texas, from the dry brush country to the acid sands of East Texas.
The Skip Garden grows food in moveable structures built out of skips (dumpsters) and uses a full complement of organic farming practices, including aerobic and worm composting, comfrey juice fertilizer, companion planting, and rainwater harvesting.
Skip is taking calls on planting both indoors and outside. He also discusses treating all plants and trees before a freeze in Texas.
As the days lengthen and warm up, houseplants will begin to grow again. They may become leggy due to the short winter light, but a little pruning and some organic fertilizer will help them look their best.
If your home or office doesn’t get a lot of sunlight, you can still grow some easy-care plants like succulents or trailing philodendrons. There are even low-light plants like catnip that can survive in a dark corner.
Skip Richter, a master gardener and extension specialist in horticulture sciences at Texas A&M University, is the host of “Garden Success with Skip Richter” on KAMU 90.9 FM Bryan-College Station. He has gardened in the brush country of south Texas, the rocky hills of the Missouri Ozarks, the acid sands of East Texas piney woods, and the semi-arid climate and high pH soils of central Texas.
Cool Weather Prep
Skip takes calls from listeners on the lawn and garden. He tells people how to treat their plants and trees before a freeze. He also offers advice on using this time of year to get a jumpstart on spring planting. Skip is a nationally recognized expert on gardening practices. He has gardened in the brush country of South Texas, the rocky hills of the Missouri Ozarks, the acid sands of East Texas piney woods, and the humid climate and high pH soils of central and southeast Texas.
A well-planned garden makes for an easy harvest and an enjoyable experience. Avoid going too large in the springtime, especially if you’re new to gardening. You don’t know the soil structure or the sun exposure in your area very well, so planting too large an area could overwhelm and stress plants.
Turning the soil is an important task to complete in the spring as soon as it’s workable. It breaks up dense dirt clods, mixes in compost and helps roots receive oxygen. It’s also a good time to prune out anything dead from the winter, such as perennial hibiscus and ornamental grasses. It’s a good idea to shear back evergreen shrubs like boxwood and arborvitae, too.
While the ground is still warm, it’s a great time to make repairs and improvements to garden structures like trellises, sheds and fences. This is also a good time to apply a fresh coat of paint or stain to outdoor furniture and accessories, like bird baths and containers.
Ever gone on holidays only to return to a parched garden? With a bit of preparation the garden can thrive while you’re away.
Containers and hanging baskets are the most susceptible to perishing while you’re away, especially in hot weather. Grouping them together and asking neighbours to water them regularly means they’ll be less likely to get dried out. Alternatively, they can be left in a greenhouse or covered in netting to protect them.
Perennials in garden borders are more resilient to drought but they will need a little extra care. Planting them deeply, then watering well before you go and avoiding rich nitrogen fertilizers encourages plants to send their roots down and means they’ll be able to cope better during short periods without rainfall.
Mowing the lawns just before you leave is also a great idea: firstly, it will look nicer and secondly it will mean that weeds are forced to compete for water in the weeks when you’re not there to fight them.